Christina Kalloch

Art in Godly Play

Aesthetic Criteria and Examples for a Didactic of Images in Godly Play

Images play a fundamental role in the process of learning. Children in the pre-reading and pre-writing stage learn through images in an elemental way. Also adults know the power of images which accompany them through life. Often an image has a suggestive power which determines the spontaneous affirmation or rejection by the viewer. The use of images in a learning environment (oder: classroom setting) therefore has to be carefully and methodically planned so that their full potential can come to light. Concrete steps for image viewing would be as follows: How can an image be opened to support a conscious way of seeing and allow for a deep inner conversation with the image? Didactical reflection will help consider which aesthetic experiences of viewing images can be presumed, and know on which level of aesthetic judgment the viewer operates. In addition, since the encounter with art is never simply a question of taste the children’s cognitive processes in understanding images have to be studied and considered. The goal for working with images in the religious learning environment is teaching to understand images as aesthetic events. An “aesthetic alphabetization” can be relatively easily achieved through illustrations, religious art and art works which possess their own dynamics and challenge the viewer. Children have to be prepared to meet and see images.

Godly Play contains a quite differentiated image didactic using sketches, illustrations specifically made for the stories, and art works of great masters. Thereby Godly Play has not only developed a characteristic of its own, but significantly contributes to the aesthetic education of children by teaching them competency in viewing images.