Quick Guide: 2017 Curriculum Updates – Volume 2
For a quick guide to the 2017 curriculum updates in Volume 2, please see our one-page handout noting the changes you will find detailed in the revised and expanded second edition. We suggest that you print off copies of the handout for every teacher in your Godly Play program and to leave in each of your Godly Play rooms.
Revised and Expanded Second Edition of Volume 2
For background information on how we got here, please take a minute to read the below story explaining the reasons and processes for the curriculum updates.
But most importantly, be sure to order the new revised and expanded edition to discover the details of these updates for yourself!
A Story of Revisions and Updates
The Revision of The Complete Guide to Godly Play:
Seeing it all with fresh eyes!
Fifteen years ago the first volumes of The Complete Guide to Godly Play were published. Since then, hundreds of copies have been purchased and used to support the work of Godly Play mentors in circles of children of all ages around the world. In time, Volumes 5, 6, and 7 were published as well. When Volume 8 was published in 2012, we all knew it was time to begin the process of revising the earlier volumes. Revision literally means to “see again”—to look at something from a fresh, critical perspective. In the case of Godly Play, Volume 8 gave us that fresh perspective: a chance to go back and look at the whole curriculum with new eyes.
As with any published curriculum, revision ought to be a regular part of the work to keep Godly Play fresh and up-to-date. And almost as soon as the early volumes were published content, corrections were needed. Then, as the lessons were used in many different cultures and settings by people all over the world, the growing circle had additional suggestions for enhancements.
In addition to pulling out all the file folders full of emails and notes from people and programs across the globe, Jerome Berryman invited US Godly Play Trainers Rosemary Beales and Cheryl Minor into the process of revision. Rosemary Beales is an Episcopal priest serving as chaplain for an Episcopal school in Alexandria, Virginia. Rosemary earned her M.Div. and D.Min. from Virginia Theological Seminary. Cheryl Minor is the Director of the Center for the Theology of Childhood of the Godly Play Foundation and is an Episcopal priest serving a congregation just outside of Boston. She also earned her M.Div. from Virginia Theological Seminary as well as a Ph.D. from Northcentral University in Scottsdale, Arizona.
This team went through the introductory material and every lesson word by word looking for grammatical errors, biblical errors, confusing directions, poor illustrations, culturally bound language, outdated practices, and more. Beyond revisions, a few new stories have been developed where we felt there were holes in the curriculum. Most importantly, we listened to you! The emails and letters with questions, suggestions for enhancements, and more were always on our mind as we worked through each lesson—and in the development of new lessons.
The Revisions in Volume 2
“The Circle of the Church Year” – Lesson 1
Should the “Circle of the Church Year” go clockwise or counter-clockwise? The illustrations in the original lesson show it both ways. After some debate, it was agreed to fix the illustrations so they all go clockwise.
In addition, a second white block has been added to Christmas to indicate that the season of Christmas is longer than a single day—and oftentimes not on a Sunday. In some settings Christmas is even longer than that, and we encourage you to add as many white blocks as you need to make it match your practice!
“The Holy Bible” – Lesson 2
When Jerome Berryman was actively telling stories week after week in the room he developed with his beloved wife Thea, he often presented the materials we call “The Books of the Bible.” He also had a beautiful presentation Bible that he used for the lesson—along with bookmarks to mark the stories he told. However, the story materials for “The Books of the Bible” in the original Volume 2 are expensive, and many programs never purchase the lesson materials for this story! As we pondered this conundrum, the team thought it would be helpful to have a new Core Lesson about the Holy Bible that could be used with all ages and would be less costly.
Dr. Berryman wrote a lesson simply called “The Holy Bible” which introduces the book (or books collected into one book) and underscores that the stories in our room come from this one big book. It is recommended that you present “The Holy Bible” to your circles every year.
The material is simply a large, beautiful Bible on a bookstand, which may be purchased from Godly Play Resources. In your Godly Play rooms, the Bible and its stand are placed on the top of the Transition shelf, located between the Old and New Testament Sacred Story shelves.
The Holy Bible lesson introduces a special new practice into a Godly Play session. It is suggested that before you sit down to tell a story from the Bible, you open the presentation Bible to the passage from which the story comes. Children can go over to the Bible during work time and read the passage—or they can make a bookmark to mark the passage.
“The Books of the Bible” as it appears in the original Volume 2 will continue to be an Enrichment Lesson which uses the little bookshelf and control cards to explore the Bible in depth. These materials should be placed on the shelves below the presentation Bible used for the lesson called “The Holy Bible.” These two lessons appear one after the other in the revised Volume 2 (Lessons 2 & 3).
“Creation” – Lesson 5
In the original “Creation” lesson, the Storyteller ended the presentation of the gift of the day to rest by saying “. . . this day is so special that sometimes the Christian people mark it with a cross, and the Jewish people mark it with a star, the Star of David.” Over the years, practitioners have written to say that the Star of David can be problematic with its connections to a dark time in history.
After consulting with Rabbi Michael Shire, a friend and Godly Player—and one of the leaders in Torah Play, a Jewish Godly Play adaptation—it was decided that a better symbol for the Sabbath is “two special candles.” Now instead of the Star of David, the Storyteller will say: “this day is so special that sometimes the Jewish people mark it with two special candles, and the Christian people mark it with a cross.”
“The Prophets” – Lesson 13
In the original Volume 2, this Enrichment Lesson was riddled with problems (as many of you told us in countless letters or emails). We listened to you and spent a considerable amount of time revising it. It is now so good that it has become a Core Lesson and should live on the top shelf of your Old Testament Sacred Story shelves, right next to “The Exile and Return.” The lessons on the individual prophets extend this lesson, and therefore, reside directly below “The Prophets” on the Old Testament Sacred Story shelves.
“The Prophet Jonah” – Lesson 14
“The Prophet Jonah” was considered an Enrichment Lesson in the original Volume 2. But now, like the other Old Testament lessons on individuals found in Volume 6, we are calling it an Extension Lesson. It extends the Core Lesson on the Prophets (Volume 2, Lesson 13).
Unlike the other prophet lessons, Jonah is not told on a story strip, but we still want it to look similar to the other prophet stories when it is on the shelf. To this end, the material should now be placed on a tray (like the other prophet lessons) and have its own “story icon.”
There is an illustration of the story icon in the revised Volume 2, and you can purchase just the icon from Godly Play Resources.
We want to conclude by saying thank you to all the Godly Play practitioners around the globe. We truly appreciate your emails and questions over the last fifteen years as you worked with each of these lessons. We listened carefully and hope you will see that reflected in the revisions.
We look forward to many more years of working collaboratively with the greater circle! And keep the feedback coming—we are listening! We even have nifty new forms to keep your feedback organized:)