Open the Book
Oaksey CE Primary School
Revd Sarah Wyman
All Saints’, Oaksey, North Wiltshire
A simple and impactful way of introducing children to Bible stories. Schools find it easy to accommodate and volunteers can prepare fairly easily. Open the Book is also used in every Church school in the whole Diocese of Gloucester!
Sarah started doing Open the Book in 2004, taking a group from Mothers Union into a school to act out 10 minute stories from The Lion Storyteller Bible. The scheme relieves pressure on headteachers by providing exciting collective worship in an engaging and systematic fashion. In the space of a year, children will see and take part in the Scripture’s key dramas, from Creation to Ascension.
When Sarah approached the headteacher she was encouraged to find that the school was looking for involvement from the local church, wanted to link into the wider community more and also needed support in taking assemblies. Open the Book is delivered differently according to context – some have teams to act the stories, some use props and scenery. At Oaksey, Sarah gets the children to take on roles in story and each wear a scarf to identify their character.
As is often the case generally, this particular kind of engagement has led to other opportunities within the school. The church has become better known in the community through children’s enthusiasm and through church volunteers being recognised from school when out and about. In this instance, Sarah has been asked to bring more to the collective worship the school provides and to talk about her faith and role as a minister in RE lessons.
Using Open the Book yields a relatively quick but effective session, is written so as not to offend non-Christians and, over time, helps the Bible make sense to children of all ages. Sarah says that simplicity is the key to deploying it and, although it does require enthusiasm, anyone can do it.
Open the Book’s website: www.openthebook.net/