Children and Families

by Sarah McNicol last modified 21 Jun, 2017 10:54 AM

Useful, fun, spiritual resources.

In all be intentional... Whatever activities or services you have planned ask yourself why you are doing them, how will they allow you or your helpers or the parents/carers be ‘alongsiders’ and ‘faith sharers’ with the children and how will you enable the children to express their thoughts, ideas and feelings so that you and other adults can learn from them. 

Page contents

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Children in Church Resources
Barbara's Book Reviews
Under-Fives Resources
Special Needs Resources 

 

Children in Church Resources

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Barbara's Book Reviews

Stephanie Carmichael offers a godly model for teaching children up to the age of 8. She looks at what we should be like as teachers (and learners) both new and experienced, then looks at what children are like as individuals and at various stages: 2 year olds, 3-4 year olds and 5-7 year olds.

As always you will have children who have not read the book and don’t know which age group characteristics they are supposed to have - I have taught many children who do not wait until they are 5 to show curiosity and be full of questions, for example.

This pattern is repeated throughout the book exploring how we teach the Bible to children, planning a session, including keeping control. The book is packed with practical ideas, (location, welcoming, safety and toilet issues, being organised, training leaders etc) photocopiable pictures and encouragement to pray about what we are doing. I particularly like the appendices with forms to help any church discuss and plan how they might deliver Sunday groups.

It does recommend continuity of leaders and I know this isn’t possible for many churches/ teachers - however we do need to look prayerfully at how we can offer some continuity and consistency: same welcome, patterns, expectations etc.

Why buy it?

  • It’s good on theory and great on practice
  • I particularly like the ideas about how to introduce and conclude a story looking with the children at how the story might be relevant in their lives – what is the message? (although do allow time for the children to come up with the message rather than telling them what it is)
  • Relevant to new and experienced teachers alike
  • Not just for Sunday school! The ideas would be just as relevant to midweek groups, after school clubs etc

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This well written book is full of humour as well as practical advice will encourage all parents. It helps parents to think intentionally and creatively about how to foster a healthy family life.
It is divided into sections:

  • Understanding how families work: knowing what a family is for, building healthy family life, creating special family time, helping sibling relationships
  • Meeting children’s needs ways of sharing love
  • Building character through setting boundaries: this section is divided into various ages
  • Helping children make good choices how to handle themselves and modern life
  • Passing on beliefs and values dealing with the big questions
  • Epilogue releasing children, the wider community (that’s all of us!!), more resources

Why buy it?

  • It is one of the best I’ve seen
  • It is practical helpful and reassuring while calling us to be the parents God wants us to be
  • Full of real stories and funny stories just like a family

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Although I wouldn’t want children to be seen as performers every time they come back into church the ideas for return to church are creative and challenging (for the adults). It would be great if the adults had something to share with children in return.

Why buy it?

  • Based on 15 years experience
  • Everything you need approach including a script for the whole session (although I would add wondering questions and space for children to be creative in their thinking)
  • Links to Liturgy, the church’s year and the structure of the Eucharist closely
  • Looks at the importance of Entrances and Exits – they make all the difference to how the time apart is viewed by both children and adults.
  • Relevant to children’s own lives and experiences
  • The children are led to worship not just child-minded
  • Easy to prepare - confidence building for leaders - easy to dip in and out of
    CDROM included with pictures, cartoons etc
  • Good for mixed ages
  • Suitable for midweek worship too
  • Some of the ideas could be used in Collective Worship at school

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Looks at 20 main Bible Stories (+ 80 linked stories) setting them in their context in the history of God’s people. 10 each from the Old and New Testaments. Each story starts by linking to something the children will have experienced (e.g. rainbows) then goes to the story (e.g. Noah).

For each story, there is an amazing fold out double spread picture with lots of illustrations from the story which could generate excellent discussion and question generation.

There are 4 sections for responding to the story:

  1. Try it out – practical&/or creative ideas
  2. Did you Know? Explanation of facts or vocabulary
  3. Talk to God prayer
  4. Talk Together discussion based on questions posed by real children

...plus 4 more outlined bible stories linked to the main one.

Why buy it?

  • It is modern, clear, relevant and interesting for children and young people, engages in a variety of ways.
  • It could be used for Sunday or midweek groups, after school or holiday clubs & RE lessons.

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This book looks realistically at the struggle of working with mixed ages with their different sizes, interests, abilities, levels of understanding and opinions.

There are 3 parts: Biblical Perspectives, Principles and Positives and Practical Ideas.

Why buy it?

  • They use real life stories.
  • It doesn’t promise growth of numbers but does offer growth in   depth of understanding breadth of relationships and heights of faith.
  • Full of tips.
  • Easy to read.
  • Short!

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8 sections, each one including biblical perspectives and practical ideas.

  1. Every Child Matters
  2. Families, parenting skills, opportunities
  3. School opportunities from prayer for to working with and in
  4. Community outreach, sharing facilities
  5. Worship welcome, liturgy and communion
  6. Sunday Groups where, when, why, training leaders
  7. Decision Making how to involve children, recognise their gifts
  8. The World nurture an outward looking perspective

Why buy it?

  • Bishop Paul is an excellent writer and great advocate for work with children.
  • Easy to read.
  • Full of real life examples and practical ideas.
  • Really good ‘think about it’ questions for the reader – how might these ideas apply in your context?

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Under-Fives Resources

‘It is not enough to entertain toddlers and other young children until they are old enough to engage in cognitive reflection and attain a spiritual awareness more recognizable to adults. We must create contexts, point the way, share the stories and give directions that help toddlers express their spiritual experience in ways that transform who they are in the very real developmental stages in which they reside.’

 

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Special Needs Resources

 

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