Learning Centers: Kitchen, Doll House & Home Centers

“Dramatic play” centers like the “kitchen center,” “dollhouse,” and “home/baby” centers provide opportunities for children to recreate life experiences—exploring the roles of people and structures in their family and community.  This is the teacher’s opportunity to learn about the child, and relate the gospel to all of life.

Kitchen Center: Use the Center:

  • Ask Questions: Do you like to help your mom and dad with chores?  What do you help with?  What is your favorite food?  What kind of food are you making? 
  • When kids set the table to eat, ask them to pray before their “meal.”
  • Encourage the kids to take turns and share at the table.  When a child takes a toy from another, encourage asking for and extending forgiveness. 

Continue Reading…

Jesus Storybook Bible Videos

Thursday Book Club: Family Equipping Ministry

Tuesday/Thursday Book Club:perspectives-on-family-ministry
Perspectives on
Family Ministry

“Family-Equipping Ministry: Church & Home as Co-Champions,”

chapters 9-10

This is the final book club installment for the volume Perspectives on Family Ministry Here is a series of links to the entire series:

In the final two chapters, the Family-Equipping model of ministry is advocated by Jay Strother, Emerging Generations Minister at Brentwood Baptist Church in the Nashville, TN, area.  I was privileged to meet Jay at a conference at the Connecting Church & Home conference at his church this past Summer, and he has been invaluable to our children’s ministry as we made plans to launch our first multi-site this year.

Jay begins his chapter with the usual complaints about the contemporary youth/family ministry situation.  He notes that “despite strong interest in religion and even active participation in vibrant churches, millions of students in our ministries were unable to articulate even the most basic tenets of Christian faith… Despite all the investments and supposed advances in age-organized ministries over the past thirty years, churched children and youth are growing up less likely than ever before to have a biblical perspective on life” (141).  While these complaints are usual, I want to agree with Jay that they are serious.  I think that our kids’ inability to articulate doctrine is somewhat more serious than the dropout statistics often referenced.  As I read to this point in Jay’s chapter, I found myself wondering, “Yes, but is this a problem with our philosophical model or merely a problem with the content that we’re teaching?”  Jay’s answer is “Both.” Continue Reading…

What Church Leaders Can Learn from Sesame Street

Sesame Street was effective because the program didn’t just contexutalize to the present; it contextualized to the future.

Remember, after all, when the show started. It was in 1969, the era of George Wallace and the Black Panther Party and campus race riots and the Richard Nixon “Southern Strategy.” From the very start, the program showed kids what few of them had ever seen before: a racially integrated neighborhood.

Now, Sesame Street could have done this with preachy didactic dialogue (kind of like Norman Lear’s Maude series). But instead, they showed kids racial equality, and made it normal for them, without ever saying much about it in the process.

As I read that, it struck me that, years before my Mississippi elementary school was integrated via busing, I’d seen African-American and Latino characters (such as “Gordon” and “Maria”) functioning as equal members of a society, on the television screen of my home.

“It’s almost too perfect that the first African-American president of the United States was elected in time for the 40th anniversary of Sesame Street,” the New York Times says. “The world is finally beginning to look the way that PBS show always made it out to be.”

What would happen if, whenever our culture saw love or reconciliation or peace, our neighbors said, “This is exactly the way that church always made life out to be?”

I wonder what would happen if our churches were to recognize our role in showing people the future, not just in our teaching and in our going but in our being? What kind of witness could we be to our communities, as fragmented as they are by race and class and economics and politics, if the very makeup of our congregations signaled the “manifold wisdom of God” (Eph. 3:10) in which “here there is no Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Schythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all” (Col. 3:11)?

via Moore to the Point by Russell D. Moore.  Read the full article.

Block City & Train/City Centers

“Dramatic play” centers like the “block city” & “train/city center” provide opportunities for children to recreate life experiences—exploring the roles of people and structures in their family and community.  This is the teacher’s opportunity to learn about the child, and relate the gospel to all of life.

Use the “Block City” Center:

  • Ask Questions: What are you building (tower, fire house, church, school)?  Where have you seen that kind of building before?  Have you ever been there?
  • Block buildings fall down.  Teach kids about how things in this world break, but God will build everything again so that it never falls down.
  • Kids knock down block buildings.  When this happens, encourage asking for and extending forgiveness. Continue Reading…