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Program helps children understand Bible stories
Bible pic
Donna Weaver demonstrates how Godly Play works by telling the story of Noah to Meredith Seymour, 9, Dustin Seymour, 6 and Caleb Seymour, 5. - photo by Amanda Head Dawson Community News

Former Dawson County school teacher Donna Weaver is reaching out to the community to come join Grace Presbyterian Church to get children involved in Godly Play, a program that teaches children to better understand the Bible.

"It nurtures our children's spiritual development by rooting them deeply in the Christian tradition while at the same time allowing them to be open to the future," Weaver said.

Weaver is the pastoral intern at the church and has been trained to teach during her time at seminary.

"I'm getting a certification in director of Christian education," Weaver said. "[Godly Play] perfectly matches my passion for education and discipleship."

Godly Play, which has been around for more than 20 years, is a hands-on teaching method where children learn Biblical stories through the interaction with toys. Each set of toys is unique to each story.

During a short demonstration, Meredith Seymour, 9, said her favorite part of the Noah's Ark story was "putting the animals on the ark."

After each session, children get to respond to the story in any form of art medium the classroom has available.

Weaver said the program works because "it's hands on, its repetitive and engaging."

Along with children interacting during the class, the program offers a parent partnership where parents will receive pamphlets, newsletters and e-mails, so they can reinforce what was taught in the classroom.

Weaver said she hopes Godly Play will help build the church and get more young families with children involved.

"Our end result is that children will come out of Godly Play with their own discovery about God and faith and have a language in which to express it," Weaver said. "It's an investment in nurturing children."

Weaver and her late husband, Mark, who was the church's first pastor, started the church eight years ago. The church started out with only 10 people and has grown to 120 members.

Parents interested can see a preview of the program 3 to 5 p.m. Aug 11. Nursery will be provided.

The first class of Godly Play will be held at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 1 and is offered to children beginning at 3 years old up to fifth grade.