There are sometimes immediate rewards—hugs, kisses, or high fives—of teaching, but we know that it is also hard work. Teachers spend time studying and preparing for sessions, cutting out game pieces or story figures, or checking out Media connections to find that perfect song or video clip for youth.
If you are a teacher, we thank you. You are a blessing to those you teach and to your congregation.
If you are a church leader, we encourage you to find ways to show appreciation to these volunteers. A simple gift, note, or phone call of thanks can lift spirits and show just how much you care and appreciate their work. As the winter quarter winds down, consider ways that you and the families in your congregation can say thanks to those who share God's good news with children and youth. Check out our Teacher Appreciation board on Pinterest for ideas.
Looking ahead to spring!
The Spring 2017 quarter includes the season of Lent and Easter, inviting children to explore Jesus' journey to the cross and the wonder of his resurrection as told by Matthew and John. After Easter, Primary through Junior Youth will have a series of six stories under the theme "God Cares for the Weak." Both Old and New Testament stories help children and youth know that God cares for the weak and powerless, and calls each of us to do the same. In late spring, preschool children hear stories from both the Old and New Testaments that encourage them to "Follow the Way of Peace."
The spring quarter begins on Sunday, March 5. If you haven't yet ordered your curriculum, there's still time! Go to our webstore to place your order or call 1-800-441-3712.
What's in a Shine session?
Each Shine session plan has tools to help you prepare and lead your children and youth in engaging the Bible stories. During 2017, we will feature each section of the Shine session plan and invite you to share your own insights and tips.
Gather. The first minutes of a session can set the tone for the rest of the time with your children and youth. Everyone comes into the room with differing attitudes and experiences from their week. Some may be excited to be there, while others may come needing more sleep! Build community provides ideas to help you welcome everyone, get acquainted, and feel at ease interacting with one another. From there, children and youth can move more easily into a time of Worship together with prayer and music. Spiritual practices may flow from worship or be best suited at another point in the session—you choose. These activities include ways for children and youth to connect with God and cultivate the inner life of the Spirit. Fun and effective Bible memory activities help to build a life-long love of scripture. This time of worship and connection with God and one another enables everyone to be ready to engage the Bible story.
In the sidebar of the Gather section, you will also find a helpful list of supplies, items needed from the poster or resource pack, a To do list with simple instructions, and four Media connections that you can use for your own enrichment or to enhance the session experience. Media connections often include books, websites, music, art, or other resources that go along with the session.
How do you build community in those first few minutes of the session? What spiritual practice has been especially meaningful for your group? How have you used Media connections? Share your own ideas and experiences with us by email to contact@ShineCurriculum.com or on our Facebook page. We'll share them with readers here or on our Facebook page.
February is the perfect time to begin planning for Vacation Bible School! Dig into a Bible and activity-based VBS that's all about Jesus' parables and the treasure to be found in his words. At first, Jesus' parables seem simple. But it takes listening and digging deeper to discover the treasures of the kingdom of heaven. The Digging for Treasure: Parables Revealed starter kit comes with everything you need to help children dig deep into the parables and uncover truths about God's constant love and care for them. Each day's story and theme are rooted in the Bible and will help the parables come to life in age-appropriate ways through dramas, playing games, making crafts, sharing snacks, and other fun activities. Visit our website for an overview of the curriculum and ordering information.