Sunday, September 19, 2010

Guiding the Players

I once heard or read somewhere that your followers are at least one notch more anxious than you are as a leader, so the key to effective leadership is to be as calm as possible. That thought was in my head this morning as I guided my first class of Godly Play.

I chose to be a Godly Play guide this Sunday school season because I am so in love with the Montessori method of learning. I know Sean has benefitted from all of the Sunday school classes so far, but I was really happy when our church started Godly Play last year. I'm teaching the 9 a.m. 3-6 age class.
Last year we had Godly Play and regular classes at the same time. We now have another class of Godly Explorers for the older elementary aged children.  We have Godly Play and Godly Explorers for both services this year.

I arrived pretty well prepared for the story, and had a vision of how I would like the class to unfold. I was a little nervous, but not much. I was excited. I had practiced the story a few times here at home, but without the materials. I was telling the creation story today, so I used a blanket and some photos and pretended those were the real materials while I practiced here at home.

Once I was in the room this morning I looked on the shelf for the basket to make sure the cards were in order for the story, and I couldn't find them. (I arrived early so I could be sure to be prepared.) I looked several times on each shelf--nothing.
I asked the doorkeeper, Mr. Joe, if he saw it and he didn't see it either. We both searched the room, couldn't find it.

Luckily we do have the extra classroom, so there was a second set for our story. (We didn't have as many children in the class this week, so we kept them all in the same room.)

Despite that little snag with the missing basket, I remained calm. After so many years attending parent information sessions at Sean's old Montessori school I've absorbed a little bit of it. I know that most adults talk and demonstrate things much too fast for children. It is best to be very deliberate and slow in speaking and demonstrating materials or anything really. Even how we put on a hat or button a shirt--everything should be shown slowly. Our fear is that if we don't go fast we won't hold their attention. It is really not the case.

I was very slow this morning. I admit I was thrown a little because of the missing materials and because the clock kept ticking as I waited for the children to arrive. They stay in service for about 20 mins. before coming to Sunday school. It really cuts the time, but it's OK.

I don't know if it was beginner's luck, just the perfect number of children in the room to adult ratio, or maybe it was a combination of that and the right dynamics, but it went really smoothly. I had a door keeper and an extra adult in the room to help. We only had about 10 mins. to do work cycle or art, then it was time for the feast.

I've taught Sunday school before and I know I learned so much. I came away from that experience believing I learned more from the kids than they did from me. It is humbling to be a part of their lives, and to guide them on a spiritual journey. I know they have no idea how meaningful it is right now, but I hope someday they will.

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