“When Jesus was asked for spiritual information, such as, ‘What is the kingdom of heaven?’ or, ‘Who is my neighbour?’ he chose an imaginative style to convey the breadth and depth of these matters, such as parables. He almost never gave a factual type of answer or explanation, but used his imagination and required his listeners to do the same.” (Rebecca Nye, Children’s Spirituality. What it is and why it matters. 2009 p. 49)
Children have an innate love of stories. Stories create magic and a sense of wonder at the world. Stories teach us about life, about ourselves and about others. Storytelling is a unique way for students to develop an understanding, respect and appreciation for other cultures, and can promote a positive attitude to people from different lands, races and religions.
Story is a key part of the Christian faith tradition. The activity of God in the lives of people and in all creation as recorded in the Scriptures has been handed on, firstly through the oral tradition and then in the written Word. In every age people have engaged with these stories and sought to relate their own story to the larger story of faith. In this way people are helped to know God in their lives.
Young children particularly are able to learn and make meaning through story and symbol. Stories carry deep insights which young children are often unable to verbalise. However, these insights help them to make sense of their experience of the world and relate to the mystery of God. Stories help children, as well as adults, to explore key issues around the meaning and purpose of life and death.
Children are introduced to the faith and practices of the Church through stories from both Scripture and the Christian tradition.
In this Religion curriculum, the Godly Play approach to using the Bible takes the spiritual character of both children and the Bible scripture more seriously. “The stories are told in a fairly straight way in the belief that the emotional depth of these great narratives will speak directly to students’ own experiences of emotional depth. Godly play takes the view that children’s existential needs and the biblical material are well met as both are concerned with major issues – identity, freedom, power, good and evil, love and care.” (Rebecca Nye, 2009. p66.)