Children have the gift of wonder and curiosity, and they love to learn. Responding to this love is a parent’s most cherished responsibility. At Saint Barnabas, we strive to support the parent by forming these gifts and this love in a lively community of faith. Our children’s Sunday School classes weave together stories of faith with developmentally focused, hands-on methods of learning that engage children’s curiosity. We strive to support the parent by forming these gifts and this love in a lively community of faith.
Our Sunday School curriculum features Godly Play, a hands-on, Montessori-based method of learning that allows children to experience Bible stories using all their senses. The Godly Play method serves children through early, middle, and late childhood at Saint Barnabas. This unique approach respects the deep spirituality of children and helps them explore their faith through story, gain religious language, and enhance their spiritual experience through wonder and play.
With Godly Play, teachers do not interpret the story for a child or decide what a child needs to discover; rather, teachers encourage each child to enter the story as the environment is prepared for the work of the Holy Spirit. This is done by the use of storytelling, religious language, play, sacred silence, and active wondering. Godly Play gives children a safe place to wonder, to reflect, and to become more fully aware of the mystery of God’s presence in their lives.
For more information, visit the Godly Play Foundation and the Godly Play Foundation YouTube channel for example stories and sessions. We encourage you to watch this video that provides an overview of the Godly Play process.
Meets weekly at 9am. During the first half hour, our youngest members participate in a music and movement class. Classes include developmentally appropriate music activities that develop children’s musical ability while introducing them to the rich traditions of Christian music. Children play instruments, dance, mimic rhythm and tonal patterns, and sing together. In the second half hour, children hear a story and have a feast (snack) together. Parents are encouraged to attend and participate with their children.
Children in preschool through kindergarten meet in our orange Godly Play classroom and first, second, and third graders gather together in the red classroom. All children participating in Godly Play engage in storytelling, wondering, and response work. An internationally recognized program developed with more than 30 years of research with children, the Godly Play curriculum uses Montessori methods to tell stories to children and allow them to respond from the heart. Children are supported by two adult mentors in each classroom: the Doorperson and Storyteller.
As children grow, they begin to wrestle with what faith can mean in their world. This class helps older children engage their faith using advanced Godly Play stories that focus on the prophets, saints, and sustainability. Lives of Wonder uses the storytelling, wondering, and response method to assist older children in making connections among stories and between their own life and the Christian language of the Bible and its people. Older children in Lives of Wonder have the opportunity to participate in Sending God’s Love, a partnership of our children and youth that provides love and pastoral care to members of our parish family who are homebound, ill, or unable to make it to church.
Children and parents are invited to participate in supervised playground activities between Sunday School and the 10:15AM and 10:21AM services. The children process from the playground to Children’s Chapel and then join their parents for holy communion during the announcements. The playground is newly renovated with slides, climbing structures, and a variety of pretend play and educational activities.