Sue Mitchell, Children and Families Missioner, is leading a training morning on how churches can engage under 5s in liturgy through play. Here she explains how a simple but carefully considered children’s area can play a key role in developing children’s spirituality.
Sue said “What babies and young children, see, hear and experience lays the foundations for their future development, including their spiritual development. Research into child development shows that under 5s learn best by imitating and modelling their behaviour on that of adults. Think of children’s toys - tool sets, kitchen and shop sets. They all imitate the adult world and allow children to participate in that world on their own level.
“Recent research into children’s spirituality has also complemented this by saying that children benefit most when they are involved in the worship alongside the adults, rather than being separated from them , taken to another part of the church to do something completely different or play to with toys that are not relevant to church."
Sue’s workshop on October 5th will introduce the idea of treasure baskets.
“Treasure baskets contain items for play that reflect the worship or services at different times of year. They can be put together cheaply and around themes such as harvest, baptism, Christmas or Easter. Something as simple as a wooden egg cup can be used in play to represent a chalice, or a white blanket can be used in a baptism basket. Children can play with them together or they can be taken back to their seat and used alongside the service.”
The emphasis for under 5s is also on tactile and multi-sensory objects “One treasure basket that works extremely well is a creation basket – it features stars and animals the right size for little hands, all contained within a fold out play mat of the sky. Experiencing aspects of the Christian faith and worship through objects, symbols and play can be an important part of their growing up in the Christian faith."
The morning will also include sessions on how to use Godly Play with under 5s and how you can use a box of items to tell a biblical story.
Sue thinks that churches can offer a fantastic opportunity to introduce children to liturgy at a young age. “By re-thinking the items that we provide for the under 5’s and selecting items that relate to what is going on in the worshipping life of the church, we can start integrating children into the rhythms and practices of everyday church life, and really start involving them in liturgy and spirituality. The children are then involved from the start and not seen as a separate entity that just need entertaining whilst the adults get on with the worship.”
Saturday 5th October - 9.30am-12.30pm
at St Cleopas, Toxteth. - Free.
This training day focuses on the exciting - and practical - ways in which we can integrate under 5s in liturgy and worship.
Enjoy three different workshops:
How to use Godly Play with under 5s
Taking story telling ‘out of the box’
Treasure baskets - liturgy for under 5s
We will look at the latest thinking on heuristic and sensory play and how we can make it work in our own churches.
Learn how to put together a ‘treasure basket’ – play sets that reflect the life of your church, and that can be themed around biblical stories or events such a Harvest, baptism, Christmas and Easter.