Growing To Be God Group
in Freiburg, Germany
The Growing to be God girls’ group in Freiburg was initiated about a year ago. Seven girls between the ages of eight and eleven meet fortnightly on Saturdays for one and a half-hour sessions. The group teacher is Claudia Dürr who prepares the sessions with a focus on human values. They read stories, meditate, do crafts and role-playing.
This year was dedicated to the topics of love, peace, truth and justice. The children get so deeply into the topics that they go through the prepared material quite slowly. It is so wonderful to see how the children have gotten to know each other so well, and that a trusting and respectful atmosphere has developed in the group. However, it took a long time for that to happen. For example, in the beginning, when a story was read and discussed, there were children who openly expressed their opinions in detail, while others were more reserved and shared little to nothing. This is always a challenge, for the pupil as well as for the teacher, who needs to encourage the children and make sure that everyone is involved and this was something that just needed time.
The children had many ideas about what topics, stories and games they would like to do too! Once, a story about truth was discussed and one of the girls had the idea that the woman in the story who could not see the truth should have looked in the mirror. Then, perhaps, her situation would have become clearer to her. So, everyone made their own hand mirror and used them to help them see if they were truthful in their lives.
The children cooperate wonderfully with each other and contribute ideas, but also take care of each other when they work on a common project. In one of the sessions on the subject of peace, they were asked to give examples of when they felt at peace and when they did not, and to think what happens when one loses peace. They role-played various situations and looked for solutions on how to restore peace. It was wonderful to see how the children tried to play better versions of themselves. They were looking at themselves from a different perspective and played with their own behavior, improving on it. One of the girls confessed to have a turbulent situation at home, constantly having arguments with others. In the role-play we practiced how she can bring peace to the situation. She practiced through role-play, bringing peace back to herself and to the situation, and after a few weeks she actually successfully managed to do it at home too!
In another session they were asked to paint a tree together and to design the leaves with things that brought them peace. Now, they were able to organise amongst themselves and discuss what was needed and who did what. Two girls decided that the tree needed a name and started to design a sign. The others worked on the design of the tree. Here they discovered that the girl who was usually very shy was painting beautifully. Suddenly, she became the centre of attention and received a lot of recognition from the others. She blossomed visibly.
Over time, the girls got to know each other well and the atmosphere in the group grew familiar. They are much more open to talk and even disagree sometimes now. The parents are also very grateful and happy about the progress of the group. They say that the children are happy about the meetings and are always very excited to come back. However, the parents are not exactly aware of every activity the group does. Therefore, they are invited to a “Festival of Values” that will happen soon, so the children will have the satisfaction of showing off what they learned to their proud parents!