Building Faith Brick by Brick (2nd – 3rd Grade)
This curriculum debuted at St. Thomas in the 2015-2016 school year. It has become by far, a student favorite. Building Faith Brick by Brick was developed by Emily Given, Director of Children and Family Ministry of St. Michael and All Angels in Dallas, TX. She needed a class to appeal to the Lego masters of her parish and developed what we now use at St. Thomas. While she was developing the curriculum asked,
“What if we did Bible study and theological reflection in a different way with our children?” [Building Faith Brick by Brick] was a way to take something fun and familiar then claim it as a sacred medium for story sharing. It was a way to say, “I want to speak your language because you matter”. -Emily Given, Forma
We choose this curriculum for our 2nd and 3rd graders as it literally builds on their knowledge of Godly Play Biblical stories, increases their wondering about their place in God’s greater story, and challenges them to put the stories into their own words within their individual experiences – all while using a medium most children are familiar with, Legos.
How It Works:
Children are welcomed into a seated circle by their teacher. They begin by sharing their high and low points from their previous week(s). Their prayer needs are also shared at this time. Prayers reflect their joys, sorrows, needs, and thanksgivings. A Biblical story is shared each week. The teacher shares historical, geographical, and contextual facts about the story before it is shared. The students are encouraged to get comfortable while the story is shared so they can listen for the word, phrase, or section of the story that sticks out to them. At the conclusion of the story the children are invited to build the word, phrase, or section of the story they stuck to. While they build the teacher asks wondering questions, offers building suggestions where needed, and observes. Children then gather together to share what they built in their own words. The end the class with prayers and a snack that reflects the story they just studied.
Weekly the teachers have been moved by the depth at which the children are understanding the stories. They find little pockets of wisdom and clarity and the legos bricks have given them a voice with which to share their insight.
Examples of the children’s experience:
While hearing the story of the Angel Gabriel telling Mary she was going to be pregnant with Jesus, a child built a scene where the angel and Mary are far off to one corner and all around them were groups of people whispering about the virgin Mary. The student relayed that it must have been hard to be a pregnant virgin, everyone in town must have been talking and wondering how it was possible.
In response to Jesus Calming the Storm, a child built a scene of water with a boat in the middle. To one side of the boat were large waves and on the other side the water was calm. There were four disciples in the boat, complete with arms up and scared faces, while Jesus lay sleeping with a happy face. The child shared that the disciples were scared because they did not know what Jesus knew. Jesus knew the waves were not going to harm them because he had faith in His Father. The disciples were still learning and therefore had fear.