For anyone who’s been following along, you know about my printable Passion set of peg dolls, and my Easter set of printable peg dolls. Well, it’s time to bring those peg dolls full circle, my friends. 🙂
I absolutely love the Montessori method of telling Bible stories. Catholics have a program called Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, Orthodox people have a version, and the Protestants have a version called Godly play. They are all extremely similar, and I think it’s because they’re all based directly off of Maria Montessori’s work. Serious Disclaimer Coming* I have training in exactly none of these programs. I’ve just been reading, watching You Tube videos, and reading up on it a little. I. am. fascinated.
The idea is that when you tell the stories to children in these ways, you’re meeting them at their own level, and you’re providing them with a way to meditate on the story. They can play with the same set later, reenacting themselves. This is for young children, and I’m sold on the idea, and I posted a Good Shepherd script and printables years ago.
What I’ve Observed About This Method Of Teaching:
- Set a calm tone before starting. Tell your kids that you’re going to be showing something special to them, and you want them to hold all of their questions to the end.
- You never move the people and talk at the same time. You tell some story, then you move the objects- back and forth. This is because children can only concentrate on one thing at a time. This is not a puppet show.
- Historical figures and real life stories are told with 3 D objects and people. Parables and other stories that didn’t really happen Historically are told with flat figures (either flat wooden people on stands, or cut out felt people.)
- You ask “wondering” questions at the end. For instance, rather than saying “So the moral of the story is, slow and steady wins the race,” you would say “I wonder why the hare thought he would win the race. I wonder how the tortoise felt as he crossed the finish line. I wonder how the hare felt when he saw the tortoise finish.” The point is to let the kids meditate on the story. They may hear it many times before they “get it,” and that’s ok.
- Don’t overwhelm them with every detail. The stories can get more complicated as they get older.
- Move slowly, talk slowly and purposely.
- Always look at the materials like you’re captivated in the story. Don’t look up at the children.
- Always tell the story by heart rather than reading it.
- You can provide a simple little booklet with the story written in it for children that are old enough to read to reenact it themselves when they’re playing with it on their own time.
Ok, that’s my crash course in the blind leading the blind here. While the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd doesn’t offer any books on learning the method (you have to take their actual classes) some of the other people do offer books on this teaching style with scripts. The videos I’ve been watching are inspired by Young Children And Worship, and I’ve also been looking at this series, The Complete Guide To Godly Play. Just watch out and make sure the lessons match Catholic theology before giving them to your children.
First, I attempted this Palm Sunday lesson, which I did almost exactly like the video. The kids loved it, ages 2 through 9!
Lydia (age 9) is begging me to teach her to present these to the little kids, so I’m going to train her to do these. Hey, we all know that the best way to learn is to teach, right?
Then, I did the “Jesus Dies And God Makes Him Alive Again” lesson. I changed this one up a little, but I would encourage you not to let your perfectionism stop you from doing good things with your kids here. You know the Passion story- have some confidence and tell it to your kids using your peg dolls this Lent. You can do this.
Suggestions for making this realistic for you:
- Use blocks to build Pilot’s palace, and the tomb.
- Use a pillow case or a cloth napkin for “Jerusalem” or any scrap fabric you have laying around. If you can’t think of anything, check your Goodwill bag and cut something up. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
- Use fake leaves (or real ones for that matter) for your Palm Sunday road if you don’t have any green felt.
- Use my printable toilet paper tube donkey from my nativity set for Jesus to ride in. I taped a circle piece of paper to the bottom to make an actual “cup” shape for our peg Jesus to ride in the donkey.
- Make a cross from popsicle sticks. I painted it to look like wood, but you wouldn’t have to.
- If you made block Jerusalem, you can use that rather than the felt version!
I made my cross from popsicle sticks by leaving one full length, and cutting both ends off another with sharp scissors. I hot glued them together.
I painted them brown with black stripes to look like wood. I sealed with Mod Podge, just like the dolls.
Jesus can “hold” this cross or be “crucified” on it by placing a tiny rubber band around his neck to hold it on. (We got our rubber band from our rainbow loom set.)
And for anyone who’s thinking it’s too late to make my printable Easter peg dolls, the Easter season lasts 50 days, baby! I will be posting Easter lessons to go with these peg dolls all the way through Pentecost. 🙂