Church School 2017

Ministries with Children

Our hope and desire is that each child will grow to be the unique individual God has created him or her to be, identifying and freely using the gifts that God has provided. We encourage families to bring children to Church School as often as possible in order to take full advantageous of our Christian formation offerings. Christian formation is very important to us at The Redeemer. We offer an extensive Christian Formation program for all ages. See the Church School page for details.

Children's Chapel is offered during the 9am service. Children ages 3 through 3rd grade are invited to follow the cross after the reading of the Gospel for a program designed for their level. They return to the service during The Peace.

Nursery

The Nursery (Infant to age 2 or 3)
8:45 to 11:15 am 
Room 202, 2nd Floor, Parish House

Our safe, clean, and inviting Nursery is a great place for napping, playing, hearing a story, or enjoying a snack with our caregivers. These are some of the most formative years in a child’s life, and the Nursery may well be a child’s first experience of the community of faith. We treasure each child as a gift of God and welcome all.

Click here to register your child(ren) for this class.

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, Level I (Age 3 to Grade K)
Level I Atrium (Room 201), 2nd Floor, Parish House
10:30 to 11:00 am

Children join together for prayer and song circle, experience small-group lessons grounded in the Bible or liturgy, independently work with beautiful hand-made materials, and participate in seasonal celebrations, all of which serve to enliven and strengthen the bond that exists between each child and God. Youngsters of this age are capable of great wonder and joy, and they respond positively to the order, security, ritual, and movement they find in the Montessori-based environment. This provides the foundation for all Christian formation. Here children can experience God’s transforming work through the Holy Spirit. (Parents, consistent attendance enhances a child’s comfort level. Please bring your children as often as possible, and if you want to assist, there are many easy ways you can lend a hand.)

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, Level II (Grades 1-3)
Level II Atrium (Room 209), 2nd Floor, Parish House
10:30 to 11:00 am

Expanding on Catechesis I, Level II offers presentations based on themes from the Holy Bible and the liturgy, prayers, songs, and opportunities for reflection through art, crafts, peer interaction and meditative work. Imagination and agility with the concept of time allow this age group to appreciate the history of the kingdom of God through large-scale presentations. The year is punctuated with seasonal celebrations. The Atrium environment offers freedom, delight and refreshment through the transforming presence of the Holy Spirit. Children begin to assume leadership responsibilities and develop meaningful relationships within the Christian community. Adults, if you would like to help, we would welcome your presence on Sunday mornings.

Click here to register your child(ren) for this class.

New First, Second and Third Grade Curriculum

By Tory Dunkle

Over the course of the last Church School year, the Children and Youth Committee dedicated itself to the continued work of program evaluation. After a survey of our Good Shepherd programs in 2014 and a program-wide evaluation in 2015, we turned our attention to our Level II program which serves our children in first through third grades. Our goal was to identify the core strengths of our program while also hearing from parents and children as to how we could better serve their needs.

With over half of our regular families responding, our two month long survey revealed several consistent themes. Our parents were quick to affirm the hands-on nature of the program while also emphasizing how much their children enjoy fellowship with their peers. On the flip-side, parents expressed a firm desire to see the program focus more attention on laying a strong foundation in Biblical literacy and for there to be a greater variety in the style and approach of instruction to better meet the learning needs of all children.

In reviewing feedback, it became clear that while the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd curriculum had served our first, second and third graders well for many years, it was no longer meeting the expressed needs and desires of our families. Knowing this, the Committee set about to find a curriculum that took the parts of Catechesis that families loved but that made room for what they desired most for their children. After months of consideration and exploration, Jerome Berryman’s “Godly Play” curriculum rose to the top as the curriculum that best fit our children’s needs while also retaining the hands-on aspects of Catechesis so enjoyed by our families. The draw to “Godly Play” came out of the Montessori-based curriculum’s commitment to engaging children in faith through Biblical storytelling and creative activities.

So, this year our first, second and third grade class will make the shift to “Godly Play.” We will spend two weeks exploring a Bible story. The first week we will focus on getting familiar with the story itself, and the second week we will focus on creative activities that reinforce the narrative while inviting the children to wonder about its meaning in their own lives. Over the course of the fall we will cover key narratives from Genesis: Creation, Adam and Eve, The Flood, Abraham, etc. Our hope is that by exploring these key narratives in an imaginative and creative way, our children will not learn these stories, but more importantly that through these stories they will come to know God better.

Prototyping, evaluation and feedback are a vital part of any curriculum change. Input from our parents, children and teachers will be instrumental as we move throughout the year and the Committee continues to evaluate this new curriculum. Please feel free to contact Tory Dunkle at tdunkle@theredeemer.org or 610-525-2486, ext.20 with any suggestions or comment.

Good Shepherd

Good Shepherd-4 & 5 (Grades 4 & 5)
Room 206, Upper Level, Parish House
10:30 to 11:00 am

Just as fourth and fifth grade serve as a bridge between elementary and middle school, Good Shepherd 4 and 5 seek to guide our young believers from Catechesis to Rite 13. This program builds on the joy and love for God cultivated in Catechesis, while providing the Biblical narrative needed to engage in spiritual discovery and fellowship during Rite 13. Monthly interactive rotations seek to illuminate key Old and New Testament passages by exploring each narrative through several different lenses – art, missions, drama, etc. Through hand-on programming, children are able to begin to make the connection between the Bible and the modern world. Good Shepherd takes advantage of this age groups increasing response to the unfolding generosity of God by asking “What is my place in the Kingdom of God?” This wondering lays the foundations for a life of commitment to furthering the church’s mission of love and justice in this world.

Click here to register your child(ren) for this class.

Formation: The Ongoing Work of Faith

By Tory Dunkle

Walk into our Level I classroom any given Sunday and you will find preschoolers scattered about the room engaged in their morning’s work. That’s right, work. They aren’t playing. They aren’t coloring. They aren’t pretending. They aren’t creating. They are working. 
 
Why the insistence on referring to their activity in such seemingly grown-up terms? First, it legitimizes and formalizes the important way play functions in the life of children. While grown-ups may quickly look at a child at play and judge them as engaged in a fun but meaningless activity, child psychologists have long touted play as invaluable to the intellectual, mental and social development of a healthy child. It is through play that children make sense of their world, synthesize all that they’ve learned, and process big emotions. Our children are not simply pasting the articles of the Eucharist on a paper altar or pretending as they “walk” figures through the Good Shepherd parable. Their play is purposeful. It is where they internalize parables, prayers and Bible stories. 
 
Secondly, by acknowledging their activity as work, we are subtly signaling to our children the role they must play within their own faith. Faith is not inherited. Faith is not stationary. Faith is not effortless. Faith is fluid, ever growing and changing according to our willingness to respond to God’s grace and to seek a relationship with God. 
 
Faith is work. If we hope to instill in our children a faith in God that grows as they do, we must help them to learn that true faith is not passive. God longs to be in relationship with us, and through God’s grace we are able to daily receive that gift.  Prayer, worship, reconciliation, community, love. It requires our attention, our passion, our inquiry, our time. Faith is a lifelong endeavor that calls us to daily seek God’s face. It is work, but it is the most important work we can engage in.