“A walled garden is emblematic of God’s grace and his provision for spiritual growth and renewal.” (Smith and Felch, 2016, p. 161)

Nehemiah 2:17 (NIV) “Then I said to them, ‘You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.”

  • Show pictures of walls, or better yet, go on a walk or bus trip to look for walls (garden walls, playground walls, walls on buildings, etc.). Talk about the needs of those walls and if they are or are not meeting the purpose for which they were built.
  • Talk about different kinds of walls with students, including both literal and metaphorical.
  • Learn about the wall around Jerusalem – why it was built, torn down, rebuilt, present-day.
  • Invite students to think about the physical walls in the classroom – what purpose do they have? Structural support, display room, enclosure, protection, etc. Invite students to brainstorm ways in which the classroom walls could begin to provide a space of “safe to” and belonging. What could be put on the walls to encourage this?
  • Invite students to think about the metaphorical walls in their classroom…what divisions might there be?
  • What walls may need to be torn down? (walls of teacher expectation or never attaining perfection, social status walls, walls of self-degradation or inferiority, etc?) Discuss how these walls might start to be torn down or broken.
  • What metaphorical walls could be built to provide a space of “safe to”? Could you incorporate a visual with paper stones or bricks to build a wall with ideas? Have students brainstorm ideas of what type of bricks or stones would help to build the classroom walls of protection and belonging.
  • For young students, use playdough or clay to create walls (each student builds a brick or stone or each student can build a complete wall). Within that “wall”, students can place written or dictated ideas of things that need to be protected.
  • Use the idea of a “wall of protection” to inspire an art project.
Stacy Kok is a Senior Kindergarten teacher and Teaching for Transformation early adopter at Cairn Christian School in Stoney Creek, Ontario. Stacy is originally from Tennessee, USA and moved to Ontario, Canada in 1999, after teaching at a missionary school in Indonesia. While teaching in Indonesia, Stacy met her future husband who is originally from Grimsby, Ontario. Both Stacy and her husband spent a total of 5 years teaching in Indonesia before moving to Toronto. Stacy took time away from classroom teaching and devoted her time and energy to their 4 children. Seven years ago, Stacy returned to the classroom after serving 4 years on staff at her church as the Children’s Ministry Coordinator. Over the past 7 years, Stacy has had her teaching degree from Tennessee transferred to the OTC and has also received her Christian School Teacher’s Certificate. Stacy is currently enrolled as a part-time student with the Institute of Christian Studies in the Master of Arts (Philosophy) in Educational Leadership.