by Peter Enns. It has been slow going as I keep pausing to follow the church year. But, all the same we are making our way though and in December we read the story of Jesus turning water into wine. One thing that I like about this curriculum is that it lets the words of scripture tell the story, just adding an intro and then some thoughts after. Don't get me wrong, I love the careful storytelling of Godly Play and certain children's Bibles, I just love having both!
The way I presented the story brought up an interesting developmental question in our home. I read the scriptures aloud with the boys about water turning into wine. As I read, I poured water from a clear glass into a tall mug (that had an inch of grape juice at the bottom that they could not see.) And then I poured the new mixture back into the clear glass. Now, I want to point out that the intent was never to trick the boys or to make them think that I was turning water into wine, but simply to have something visual to encounter as we read the story. It was beautiful watching the clear stream of water fall and then watching the ruby-colored 'wine' return to the glass.
After we finished reading the scripture and lesson, I did the illustration again and showed them how I did it (just to be clear that I was not turning water into wine). Jonah (6.5) really enjoyed it, understood that I was just creating a picture to help illustrate the story, and found it interesting. But Rowan (3) just asked me the other day (a month later) if I remembered when I made water into wine. I asked him if he remembered the story and he did remember quite a bit. I reminded him how I made the water look like wine and how Jesus really turned water into wine. This has really made me think. I could have told you that developmentally Rowan isn't ready for this sort of symbolic gesture and really had it more in my mind for Jonah (it is part of his curriculum after all). It made me wonder if I wished I hadn't done it with Rowan present. In the end, I don't regret doing it as I'm sure it will all be clear for Rowan eventually. But, it has certainly made me ask if I would do it again and if so, in what setting. In a classroom I would certainly hold off on this illustration until children were old enough to understand it as a symbol. But, in a multi-age setting, I think there is a place to work with the older children's symbolic understanding (always being clear that it is just a symbol) and know that the younger children will sort it out later. At least, thats what I think right now...
I'd love to know if anyone else has thoughts on this. I certainly think this isn't a single answer sort of question.
We have a table here with a single drawer that I have godly play figures in and I've been attempting to have a story set up for the boys to play with occasionally... though the pieces are often removed rather quickly for other play.
Wow, these pictures really show how