Children begin the morning in the upper east classroom (down the hall from the sanctuary) with creative stories and activities. Following the Liturgy of the Word, children rejoin worship in the sanctuary during the Peace and remain throughout the Eucharist.
Nursery – Newborn to 3 years old
Our large and peaceful room is perfectly set up for children ages newborn to three years old. Nursery care is available during the 11:00 a.m. church service. There are many loving and caring adults that volunteer to take care of the children. Nursery care is open for various parish events with advanced planning. The children enjoy their play and story time with each other and the caregivers.
Godly Play – 4 yrs. – 5th Grade
The Godly Play Class is available during the 11:00 service. The class is designed for children 4 yrs. through 5th grade. They are invited to “wonder” in Godly Play. Godly Play is a Montessori-based approach to guiding children in their faith development.
Godly Play is an exciting way for children to experience God while learning about God.
The structure and environment of the Godly Play program support this goal by. . .
- Modeling how to wonder while working with biblical stories.
- Using the language and symbols of the Christian faith to help the children create meaning for their own lives, rather than be told what to believe.
- Showing children how to choose their own ways of responding to the stories in order to make connections with their own concerns.
- Showing children how to work together as a community, supporting and respecting one another.
Things You Might Hear in a Godly Play Classroom
“We listen to God by becoming very quiet. Close your eyes and listen to the quietness. . . . Now your breathing is very still . . . . You can’t hear it at all . . . . Breathe in . . . and out . . . in . . . and out. Now we are ready to listen to God, to hear one of God’s stories. This is a story about the Light. Watch.”
“This is the season of Advent, the time we get ready to celebrate the mystery of Christmas, the time we are all on the way to Bethlehem. But who will show us the way? I wonder what the way to Bethlehem is like?. . . .”
“I wonder if this box is a parable? It might be. Parables are very precious, like gold, and this box is gold.”
What makes Godly Play distinctive?
With Godly Play, we tell Bible stories to children to encourage them to enter into the stories and relate them to their personal experience.
The Godly Play worship-education center is treated as “sacred space.” A greeter waits at the door to help each child become ready to enter the room quietly. Each child is welcomed into the Godly Play classroom. Then they are invited to join the circle of other children on the floor. An adult storyteller shares a story from the Bible or from our faith traditions. When the story is finished, the children are encouraged to “wonder” about the story. Then the children have time on their own to explore the materials to retell the story, work on a self-guided craft that relates to the story, read a story, or enjoy some quiet time. Sometimes, a feast is shared. The children join the church after the confession. Godly Play does not meet during the summer months. For more information about Godly Play, visit the Godly Play Foundation website here: http://www.godlyplayfoundation.org
St. James follows the same age guidelines as the Kent School District. Similarly, children move to the next “grade” level in September when the new school year begins. Please refer to the guidelines to determine which class is appropriate for your child:
- Nursery: birth to three years old.
- Godly Play: 4 yrs. to fifth grade.