Kristin Putney, RI Conference Christian Education & Youth Ministry Resource Consultant
STYLIZE A CHURCH SCHOOL PROGRAM
“NAME IT” Name your Church School program for a church season or the school year.
“Bible Stories A-Z” (preschool-1st grade) Each Sunday there is a focus letter of the alphabet with a story from the Bible.
“Rainbow Colors of the Bible” (preschool-1st grade) Each Sunday there is a focus color with a story from the Bible and children are encouraged to wear “color of the week” or bring in item of that color.
“Communion Class” Offer a communion class for 2nd and 3rd grade and offer it every other year OR offer for 2nd grade every year. Have a “Communion Celebration” ceremony during worship at end of year. ( this is not called ?rst communion) (Contact Resource Consultant for more curriculum resources and details.)
ADVERTISE NEW CHURCH SCHOOL PROGRAM
CREATE A THEME CLASSROOM
Make classroom inviting and impressionable with Bible story imagery and props.
Decorate classroom in a theme that goes along with curriculum and NAME room.
One Adult and a High School Teen(safe space requirement 2 in classroom) will be needed for multi-aged group of preschool -5th graders.
Use 6th, 7th and 8th graders as teen “ helpers”
Helpers wear “ribbon stoles” (3 different colored ribbons, 3 1/2 feet long, knotted together at both ends and in 2 different places in middle)
Safe Space requirement - 2 leaders in classroom. Also suggested if adult is new, has waiting period of 6 months to one year before teaching.
Alternative to weekly church school classes
Design a 4 week program (with only 1 or 2 classroom sessions per month) that is consistent for each month. Example:
1st week - children stay in worship with families (and receive communion?)
2nd week - children have church school (multi-age)
3rd week- children stay in worship and possibly participate in worship (sing)
4th week- children have church school (multi-age)
IDEAS TO ENCOURAGE CHILDREN & FAMILY ATTENDANCE
Acolyte list: Rotate children to light altar candles in worship. Have children commit to same Sunday of the month or for several weeks in a row...this special task brings in family to witness a special moment.
Children's choir: Gather a multi-aged children's choir , rehearse during coffee hour or during class time. Sing once a month in worship (even if it is only “Jesus Loves me”... Parents and relatives come to see their child sing!)
Special Coffee Hour Sunday: Create theme coffee hours (schedule them consistently perhaps every ?rst Sunday?)
“Cookies & Milk Sunday” Invite church school children to bring in uncooked cookie dough (homemade or store bought- no peanut butter ) and bake cookies during class to serve congregation at coffee hour with milk.
“Autumn Sunday“ Coffee Hour - “apple everything” theme coffee hour: invite congregation to bake apple pies, apple crisp, apple cake, warm apple cider.
Fruit Smoothie Sunday Coffee Hour- serve blended fruit, juice & yogurt frozen drinks
Pentecost theme Coffee Hour - All red natural foods pizza, watermelon, strawberries, red sprinkle cupcakes & cookies
Offer incentives for children to have consistent attendance Create attendance wall charts with stickers for each Sunday attendance...maybe every 8 stickers, child can pick item from attendance reward basket ( stickers, tiny toys, lollipops, Bible theme tokens ordered from Oriental Trading) and then start again. Hand out end of the year Attendance Certi?cates.
Offer creative ways to pray (contact Resource Consultant for these resources)
NURSERY CLASSROOM CAREGIVERS
When child is baptized, suggest/require that parents start baby in Nursery and commit to one Sunday a month as caregiver. (combine 2 families for each week and that will begin relationship building) Use parents of babies as a co-op style, taking turns, signing up parents for once a month.
IMPORTANT FOLLOW UP WITH CHURCH SCHOOL CHILDREN