Montessori Inspired Creation Unit – Day 1
First up in our faith based work is creation! This has been such a fun unit to put together. I am actually spreading it over 8 weeks. Each week we will focus on a different day of creation. The final week we will focus on the overall story/story sequencing. This gives space to focus on and really retain what happened on each day of creation plus we are able to unpack some concepts that we would not have space for if we did this in a shorter time frame.
Throughout this unit we are emphasizing a few truths from the Biblical narrative of creation. First, God is good. Second, God created everything good.
Note: The first lesson is also a lesson I teach to multiple children in our Sunday School Class.
Here’s what we did during week 1!
Lesson/Presentation 1 Outline/Resources:
- Sing – “God is Good All the Time” (We just sing the first couple of lines a capella a few times and repeat) We sing a couple of other songs too. This is one we definitely do right now.
- Story Telling (Narrative I wrote below)
- Light vs. Darkness Game – “When I count to three, go hide in a dark spot in the room. Once they are there, then say when I count to three, go hide in a light spot in the room.” Do several times.
- Exploring light in the Bible (More below)
- Math Game – “Bring me one…” – ask the child to bring you one of an item in the room. Do this a few times. This emphasizes the quantity of one.
- Act out story (Say: Let their be light (child flips light switch on) God saw the light and it was good…)
- Bugs under a rock (Outside activity. More below)
I told the story of the first day of Creation. Here’s the narrative I used. You are welcome to use it! It is based on Genesis 1:1-5 ESV.
“In the beginning, God. God was here but nothing else was. God has always been here. Before the earth. The solar system. The galaxies. The universe. Before everything. (Pause) In the beginning God created. Our God is a creating God. (Pause) In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Pause) Something out of nothing. All He had to do was speak. (Pause) Now, go ahead and speak something into existence. Just say the name of whatever you want to appear. (Wait for their response and interact with it… you can’t do that? Well, I don’t think I can either. God is pretty awesome, isn’t He?) So where were we? Oh that’s right. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Something out of nothing. And all he had to do was (pause and let them say speak… say it for them after 3 seconds). Only God can create this way. Now the earth had no shape. Darkness covered everything. God said, ‘Let there be light.’ And there was light. God saw that the light was good. It was what? Good. And that was the first day of creation.
After this we play the Light/Darkness game a few times and then we talked about light in the Bible. I said, “Light is mentioned in the Bible a lot. Did you know that? Let’s look at 1 John 1:7 (Read from the Bible). Pause at fellowship and say, what does that mean? It means relationship. Hanging out. Getting to know each other. Being there for each other. It means more than saying hello or seeing each other at church. It’s being the family of God. (Now re-read through the whole verse) Jesus is the light and because of Him we can also choose to walk in the light. Have you ever picked up rock? What likes live under rock (snails, worms, beetles, etc) Yes. Now when we pick up the rock, what do they do? That’s right. They run away. They don’t want to be in the light. That’s just like when we are living a part from God. When we are choosing darkness over light. When the light shines on us, we cringe and run away from it just like those bugs. Let’s go find a rock in the yard and see what we can find under it!”
Lesson/Presentation 2 Outline/Resources:
- Tray for Day 1 of Creation
- Read The Story of Creation (Day 1) from The Beginner’s Bible
- Exploring light and dark paint colors
Our first tray was simple. I presented light and darkness by taking a white piece of cardstock and a black piece of construction paper and gluing the black construction paper to the cardstock. I printed out the number one and placed it on the shelf. The first day we used this tray, this is all I had on it. I used it to reinforce what we had learned the day before.
This is how I presented the new tray: “Do you see anything new on your shelves? Do you want to bring it to our mat? What is in it? (Let child answer) I see something that reminds me of the story we read this morning. The white reminds us of light (touch the white side). The black reminds us of darkness (touch the black side). I see something else too. (Pick up the number card and set it on the mat.) This is one. Trace the number one with your finger.
Quite spontaneously after presenting the new tray, my daughter wanted to make her own light/dark paper. She jumped up and ran to get her dark paint and her white paint. She then set up her paint area and began to paint. After she was done she explained it to me. So sweet!
Lesson/Presentation 3 Outline/Resources
- Creation Tray Day 1
- Godly Play Presentation (See this video min 1-3; I LOVE the emphasis of nothing at the beginning)
- Art Tray for Day 1 of Creation (To create their own creation day 1 light/dark)
- Play Math Game Again (See Lesson/Presentation 1)
- Play Darkness and Light Game again (See Lesson/Presentation 1)
For Day 3 of our week long focus on the first day of creation I found this Godly Play Presentation Video. I used our Creation Day 1 Tray and presented with a traditional Montessori mat. I love presenting stories in multiple ways. I loved how this presented the concept of nothing.
In the afternoon, I added a piece of white cardstock, a black piece of construction paper, a glue stick, and scissors (See below). The light/darkness paper I already made served as an control of error for her own practical life/art activity. We reviewed what each color represents conversationally as she worked.
Lesson/Presentation 4 Outline/Resources:
- Days of Creation Printable from Green Urban Creative
- In The beginning story card (morning circle time)
- Day 1 Story Card (afternoon circle time)
Lesson/Presentation 5 Outline/Resources:
- Read Story of Creation (Day 1) from the Jesus Storybook Bible
- Exploring light in the Bible (John 8:12)
- Play Darkness/Light Game (if interested)
- Play Math Game (if interested)
- Darkness (at night) turn off all lights. See how dark it is. Talk about darkness and light (with flashlight).
Say: “Did you know that Jesus said the he was the light of the world? (open up the bible and read John 8:12) We can choose to be his follower and walk with Him in the light. Did you know that he will make us more like Him if we ask Him to? He tells us to pray and read His word to get to know Him more and to be like Him.”
Lesson/Presentation 6 Outline/Resources:
- Invite child to circle time. When it is time to tell the story or read the story, invite them to tell you. Let them choose whatever tray or book they would like to use.
- Exploring light in the Bible (Matthew 5:14-16)
- Light + basket or box (see below)
- Light outside at night (review city on a hill meaning)
Say: “Did you know that Jesus said that we are the light of the world? (Open up to Matthew 5:14-15 and read it) Show picture of a city on a hill. The light spreads, doesn’t it? Can you see what’s around you when you have a light in the dark? Jesus also said that you don’t put a light under a basket. What would happen if you did? Let’s try it. Just like we shouldn’t hide a light under a basket, we shouldn’t hide our light from others. Let’s pray and ask Jesus to help shine his light through our lives.”
My 3 year old daughter enjoyed the first week of this unit. Hope you enjoyed reading about it and found it helpful in planning your own Montessori inspired creation unit.