The minimum I would want is this: The space that is clearly a prepared space. It has been made special. It is both special ("set apart", even temporarily) and welcoming (for us). So if your circle will be made up of children, this should be a space which is set up with children in mind. There is a "threshold" of some sort, so that it is easy to tell the difference between IN the space and OUTSIDE the space. In the space there is a focal shelf, as well as materials for response and for cleaning up. Everything is displayed in an inviting manner (in open baskets, on low shelves if children are present) but also with care, so that it all looks orderly. Everything has a place. And that includes the people - there are mats or cushions or chairs enough for everyone.
You can stop reading right here. This, I believe, is enough.
|doing Godly Play in my living room|
If possible, the circle of participants will also be surrounded by the lessons and story materials. Again, these should be displayed in an orderly yet inviting way. Take care the first time you set things out, because ideally you will ever after always put them in the same place! Sacred stories should be together, arranged chronologically from left to right, with the core stories most visible and enrichment lessons stored beneath them. Parables are in a clearly different place. And liturgical action lessons are usually located near or beneath the focal shelf.
|A piano bench is pressed into service as a parable shelf.|
It is not necessarily a problem if everything needs to be set up and taken down each time. I have found that setting up is an excellent way for me to prepare myself for the session. After several months, once children had learned the layout of the classroom, then I would accept any offers of help that came from children who had arrived early. They had already learned to treat the materials with some care, and usually knew where to put them. [If you do this, you will need to think about how they enter the space - what if your threshold is not set up yet? and will you ask them if they are ready as they arrive?]
|Can you spot a Parable box?|
|These chairs also served to delimit the space.|
|Godly Play training classroom|
- Setting up the Room (before and after pictures of our space in Finland)
- Looking into our room
- Our room when we had fewer materials (several photos)
- A diagram of where I put what (in our Finnish room)
- Making do - the focal shelf
- A change of venue - a tale of a lack of preparation and a lot of making do