Children at the Church of the Redeemer
Redeemer helps children find God's true purpose for their lives: the unfolding of Christ’s life into the world through their unique and developing personalities.
Redeemer creates and facilitates age-appropriate programming providing opportunities for your children’s hearts, heads, and hands to be formed into Christ’s own.
We are asking all children and teens above the age of 2 to wear face masks for all indoor and outdoor gatherings.
This fall, we will offer the following programs for children at the Redeemer:
Infant and Toddler Nursery ChildcareNursery care for children age 3 and under begins at 8:50am in the nursery, located in the downstairs Sunday School wing. This ministry is provided by our staff childcare workers all masked and vaccinated. We will have all the windows open in the nursery area as well as air purification. Childcare is available almost every Sunday throughout the year; alerts as to canceled nursery care will be in the weekly email.
Children’s Chapel in the Saint Francis Garden
Normally we will begin Sunday School with a lively time of prayer and praise through singing at 9:45 in the downstairs children’s chapel. Until the weather does not allow, we will be beginning the prayer and praise outside under a tent in the Saint Francis Garden. Children 3 and older are welcome to attend this time of worship before their classes begin at 10:00.
Godly Play: 3-year-old to 3rd grade
Our two Godly Play classes will be combined this fall, the Prophets (3 year old - Kindergarten) and the Saints (1st - 3rd grade). They will gather for silly Christian songs with musician John Spressart Mayer in the Little Chapel which will be in the Saint Francis Garden this Fall, beginning around 9:40. We break into classes with our Godly Play curriculum around 10:05.
Godly Play helps your children make meaning of bible narratives, Jesus Christ's life, and church saints through story, wonder, and play.
Godly Play offers a Montessori-style, developmentally appropriate way of entering into and experiencing the biblical story. In Godly Play, we play with the language of God and God’s People in sacred stories, parables, liturgical actions and silence. Together we learn about God and our relationship with God through this powerful language, through our wondering, and through the community of players gathered together.
The Apostles Class: 4-6th Grades
The Apostles Class helps create a foundation of scriptural understanding by learning to read the bible, ask questions, and make connections about the Christian faith.
This classroom gathers at 9:45 on the lawn near the entrance of the church or when the weather prohibits outside Sunday School this it will be held in the Old Parish Hall (windows open and air filtration system in place) for more involved discussion and activities than in the Godly Play classrooms. We find by fourth grade, students are ready to stretch themselves a little further and engage more directly with the big questions.
What Happens in Godly Play
At the Threshold
A doorkeeper waits by the door to the Godly Play classroom, warmly welcoming children into a circle in the Saint Francis Garden. He or she says, “I’m so glad you’re here. Are you ready to be part of a Godly Play classroom?”
Building the Circle
Children make their way into the tent and sit in a circle around the storyteller. He or she talks quietly and easily with the children, building a community where each and every participant is warmly welcomed. The storyteller says, “We need to get ready for the story.” The storyteller then shows how by sitting quietly, legs crossed, hands at the ankles. Conversation yields to silence. The storyteller asks the children where we are in the church calendar, rings a bell to begin the story quite the students
Presenting the Lesson
The Storyteller goes to get the materials for the day’s presentation –a box, a basket or a tray. Slowly, deliberately, the storyteller brings out the story figures and objects, gently moving and arranging them as he or she tells the story. The children’s eyes focus where the storyteller’s eyes and hands focus, on the small wooden figures, painted plaques or beautifully finished props moving in the circle. The lesson continues, moves forward… and concludes.
The storyteller sits back, but keeps his or her eyes on the figures. “I wonder… I wonder what part of this story you like best?” There is silence for a moment, and then a child answers… and then perhaps another. The storyteller affirms each answer. The storyteller continues, “I wonder what part is the most important?” Children name different parts. Every serious struggle to answer is, again, affirmed. “I wonder where you are in the story or what part of the story is about you?” “I wonder if there is any part of this story we could leave out and still have all the story we need?” The storyteller listens respectfully to every answer, repeating it, never calling one response good or another wrong. It is the child’s effort to speak theologically in a seriously playful way that is being supported.
The wondering sinks into silence. The children watch as the storyteller puts away the lesson. He or she invites them to think about what work they would like to do in response to the lesson. The children have been involved in the story and the wondering. Now that absorbed involvement continues as they, one by one, name what response they choose to make. Some play mindfully with the materials from the presentation or from other presentations. Others want to paint. Still others work with crayons.
When the response is finished, the storyteller draws the attention of the group to gather for a reading or song as each child waits to be picked up by his or her parent. When a parent arrives at the entrance of the classroom, the doorkeeper quietly escorts their child to the door, looks into their eyes, smiles, and quietly says, “It was a pleasure to have you here today. Thank you for being with us.”
Helpful tips for parents
When you pick up your child, keep in mind that young children will not always be able to tell you what they learned, because what they learned was how to learn about the powerful language of the Christian people.
Children will not always be able to show you a physical product for their “work” that day, because some of what they’ve learned cannot be put into words even by adults. In Godly Play, we focus on our relationship with God and the depths of relationships in the community of children.
Godly Play classes end at 11:00 am, except for those who are joining the regular worship service for Eucharist. Please meet your children by 11:10 am to ensure that we are caring for our faithful storytellers and doorkeepers, enabling them to return to their own family and friends in a timely manner.
8:50-12:00 Nursery Care
9:00-9:30 Coffee + Fellowship
9:30-9:45 Prayer for Sunday School
9:45-10:00 Music for Godly Play
10:00-11:15 Sunday School
If you would like to have the dates and times for all the gatherings please see the Families Brochures here and email the Director of the program, Barrie Rose Bliss, at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like a brochure mailed to your home!