Jerome Berryman and Godly Play

October 1st, 2013

Godly Play is what Jerome Berryman calls his interpretation of Montessori religious education. It is an imaginative approach to working with children, an approach that supports, challenges, nourishes and guides their spiritual quest. It is more akin to spiritual direction than to what we generally think of as religious education. Godly Play assumes that children have some experience of the mystery of the presence of God in their lives, but that they lack the language, permission and understanding to express and enjoy that in our culture. In Godly Play, we enter into parables, silence, sacred stories and sacred liturgy in order to discover God, ourselves, one another and the world around us.

Jerome’s Godly Play journey included time in Italy for Montessori training, as well as training with Sofia Cavalletti and others in her approach to the tradition of Montessori religious education. Jerome’s theological education was at Princeton Theological Seminary (M. Div., 1962; D. Min., 1996). He is an Episcopal priest and, for a decade, was Canon Educator at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Houston.

As more people joined the Montessori tradition of religious education through Godly Play, talk about forming an organization also increased. Jerome founded the Center for the Theology of Childhood in 1997. The Center has grown into an organization that, along with the Godly Play Foundation, serves not only its original purpose of researching Godly Play and the theology of childhood, but also nourishes a network of committed Godly Play trainers, teachers and supporters.

Jerome now lives near Denver, Colorado. The Center for Theology of Childhood has relocated from Texas to the same area in Colorado.

Read an excerpt from Jerome's new book: The Spiritual Guidance of Children on the download below

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