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This paper argues for the centrality and necessity of play in religious education for both children and adults as a means to learn and teach the art of using the Christian language system to create existential meaning. Play involves games which, in some form or other require structure and rules. In religious education these rules and structures provide the scaffolding needed for mastering and using the art of the Christian language system. This paper proceeds by describing play and games generally, noting the necessity of guiding rules and structure. It then explores the two fundamental types of games which may be involved in the Church and in religious education. The suggestion of “playful orthodoxy” as a way forward in religious education is then posited. Such a notion recognizes both the playful and discovering nature of the participant as well as the need to teach for closure and orthodoxy. In this way both the opening and closing tendencies of the creative process are honoured and the tradition taught is grounded but creative. The paper concludes by suggesting some ways in which religious education can be centred around play.


School of Education

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Open Access Journal Article

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Open Access

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Education Commons