I am a rule follower. When Jerome Berryman explains how to set up a Godly Play classroom, I make careful notes and line everything up and frustrate myself no end that I don’t have matching shelves and a big rectangular classroom. We have an oddly shaped basement room and a counter with a double sink. It’s big and spacious, but it is not exactly like his model classroom!
Silly, isn’t it? I am grateful we have two dedicated classrooms. I also have a patient and long-suffering husband who built me a focal shelf – actually two focal shelves. And was I satisfied? No. Now I wanted a “transitional shelf.” This transitional shelf is never specifically defined to my satisfaction. I believe it is supposed to be (in a perfect classroom) between the OT and NT stories.
My husband politely listened and watched my gesticulations and scribbles on a napkin, and then he just went over to the church and measured the things I spoke about. He created a lovely shelf (which will soon be stained and finished properly).
So, here is our Transitional Shelf! In our classroom, it sits in a corner between the focal shelf and the New Testament/Easter stories.
Top Shelf: The Books of the Bible story, with a Bible open to today’s story.
Second shelf: The Hebrew box (open) contains alef bet flash cards and a set of 100 Hebrew prayer word flashcards (similar to this) as well as an exercise with a Montessori-like control card using the Shema. The Greek box has alphabet flashcards and an exercise with a control card using John 14:6.
Third shelf: Enough bibles for each member of our class (3rd-5th grades). Our fifth graders each have a brand new Bible at the beginning of their fifth grade year to use as their own during class. On the last class of the Sunday School year it is presented to them to take home. There are enough prayer books (The Book of Common Prayer) for us to share.
Fourth Shelf (the floor, actually): The desert box.