There are a lot of things you can learn from a lecture, but Godly Play is best learned from the inside out. This is what we do at Godly Play Training. Within a circle facilitated by a Godly Play Trainer, you will experience and learn Godly Play stories, practices, and theology in a collegial, prayerful setting.
Our talented Trainers will deepen your understanding of children’s spirituality while guiding you on a personal journey of wonder. By exploring the fundamentals of a Godly Play room at an accredited training event, you will improve your teaching skills, learn to build rooms of your own, and leave spiritually refreshed.
We offer a variety of trainings and workshops that vary in depth and detail. U.S. trainings are posted on our U.S. Training Schedule site as they are finalized. Please contact us if the training you seek is not currently offered, if you would like assistance in determining which training is the next step for you or your program, of if you have any other questions.
Why invest in training?
You can learn a great deal about Godly Play by reading our publications, however, we believe the best way to learn how to do Godly Play is to experience it. All of our trainings and workshops are designed with that in mind. Participants have the opportunity to experience all aspects of the method: storytelling, wondering, response time, the feast, and more.
Before purchasing any materials, we believe it is crucial first to invest in training. As beautiful and inspiring as the materials can be, only a trained practitioner can make them come alive for the children and the entire community. In fact, in our experience trained teachers are very effective at helping a community grab hold of the vision for this method, and money for materials often follows.
When you are just getting started consider spending about 50% on training and 50% on materials. Once you have established rooms, the majority of your budget should be focused on training.
Who should attend Godly Play training?
Program administrators, clergy, seminarians, teachers, and parents can all benefit from attending Godly Play training. This is a method for nurturing a child’s relationship with God, not simply “Sunday School” in the way most of us remember. All the people connected to children in your community will benefit from learning the underlying principles.
Children generally attend Godly Play sessions on a Sunday morning, at best once a week but generally much less often. The more people in their lives who can support this work outside of that Sunday morning experience, the stronger the effect will be on their spiritual well-being. The cultural pressures that devalue spirituality are very strong. Children need a whole village of people helping them to withstand those pressures so that their spiritually can grow and develop.
How often should I attend training?
Your first Core Godly Play Training is only the beginning of this big work. Continuing education will be the key to success with this method.
Just as we say that Godly Play® is a spiral curriculum for the children, the same is true for training. We strongly believe that for the children, it takes at least three times of seeing and working with a story or lesson for them to start using that lesson to make meaning. The same could be said for training. We recommend you consider attending a Core Training at least twice before taking the Advanced Training. As you hear the information for a second time, in a new voice perhaps, you bring new experiences of being in a circle of children engaged in this work. Concepts that were only theoretical when you first started now become grounded in practice.
As you gain experience in the method, the Advanced Godly Play Training can take you even deeper in this work. It is designed to not simply give you new information, but to help you learn to think critically about the work you are doing so you can improve your skills. We envision the Advanced Godly Play® Training to be something you can come back to again and again since the centerpiece of the three days is time to work with case studies, specific interactions between children, children and teachers, or teachers and others in the community, brought by each of the participants. These will obviously change with each group making no two Advanced Trainings the same.
For those of you who work in clinical settings, we offer a specialized training called Godly Play in a Clinical Setting. This training will address how to adapt the Godly Play method when working with children and patients in a setting very different from a traditional Godly Play room in a church or school.
We also encourage you to find a community of practice with whom to do this work. What do we mean by that? A community of practice could be a group of other Godly Play practitioners from your own church or from multiple churches in an area who gather regularly to work on this art. It can be as simple as gathering around a story together, sharing a simple feast, and debriefing your experiences in the Godly Play room.
How can we afford training?
The budget for trainings is not designed to “make money” for the Godly Play Foundation, but instead to simply pay for all of the expenses related to putting on a training event and funding training development and continuing education for practitioners and Trainers.
Even so, we recognize that as churches struggle to make ends meet, the expense of training can seem too much. We are continually looking for ways to make training more affordable; we work with ad judicatories of all denominations to subsidize training and with other grant making institutions. Already several Episcopal Dioceses are annually subsidizing training to make it more affordable for churches of all denominations in their region.
We find that when we ask, money for scholarships is almost always available. Do not be afraid to ask! Please be in touch with the training office if you would like to help with these efforts.