Faith Formation Activities that Engage Children and Youth:
During pageant rehearsals, I received an email from a parent saying their child had come home from practice with Erin Gosser and said, “all teachers should teach like her!” I’m pretty sure this is the highest praise a teacher can receive! That same week I read an article about keeping kids actively engaged and realized that Northbrook UMC’s Sunday school teachers and lessons incorporate many of these same strategies: choice, connection, social interaction, safety, and authenticity. Because faith involves the mind, heart, and hands, it is important that our activities (like the pageant) are engaging.
The pageant engaged children in intentional ways:
- Children wrote the dialog, allowing them to connect their own experiences with the story.
- Children chose their parts based on interest, rather than tradition or gender roles. While we had the three traditional wise people (not just men!), if we had had more interested children, we would have made room for more. With youth help, everyone selected a costume that felt comfortable and helped them imagine the role.
- Lastly, the pageant was important to the children because it was a part of worship. They worked hard during practice to do their best, knowing that their efforts would be part of the service.
I am certain that the participants will remember this pageant for a long time to come. They will surely remember the story of Christ’s birth, and maybe even their lines. (I know I will never forget Joseph’s line, “I’ll help get the baby out!”) They will also remember the enthusiastic support of the congregation and the fun, engaging practices led by Erin Gosser.
Sunday school will resume on January 8th. We will continue to create opportunities for children and youth to engage their minds, hearts and hands through meaningful stories, choice of response, and social interaction. We will be learning about Jesus’s early life and ministry: baptism, calling the disciples, and teachings. We hope that every Sunday children come home and say, “I wish all teachers taught like that!”
If you would like to know more about how we teach, what we teach, or becoming a Sunday school teacher, please contact me. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year,
Christine V. Hides
Director of Ministries with Children and Youth
Do you know friends who are looking for a meaningful, engaging, inclusive place for their family to grow in faith? Invite them to our upcoming Open Houses on January 9, January 19 and by appointment.