Saturday, December 20, 2008

Preschool

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Welcome to the SOWO Volunteers who will be joining us for our Easter Services this year!

Here's what to expect in the Preschool Ministry...

1. Arrive at least 20 minutes prior to your service time

2. Each classroom will have a "Room Point" (a regular PreK Volunteer) - this person will be able to answer any questions you may have!

3. Basic Schedule...

Sea/Woods (830a Service Example ... Schedules for each service will be in your classroom)
815-835 - Checkin/FreePlay/Cleanup
835 - Large Group (in the Sea - or Zone if #'s are small)
850 - Activity Center Rotation #1
900 - Activity Center Rotation #2
910 - Activity Center Rotation #3
920 - Activity Center Rotation #4
930 - Snack/Checkout

Zone (830a Service Example ... Use Sea/Woods if #'s are small)
815-835 - Checkin/FreePlay/Cleanup
835 - Activity Center Rotation #1
845 - Activity Center Rotation #2
855 - Activity Center Rotation #3
905 - Activity Center Rotation #4
915 - Large Group (in the Zone)
930 - Snack/Checkout

4. Activity Centers

-Blue, Green, Red, and Yellow

-You'll notice the four colored mats in each classroom - this is to help the children know which center to go to. When a child arrives in the classroom they receive a label with a color square, this is their starting Activity Center color.

-Each volunteer in the classroom will be assigned to one of the colors. You will remain at this color during the four activity center rotations. The Room Point will let you know when to rotate. Generally, the center rotations are 10 minutes each.

-All the curriculum and supplies that you need will be inside the Activity Center Bin.

-Any takehome items can be placed in the child's numbered bin (also located on their label)

5. Large Group

-During Large Group time the Large Group Leader will teach the story and lead worship, volunteers will help watch the children during this time.




Friday, December 5, 2008

It's December

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Well ... I've been TERRIBLE about blogging lately ... Thanksgiving is finished already and its time to send out the Christmas Cards!  The first snow has already come and gone ... even though it wasn't much it made everything a beautiful white color - and of course came on a Sunday morning which made the roads treacherous on the way to church in the morning!  We might even get a little more snow tonight ... its certainly cold enough to snow!  

Christmas is obviously just a few weeks away ... take some time to slow down and enjoy this season!

Here's a few things going on...

Mitten Tree

It's up and ready ... bring your gloves, scarves, hats, etc and place them on the tree in the Preschool Area - all items collected will be given to Brookside Community Church

The Blind Writer

If you haven't heard ... Matt Bays wrote a book!  And you can get your copy in Capstone this weekend!  Or order it here.

IJM

Learn more about what this incredible ministry is doing in the world here.  Injustice in our world is all around us and lately we've been talking about it with my group of seventh graders - for many of them its brought up questions and an awareness of a world that's bigger than here in Hamilton County.  Tonight Heather and Steve had an amazing Christmas Concert to raise support for IJM and their work around the world ... I hope that you'll check out the website and allow God to move you to action as you learn more about the world we live in.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A New Favorite

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Mexican Eggrolls!

I know, I know ... I too was skeptical at first, but not anymore! They're basically a taco inside an eggroll! They're quick and easy and don't make a mess when you eat them!

Here's how to make them...

1lb Hamburger Meat
1 Pkg Taco Seasoning
Chopped Onion (however much you want in the eggrolls)
Shredded Cheese (however much you want in the eggrolls)
Shredded Lettuce
Sour Cream
Salsa or Taco Sauce
2 pkgs of Egg Roll Wrappers (usually in the organic/health food section or at health food stores)
1 egg to seal the egg roll wrappers
Oil for frying

Brown the hamburger and mix with the Taco Seasoning (follow directions on package)
Mix in the cheese and onion (or any other taco toppings that you like - green chilis, peppers, etc)

Take an egg roll wrapper and place approx 1 tbsp of taco meat/mix in the wrapper
Follow egg roll wrapper directions to fold
Then take a second wrapper and wrap it around the first, seal with egg (this will ensure that it doesn't make a mess!)
Fry the egg roll in the oil until both sides are brown/somewhat crispy

To serve: Place on a bed of lettuce and top with sour cream and salsa/taco sauce - or dip in sour cream and salsa/taco sauce

Typically 1-1.5lb of meat will make 15-18 egg rolls depending on how much meat is placed in each egg roll.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

November

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November has arrived! The clocks change tonight, which means it will be getting dark much earlier than during the summer months.

We're back to My First Look Curriculum beginning this weekend. During this month we'll be learning about Creation and all that God has made!



How have you shown love this week?

If you have a story you'd like to share, please leave a comment!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Good Neighbor Weekend

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What a weekend it has already been and there is still another day to go! Services were canceled this weekend so that the church could go and be the church! All over Indy more than 2000 people are serving this weekend! I had the opportunity to be a video crew for today's projects and got to see several of the projects! It was awesome to see the lives being impacted at different locations all around the city - and knowing that there were so many more locations where people were serving! Here's a few pictures from today! My locations were all downtown during the morning and afternoon - so all the pics are from different ministries which serve the inner-city community here in Indianapolis!

Click to play Good Neighbor Weekend
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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Pumpkin Seeds

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Here's a favorite pumpkin seed recipe...

Ingredients...
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons margarine, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups raw whole pumpkin seeds
Simple Instructions...

  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F (135 degrees C).
  2. Combine the margarine, salt, garlic salt, Worcestershire sauce and pumpkin seeds. Mix thoroughly and place in shallow baking dish.
  3. Bake for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Stuckey Farms

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If you're looking for a FUN and CHEAP fall activity, I highly suggest Stuckey Farms! They have free wagon rides out to the apple orchard or pumpkin patch and if you pick your own its cheaper than buying one of the already picked pumpkins or apples!

Here's some pics from tonight - I went with some of the girls in my Life Group!

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

An Incredible Weekend

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If you missed service this past weekend ... well you missed something pretty special!
Don't worry though ... its now available by clicking here!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Fall

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October is here and I've begun to see the many colors that come along with it around town! What are some of your favorite things about the fall season?

For me, I love pumpkins and the crunch of fall leaves, as well as the cool air which means I can pull my favorite hooded sweatshirts out! Unfortunately though, it also means that the cold days of winter are ahead!

I hope you enjoy the unique things that come along with the fall season and take some time over the next few weeks to spend some time enjoying them!

Friday, September 19, 2008

96 Hours

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*EDIT* see more storm photos under the photos link at the top!

That's how long we spent without electricity this past week! While our electric here in Ohio is back on in our area, our internet is not - so this quick post comes to you from one of my favorite places ... Panera :-)

***EDIT*** Unfortunately, I wasn't quick enough and Panera's 30 minute rule that they're enforcing kicked me off the internet ... so this post comes to you from the Waynesville Library, who graciously allows you to stay as long as you want :-)

We were able to get a generator (which we shared with neighbors on each side!) from a friend who's power came back on early in the week, so between the generator - which kept food in the fridge cold and our gas grill - which allowed us to eat hot meals, the week wasn't all that bad!


Duke has been the MOST POPULAR and the MOST UNPOPULAR people in Ohio this week! There are now 2100 people from all over the country here working on power lines. When these trucks come to YOUR neighborhood ... they're loved, but when they're in everyone else's neighborhood ... well they're not real popular with the people here! (Yes that's a power pole strapped on top of his truck ... a very common site this week!)


Following the 80mph winds that came last Sunday there are debris EVERYWHERE! Below are a few pics ... I'll load more once I'm 'back in Indy and things are back to normal :-)

The local Snow Trucks have been converted to Debris Trucks and are going house to house...


And this is the pile of debris they have collected so far at the local park where they're chipping everything! On the left ... the chipped pile. On the right ... the pile to be chipped! (I know it looks like a hill, but its really a HUGE pile of trees!!!)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hurricane Ike

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Well, I may be gone for a few days. This was suppose to be my week of vacation and I was planning to spend the week with family in Ohio ... hanging out, doing stuff, etc ... but it looks like Hurricane Ike had other plans. Winds reached almost 80mph (that's a Level 1 Hurricane!) at home yesterday and there is a TON of damage, including 90% of the power grid down in the Cincy Region. So, after waiting until today I'm going to slowly meander east hoping that sometime between now and then the power comes back up ... but if not we'll make the best of it. There's lots of debris to clean up as well ... so most likely we'll be spending the week doing that! Check back ... there may be some good stories to share once the power comes back up ... maybe tonight ... maybe the weekend - its all up in the air right now!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Children's Ministry in the 21st Century

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Here's a recent read...



Children's Ministry in the 21st Century

What I liked...

This book is a compilation of several different Children's Ministry Leaders. They bring their expertise in specific areas to the table and share about what the current best practices are when it comes to ministering to children and families. Also, its relevant. It talks about the issues that are facing our kids here and now ... not what we should have done, but what we need to be doing!

What I didn't like ...

Being a PreK Director ... I'm partial to the little guys :-) And this book focuses primarily on ministry to children in Kindergarten and older. While MANY of the ideas are applicable to the younger crowds, it would still be nice to see a book like this written with Preschool Ministry as the focus :-) This book does devote a chapter to Preschool Ministry.

Who should read it...

This is a great book for anyone who cares about the next generation! Whether you're a volunteer, a parent, or a ministry leader ... everyone can walk away with SOMETHING from this book ... whether its a cool idea to try or just a new perspective on the world around you and how it relates to ministry - you'll find something in it that will make you think, evaluate, and apply!

Overall...

This is an easy read and a fairly good book. It has TONS of practical tips (nearly every chapter is followed with at least 10 ideas to try!) The book can be read from cover to cover, or in segments based on topics. If you want to just focus on Special Needs ... then you could just read the Special Needs Chapter and get a ton out of it!

My Score...

4 out of 5 (It's good ... definitely a recomended read, but not something I would read over and over!)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Global Expedition

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I spent the better part of today pulling together all the things that go into "camp". From registration forms to supply lists I gathered them and placed them in the "Master Notebook" which we'll use as we begin putting together camps in the future! So, tonight I thought I'd share with you a few of my favorite photos from this past year's 4yr-3rd Grade Camp ... Global Expedition! Thanks to Kurt and Ryon who helped tremendously with photos this year!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Autism

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Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability in our world today! Nearly 1 in every 150 children are now diagnosed with autism. Here's an interesting article by Larry Shallenberger ... it takes a different perspective on autism ... check it out here.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Preschool Centers - Labels

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How do we divide the kids into their small groups each week?

Truly ... it's a simple process and after several weeks of trial and error I couldn't think of an easier way to do it ... it was just finding that way to do it that took a little bit of time! But it works!

First of all, remember that preschoolers can't read! They do know their colors and most of them recognize or can at least match numbers. So this limits your options :-)

At first I tried allowing the computer assignment system to divide the kids. Randomly I divided each room into four colors - but, it never failed when it was time to split up there would be 10 kids in the Blue group and 0 in the Red group ... which just left everyone confused.

So...here's my solution...

A sheet of mailing labels and a Publisher document.

I take the four centers and create a document with four color boxes - one color per label. The colors repeat every four labels, which evenly distributes the children into small groups. The labels also have a number printed on them. The number corresponds to the child's bin in the classroom where they keep all of their things while they're in the classroom. When it's time to break up into centers the children look at the color box on their label and go to that same mat color. The kids are able to match their colors and know exactly where to go when they start...and trust me - they know where to begin because in the rare case that you have to start a kid at a different color than what's on their label ... there are a million questions to answer and some very stressed preschoolers :-)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Fun With Food

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I have always LOVED Onion Rings! Often, while at the grocery store I find myself reading the ingredient labels on every brand of onion rings, hoping that just this once I'll find that one of them has dropped corn from their recipe ... but it never seems to be the case! So, tonight I decided to make some of my own Onion Rings ... and they turned out pretty good! Here's the recipe and a few pictures ... not too hard to make and pretty tasty!

All Recipes (TONS of recipes for anything and everything - check it out!) - Onion Rings


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Family Service Project

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August's Family Service Project was held at NVCL! Families with children of all ages helped to complete several projects around the Northview Campus! Here's a recap of the day!

Click to play Family Service Project
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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Introducing ... LAMBIE!

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This is Lambie ... she's the star of the show in the Preschool Ministry. The kids go NUTS when she wakes up from her slumber each Thursday night to tell the preschoolers a Bible Story and boy were they excited tonight when Lambie told them all about her summer and then about David and Goliath! And... the highlight for each child every Thursday night is when they get to hug Lambie before going to their Small Group Activity Centers. I love preschoolers ... simply because they LOVE stuffed sock puppets ... LIFE IS JUST SIMPLE! :-)

Lambie also stars in weekend video curriculum from time to time. The kids love seeing her on the screens and are constantly trying to decide it she's real when she appears on video!

Thanks to Lambie's "mom" who shares her with us each week and teaches the Preschoolers :-)

Here's a picture of Lambie ... I'll post pictures of the REAL Studio 6.7 Preschool Lambie next Thursday night!


Cardboard Testimonies

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Absolutely Incredible!


The Fridge Door

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Growing up, we "posted" things on the fridge door, I guess today we "post" things on our blogs! How much life has changed in the past few years! This drawing has not only made my blog, but also the wall in my office :-) I thought I would share it with everyone ... it is certainly a great drawing and helped me to feel better after being hit with the bungee cord! Sometimes, kids can just make you feel better! This child did such a great job ... and truly captured what was going on at the time!


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

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Click to play South Dakota 2008
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Thanks to Aime I think my roommate and I just found a great new way to spend our time :-)

Here's a quick recap of this past summer's mission trip to South Dakota. This was so much fun...I can guarantee there will be many more to come ... stay tuned!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

10 Days Later...

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No more stitches, bandages, hats, sunglasses, or pain medicine! I am finally feeling almost "normal" once again and made it through a busy day with only a slight headache! All the bandages are off and my eyes are not as sensitive to lights as they were earlier in the week ... which is awesome, because wearing a hat AND sunglasses INSIDE a building just kind of looks funny :-)

Now if it would just stop itching ... I know that's a good sign, but wow - it can get annoying!

All that's left now is a follow up at the ophthalmologist in a couple weeks!

Here's how it currently looks...

Family Service Project

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This past Saturday the families of Studio 6.7 spent their morning helping out with some projects around the Northview Campus.

The younger kids (PreK and Kindergarten) spent their morning picking up rocks in a newly seeded area and pulling weeds from the playground - and let me tell you - pulling weeds from a playground is a HARD thing for a kid to do!!! But for the most part ... they pulled weeds :-) And, every now and then, tested the equipment to make sure it was in good working condition :-)


The older kids spent their morning pulling up the stakes from groundbreaking so that construction can get underway in the coming days and painting a wagon for hayrides this fall!


Here's a few pics from this past weekend ... and more by clicking here!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Knight Crossing

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Here's a Video from Elementary Camp last week!

CLICK HERE

It was an AWESOME week! Here's one of my favorite activities at camp each year...

THE GIANT SLIP 'N' SLIDE

Thursday, August 14, 2008

One Week Later

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Well I think I've finally turned the corner and am beginning to feel better! I'm still not thinking real straight (as some of my volunteers realized today when I sent out this weekend's schedule!!!) But things are feeling better ... and looking better! Thanks for your prayers!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Join Us...

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This Saturday, 9am @ Northview for a Family Service Project!

All ages are welcome!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Little Warning...

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From The United States Army...

Bungee Strap Safety and Information

God was watching out for me - that's all I have to say! Looks like I'm not the only one having trouble with bungee cords recently! The Army has been having a few of their own problems!

Here's something new I learned today...

a bungee cord can RECOIL at up to 60mph!!!

It's Official...

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I have a HARD head! Growing up I loved to head butt people who were holding me, so it would only make sense that when I got head butted by a bungee cord last week my forehead would hold strong! And it did! The doctor who removed my stitches at St. V's Immediate Care tonight was a little concerned about the bone above my left eye due to the amount of pain I'm still experiencing, the bruising around both eyes, and the fact that he could barely touch the area to remove the stitches tonight ... so off to St. V's - Carmel I went for a CT Scan of my facial bones. Amazingly, the results came in a few hours later and there are NO fractures in the bones in my face - which is AWESOME!!! He also gave me a prescription for some pain medicine, which has been a HUGE help this evening! My eye is also beginning to clear up, as long as I'm not using it to read or something there are very few floaters. Hopefully the worst of this is coming to an end and things will begin getting better from here! Thanks for everyone's prayers and concern!

Here's today's photo update...minus 8 stitches!!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Lasers and Bungees

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I've never really had eye problems, in fact friends are often jealous when I can read the street signs long before we even approach the road - so this whole thing has been a new experience. This morning was certainly a new experience! IU Eye Care graciously squeezed me in to their busy schedule downtown at University Hospital this morning with one of their Retinal Specialists. Dr. Gao took a look at my eye and found a retinal tear in the lower part of it (on the side where the bungee hit) - which explains the vision problems I've been having since Thursday. He decided to go ahead and fix it this morning in his office, so he used his laser beam to seal the tear in my retina. Everything happened so fast it took me awhile to realize I had just had laser eye surgery! After a few weeks I'll have it checked again, but he thinks everything should clear up and be fine!

And for the record ...

this was the culprit...


not this...

but... thanks to all of you who thought I was that daring! Little do you know I am TERRIFIED of heights :-)

Here's today's photo update...

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Update

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Well the "second day is always the worst" has stayed true even with this! The pain finally set in today ... and boy does it hurt! I'm just so thankful that both of my eyes are fine. A little to the left or a little to the right and I would have lost one of them! My hat really helps take the focus off of how terrible my face looks - I turned it around again tonight to take this updated pic! And yes ... I now have TWO black eyes, the right one just isn't nearly as bad as the left one!

Olympic Fun

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I spent the last couple days with the McG kids while they were at a conference and after laying on the couch with an icepack for most of the day while the kids watched movies we decided to have a little fun last night before the Opening Ceremonies began! Torches, medals, and even brownies with red icing and "chopsticks" for desert (meant to look like the Torch)! Everyone dressed up as their favorite Olympic Sport and posed for a quick pic with their torches.


Friday, August 8, 2008

Almost...

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Well, to say the least camp was ALMOST wrapped up when I published the last post...technically there were only about 2 hours to go and if you know the Studio 6.7 Team very well ... well, you know that often someone gets hurt during our adventures :-) And this time - it was me!

As we were packing up from camp on Thursday I was putting the finishing touches on the truck with a few bungee cords, when one of them let go ... and YES - it hit me directly between the eyes! Everything is fine, but it was an interesting way to finish up camp! I now have 8 stitches in my face and 1 very black eye :-)


This is a picture from tonight ... at least I can open it somewhat now :-)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

That's A Wrap

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Well...camp - and summer for that matter is coming to an end!  The kids are sitting just on the other side of the computer right now talking about their favorite memories, the things they learned, and what they loved most about camp.  We've had a great week, minus a few claps of thunder that kept a few of us from sleeping the other night :-)  The kids have been awesome and I think they've learned a lot this week.  I hope they had a great end to their summer since school will be starting for many of them next week.  Enjoy their stories as you travel home today - I'm sure they have TONS to tell you about!  Thanks for sharing your kids with us this past week!

To read more about camp and see pictures - go to Joe's Blog - Owned By God

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Update from Camp

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Wireless internet and camp just aren't two things that go together, but here we are on Day 3 of 4 of Elementary Camp! Everyone is having a great time and enjoying themselves. The girls got to sleep in the "Eagle's Nests" last night - cabins built high off the ground. And...the boys "suffered" inside the air conditioned troop cabin. Tonight we'll switch the boys will have the opportunity to sleep high up in the cabins.

After a rainy day yesterday we're looking forward to getting outside today, playing in the pool, water balloons and other outdoor fun! We'll be heading home tomorrow!






Saturday, August 2, 2008

Opposites

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Forgetfulness and thankfulness - not quite the opposites that I would come up with if asked to name a few, yet how true this is - forgetfulness and thankfulness are opposites. Josh's song tonight really got me thinking about this.

When I stop thanking God I become forgetful. I forget that everything I have is from God - because I am not constantly thanking Him for those things He has blessed me with.

Make a list with me of the things you are thankful for - from the big things to the little things write them down and THANK God for them - don't let yourself become forgetful!

activity centers - the how?

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We've taken a look at why using activity centers is good in preschool ministries ... now here's the other question I get a lot ... how do you use the centers?

So...here we go...

When do I use the centers?

During all Preschool Ministry Programs. This includes both the weekend services and the mid-week program. Through experience I found that this format is what the kids are use to and do best with, so I keep the structure the same - but change the content!

Curriculum...

Weekends: My First Look - reThink Group (Northpoint Church - Atlanta, GA)

Mid-Week: We write our own mid-week curriculum (I write the take home (discipleship) curriculum and then write four activities for each week along with a large group teaching time.)

Structure...

Preschoolers can't read, or sometimes even recognize numbers - BUT they do know their four primary colors! So the entire program centers around 4 colors (Blue, Green, Red, Yellow) Each center has a specific bin labeled with the color. The bins sit on corresponding mats in the classroom which help the children know where to go next. Once at the center, the children stay on the mat for the entire 10 minutes, unless an activity requires them to leave the mat.


How do kids know which group they're in?

During check-in there is a sheet of labels with a number and a color box on each label. We print a sheet for each service and as each child checks in they are given one label. This label tells the child which color mat they will start on when it is time for Small Groups - leaders then direct them to the next mat (always in the same order - Blue to Green to Red to Yellow). The number on the label matches bins along the wall where each child can place their stuff. The children are able to match the number on their tag with the number on the bin ... and leaders are always there to help if they have a little trouble!


Basic Schedule

Check-in/Free Time
8:45-9:10 (15 minutes before service and 10 minutes into service)
Clean-Up
9:10-9:15
Large Group
9:15-9:35 (Worship and a teaching time)
Center Rotation #1
9:35-9:45
Center Rotation #2
9:45-9:55
Center Rotation #3
9:55-10:05
Center Rotation #4
10:05-10:15
Snack/Pick-Up
10:15-end of service

Large Groups = 20 minutes
Small Groups = 40 minutes
Transitions = Approx: 20 minutes

Friday, August 1, 2008

Camp ... and ... Marshmallows!

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Our overnight, elementary camp is next Monday thru Thursday! These camps are always a ton of fun and a great time to be away and just enjoy a great time at camp! This year will be heading about an hour north to a camp that has allowed us to rent out their entire place.

I'm even more excited for camp after I got these in the mail yesterday...



I know, I know - they're JUST marshmallows...but these are corn free ... all sugar and no HFCS! Can't wait for S'mores next week :-)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Activity Centers - The Why?

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I get this question a lot ... Why use activity centers?

Here's a couple reasons...

1. Consistency/Predictability

Having the same structural format from week to week provides the consistency that preschool aged children need. 3, 4, and 5 year olds want to feel in control of their world, even though they have very little control or choices - however their ability to "know" what is going to happen next gives them the feeling of control that they need! Each week the kids rotate in the same order of colors - thus, children always know where they're going to next, even though they don't know what they will experience in that center - thus keeping things new and exciting each week!

2. Small Groups

Traditional small groups can be difficult in the preschool age group. However, there is still a need for children to interact and learn in small groups of children! Thus, the activity center format breaks down the entire group of children into four smaller groups - allowing each of the children to experience the centers and have the opportunity to connect with their leaders in each area.

3. Hands-On Experience

Preschoolers learn through their senses! When the children in a room are broken down into four small groups we are able to provide so many more experiences than can be provided in a large group setting! Feeling sand or making animal tracks in play-doh may not be possible with 30, 3 year olds ... but when there are 7-8, 3 year olds in your group it becomes a much more enjoyable experience where the children are able to learn and connect the activity with the lesson!

4. Organization

Ultimately, having the same structure from week to week provides organization to the classroom. Leaders know what they can expect each week coming into the classroom - there are 4 centers which take 40 minutes (10 minutes each) and a large group time. The things within the centers switch each week, but that's it - thus there are no surprises!

Stay tuned for ... The How!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Life's Markers

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There's a picture that sits on my desk - its a picture of me and two boys. Those boys are part of a story - a "marker" in my life. Each time I see the picture it reminds me of how precious life is and how important it is to take time for people. Markers in life change us forever. Whether a joyous occasion or tragic event, they mark us, scar us, change us and continue to shape us into the person that God wants us to be.

January 3rd, 2007 became a marker in my life. That night I stood in the ICU at a hospital in Ohio with a 5-yr old wrapped tightly around my neck. We were there that night to say goodbye to his mother - a long time friend and fellow servant. The images are vivid, the memories clear - it is a night that has forever changed me and one that I will never forget.

There were the ups and downs of a nearly 9-month battle with gallbladder cancer - that became a brain tumor - the experimental treatments, the successes and the failures. That night has become a marker in my life - a "brick." It has forever changed me and caused me to look at life differently than I ever have in the past.

Time heals, but I'm certain that the images and memories will never fade - things like that just don't.

Ministering to the "new" Norm

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In 1986 my family was in a minority group - my mom found herself with two small children, living in a world made for 2-parent homes. At the time we were "different," I grew up in a world where nearly everyone had a dad and a mom at home - in fact, I only remember 2 other families who were also in our situation. Today though, my situation, my background has become the norm in America. So, how to we minister to this new "norm"? Here's a couple things that I've learned over the years from first-hand experience...

1. Remember that Father/Son and Mother/Daughter events are difficult when there's only a mom or a dad in the home - be flexible and provide opportunities where a Father can attend with a son or a daughter or where a Mother can attend with a son or a daughter.

2. Be conscious of their situation - word questions and conversation carefully - showing that you are aware of their situation, thus showing the child you know them, but not focusing on their situation - build a relationship with them and be consistent - children may struggle to trust adults because they have experienced a parent leaving the home.

3. View your ministry as weekend to weekend. While keeping attendance is a part of ministry - don't use it as a reward or a point system - children who spend every other weekend with another parent will always be at a disadvantage and may not feel part of the program. When activities build upon one another or stretch across a couple weeks a child who can only be there a couple weekends a month is immediately disconnected from your ministry.

Ultimately, encourage, encourage, encourage - often the stresses at home cause kids in this situation to grow up well before their time - they take on added responsibilities and worry about things that children should never need to even think about. Don't judge, let them be kids - allow them to find a few minutes of respite while in your care, just as their dad or mom is doing in the adult service!

Want to read more about ministering to children in these and similar situations? Check out... When Families Fall Apart by Linda Sibley.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Journey

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I read this statement on a blog I came across a few months ago. The person who wrote this has been through a TON of stuff during this past year - yet this statement struck a cord for me - because its not just true of their journey - its true of mine and yours as well.

"To change any part of the journey would mean to change the entire journey."

Think back over the story that God has been writing - the story of your life. If you changed any part of that journey you would change the entire journey. There are things in my past I wish I would have never done, that would have never happened, or that I wish I would have done - yet to go back and change those things - would change the very person who I am today. I think its a good reminder through the good and the bad times that God is using them to continue writing our story, to continue shaping us, and to continue helping us to become more and more like Him.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Story from South Dakota...

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While in South Dakota I shared about how mission trips with kids and teens are really about all the teachable moments that arise during them! Here's a cool story about one of these moments while I was in South Dakota.

On Friday, we arrived in White Clay, Nebraska and immediately got to work on several different tasks. I found myself and two teens in a garden. Now, let's take a sideroad for a moment...below is the "garden" I thought we were going to be weeding with hoes...

...it looked like a small, bordered garden - between the three of us I thought surely we could have this finished and looking nice in about an hour's time - that was until Bruce, the 555 Ministry Leader kept walking...right past the "garden"!

And walking, and walking, and walking ... until our view opened up to this...

THE REAL GARDEN! At this point I was thinking about how much harder the task ahead had just become, but we got to work and began weeding the garden row by row - taking a quick break each time we would complete a row! About the third row in I heard one of the teens say..."I hate weeds, why do we have to have them anyway?" Well, this led to a conversation about Adam and Eve, Creation, Sin, the things that changed when sin entered the world, and about Heaven and being restored with Christ. Questions abounded and conversation went on and on as we talked about these things all because of a simple garden, overrun with weeds. Even in the midst of all the hard work I know that I will never look at a garden overrun with weeds the same again, nor will these teens. Forever I, and hopefully they too, will see a weedy garden as a result of sin coming into the world and our separation from Christ, which can only be restored through our relationship with Him.

To today's generation hands on experience means so much more than reading something in a book or hearing it - obviously the teens I was with didn't remember that weeds and toilsome work were because sin entered the world, but through their experience and conversation in the garden that day, I'm not sure they'll ever forget the lesson they learned!

Brookside Mission Trip

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I spent a few days in downtown Indianapolis a couple weeks ago with a team of 11 others. We worked with the Brookside Youth Program while there! The team read with the kids in the program, joined them in their daily activities and even had a cookout for many of the staff who work there each day one afternoon! Take a look at this video to see more about the trip!


video

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Busy Month, BUT A New Look!

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It's been quite awhile since I've seen most of you and even longer since I've blogged! Hopefully this weekend we'll be able to reconnect and catch up on life! I'm looking forward to seeing all of you and the preschoolers!

As you've probably noticed ... my Blog looks quite a bit different! From the main page by clicking on resources you'll be able to find information about the upcoming weekend, monthly curriculum themes and anything else specific to the Preschool Ministry here at Northview! The Photos link will take you to another page with photos from events, mission trips, and even some of my favorite photos that I've taken over the years! Finally, on the main page you'll find general information about preschoolers, preschool ministry, thoughts, and general things that go along with life as a Preschool Director!

I hope you enjoy the new look and find it useful!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

South Dakota - Day 8

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We arrived home in Indy late this afternoon! To say the least, I think everyone is pretty exhausted!

I had the opportunity to sit down today with the members of the team and ask them about their experiences on this trip, what God had taught them, and their favorite parts of the trip. Their answers were amazing - from meeting new friends to learning that there's a big world out there - everyone learned so much and did such a great job!

What impressed me the most though was that everyone's favorite part of the trip - was the most difficult part of the trip. The overnight trip on Friday and Saturday to White Clay, Nebraska left quite a lasting mark with each person. Being able to be there and minister in a difficult environment was amazing, but what was more amazing was the response of everyone - even the youngest members of the team. I watched in awe as 12 and 13 year olds sat down with homeless people who looked tough and scary, yet opened up so much as the kids began to talk with them and share stories about life. Everyone was deeply impacted by this time over lunch on Friday.

To say the least, we shared life this past week with some wonderful people in Rapid City and with each other. Lasting relationships were built and a deep impact was made in each person's life. I could not be more proud of the team that I got to serve alongside this past week - from the way that they took in new friends and showed love to everyone they met to the way that they were willing to do whatever was asked of them - everything came together and made up a great week of ministry.

Each of us this week had the opportunity to grow more in our faith by hands on experience. It created some great conversation time while we were working and many opportunities for teachable moments along the way. This past week I had the privilege to work alongside a group of people who are willing to live lives that are owned by God!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

South Dakota - Day 7

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We packed up and left White Clay early this morning. On our way back we took the scenic route through the Badlands. It was amazing to see - we even stopped and walked around a little! This afternoon we helped the local YMCA with setup for a banquet. After dinner tonight we'll be heading back over there to bring everything back to the church. Right now we're getting cleaned up, resting, and packing! We'll be heading home tomorrow!

I can't say enough how amazed I have been with this group of teens. They haven't complained all week! Instead, they've worked very hard and done whatever they were asked to! God has really been working in each of our lives and I know that they will be excited to share the things that they've learned when they arrive in Indy tomorrow!