The Focal Shelf

In Godly Play, the focal shelf is at the front center of the shelves that ring the room. Ideally, it’s opposite the door where the children come in, so that it catches their eyes as they enter. The storyteller sits in front of this shelf to present the lesson.  (NOTE: Because I choose to orient my room so that we are facing a wall of windows looking out on God’s creation, my focal shelf does not exactly follow this placement. The children see it “sideways” as they enter, but it still creates a visual anchor.)ImageOn the top shelf, the Holy Family is at the center, as the Incarnation is at the center of the Christian story. To the left and right are two of the central images Jesus gave us of himself: The Light and the Good Shepherd. From these two images flow materials for the two primary sacraments. Beneath the Light on the shelves are the materials for the Baptism lesson. Flowing from the Good Shepherd are the materials for the Holy Eucharist (Good Shepherd and World Communion; the People of the World rest in the covered basket).

About threegreatdays

The Rev. Dr. Rosemary Beales is a Godly Play Trainer in the U.S.; an Episcopal Priest; Chaplain at St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School in Alexandria, Virginia; a Godly Play Practitioner since 1996; and a mother and grandmother. Every day I get to be with 400 children at school and on weekends when I'm lucky, with my four terrific grandsons and three lively granddaughters. As a Godly Play practitioner, I want to spread the word about this life-giving, Montessori-based way of nurturing children in the Christian story and life. Godly Play, the creation of the Rev. Dr. Jerome Berryman and his wife Thea, is used in many denominations and in many countries, and has been translated into at least seven languages. This blog is not an official publication of the Godly Play Foundation (see but seeks to be a clearinghouse for ideas and experiences of teachers, trainers, and parents. Join the conversation!

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