As we prepare to transition our Kindergarten students into the Clubhouse with an even greater focus on relationship building within the small group teaching model, I thought I would share my thoughts and testimony of growth and why I’m so excited.
Many years ago when I was a new volunteer I preferred to only be a second adult in the room, more of a teacher’s helper than a small group leader. The thought of actually leading a group of kids in their activities was uncomfortable for me. I worked and had a young family and usually read the lesson material a couple of hours before I had to be in the classroom. I performed the tasks, often muddling through the activities instead of being highly prepared to allow them to flow smoothly. Sometimes it was easier to speed through everything and let the kids play.
The main teacher in the room moved away and I became the lead teacher. I had to step up my game for the benefit of the kids and myself. I quickly learned that those kids taught me as much as I taught them. Interacting with the kids and building a relationship with the parents turned what was once an “obligation” into an incredible blessing. I’ve now had the privilege of watching some of my young students grow and start families of their own.
Through the years I have worked with several different styles of curriculum. Each new change brought on some doubts when it was introduced. I’ve been working with the upcoming lessons and curriculum style and I’m excited about the potential for life long relationships that will be built. The relationship building opportunities will really take off as small group leaders interact closely with their smaller core group of kids.
We have the children for such a short amount of time over the year. These fun activities will help build those lasting relationships while at the same time teaching one of the bottom lines we want each child to know by the time they graduate from our ministry. Kids do learn through play but that play doesn’t have to be open access to a room full of toys. The kids will be playing games and doing activities that the small group leaders will tie back to their bottom line.
If asked about a good way to get ready for the transition it would be for each leader to review the lessons a couple of times prior to the weekend. The more familiar they are with the activities the smoother it will go, and the more fun for leaders and kids alike. The kids really pick up on the enthusiastic attitude and they become excited to participate. Go with the flow, the kids may request an activity be repeated several times and that is OK.
It’s time to get pumped up! Sometimes an activity isn’t going to be a hit. We encourage feedback so we can tweak the process together. The most important part is teaching the kids about their wonderful Savior and building those relationships that will help the basic truths of faith to stick. God made me. God loves me. Jesus wants to be my friend forever.