CHILDREN'S FORMATION AT ST. MARK'S
ST. MARK'S SUNDAY SCHOOL PROGRAM
Children have an innate sense of the presence of God. So at St. Mark’s we use a multi-level approach to Biblical storytelling, called Godly Play, which taps into that natural curiosity. Our trained volunteers encourage the children to explore their faith through story, to gain religious language, to discover their individual gifts and to enhance their spiritual experience though wonder.
Based on Montessori principles and developed using a spiral curriculum, this program serves children ages 3 to 3rd grade.
Children are invited each Sunday at the conclusion of the 10 a.m. service, to lead the congregation out of the church, carrying a special cross made for them. They proceed to the entrance of The Atrium, located on the north side of the Parish Hall. There, they are greeted by one of the teachers, asking each one if they are ready to hear the story. Once inside, children choose a comfy mat and place it around the storyteller, who is seated on the floor. This creates an intimate setting, in which the storyteller can capture their attention.
Before the story begins, a candle is lit to remind us of God’s presence, followed by a short prayer. Sometimes a song is sung. Each week, a child is chosen to water our live plant, reminding us of God’s creation, and how important it is to take care of it. When the children are ready, the storyteller uses wooden figures and props to tell the Bible story of the day. The figures are non-descript so that the children can use their imagination as the story unfolds. Many of the Old Testament stories are told moving the characters around in a rollaround “desert” box of sand.
Once the story is finished, the children are asked a series of “I wonder” questions… prompting them to express what they saw, and what the story means to them. After this session, all are invited to work with a choice of retelling the story using the figures (or they may chose another story that they have already heard), or they may choose an art medium (watercolors, markers, crayons) to express their feelings in a drawing or painting. In addition, children are also allowed to “set the altar” (a small table) using the labeled vessels, candles, linens and other elements.
Under the supervision of a teacher, they learn the proper names of each piece and their purpose. This serves as a pre-training introduction to becoming an acolyte! At the end of the session, the children clean up their own space, roll up their mats neatly and return them to their designated place. Teachers give them a special blessing as they leave the room.
During our time away, our Sunday School lessons were recorded and available here. Just click on the link and enjoy!