Godly Play: PreK & Kindergarten Kids
Based on the Montessori method of teaching, Godly Play uses wooden and felt materials to tell the fundamental stories of our faith. This experiential type of storytelling helps young children identify with the people in the Bible lessons. The children slip into a deep place of listening, as they watch the events of a narrative unfold. Afterwards, the Storyteller invites the kids to respond to what they felt and saw in the lesson by asking them scripted Wondering Questions.
Children can then respond to the lessons with art materials, reflective of the story’s message, or they may work with the actual story pieces, themselves.
Godly Play is such a powerful means of accessing our stories that teachers bring some of its lessons to our Third through Sixth Grade classes, two or three times a year. It helps the older kids identify more deeply with the experience of Baptism, for example, or the disciples on Good Friday.
1st & 2nd Graders
The First & Second Graders learn the major lessons in the Old Testament in chronological order. They begin their gathering with work on a craft, then their teacher reads the story from a picture book or Children’s Bible. Often the lesson plan will include an object lesson to help the kids understand how a story from thousands of years ago can inform their modern-day worlds. Each lesson addresses a topic significant to kids’ daily lives: Forgiving Others, Jealousy, and Patience are a few examples. Many times the kids act out the story or play a game based on what they learned.
In addition to the Biblical stories, the kids get a chance to discuss ways to navigate challenges with their classmates and families. Each year they have a workshop on Teasings & Put Downs run by a family therapist. Also, they explore their strengths, their goals and their differences in lessons that amplify those themes. All classes devote sessions to The Lord’s Prayer, Psalm 23 and the Sacraments: critical touchstones in our faith.
3rd – 6th Graders
The curriculum manuals for Grace’s Third to Sixth grade classes follow a child’s growing spiritual development by addressing their primary questions: Is There a God? Why Go to Church? and What’s an Episcopalian? After exploring their feelings about faith, the kids learn to navigate the Bible, identify the different styles of the Gospel writers and get a basic history of this ancient text. Then, they study the miracles and parables of Jesus, the Sacraments, the development of the church – from a historical perspective – and the holy days of the church year.
Grace provides Good News Bibles in the classrooms, and teachers reinforce its familiarity with games and timeline projects. In addition, the curriculum includes many object lessons and crafts. The Sixth Grade class spends part of their time learning the parts of the Prayer Book. At the end of the program year, each Fourth Grader receives her own Good News Bible and every Sixth Grader receives his own Book of Common Prayer.
Saint Francis Sunday
Bring your favorite pet to church! The first Sunday in October, we invite all animals, real or stuffed, to attend a shortened version of our 9 am service and get a special pet blessing from our Rector or Curate. Afterwards, we feature different kinds of pet foods at Coffee Hour.
Wear your Halloween costume at Church! On the last Sunday before Halloween, kids and many adults wear their costumes to church. This is a fun way to celebrate the upcoming holiday and show off our creativity and favorite characters.
Light up your Advent season with our Advent wreathmaking event! On the first Sunday of Advent, parishioners create wreaths for their dining tables in Grace Hall during Coffee Hour. Grace provides fresh greens and offers brass candle rings and candles for a small fee. This festive Coffee Hour overflows with the scent of pine and the friendly frenzy of clipping wire and greens.
Roll out of bed and straight into church on Pajama Sunday! We invite everyone to wear their PJs to church on the fourth Sunday in Lent and bring in new pajamas to donate to children living in homeless shelters.
Trumpets, lilies and egg hunts bring a tangible Aha! experience to our festive Easter services. On this highest of holy days, kids enjoy festival music and the opportunity to flower a large cross at our 9 and 11:15 am services. Their worship experience includes a short Easter Drama and an outdoor egg hunt, held in our beautiful gardens.