What we do in there is based in that book, some of my own tweaks, and experience with my own children who are in the program. Here is what we do in the hour of time we have on Wednesday Evenings:
We begin our class with each child sitting in our Children's Church room in a circle on a carpet square. I welcome the children and then we go around the circle allowing every child to share their "favorite" thing of the week. The set-up is that when we speak of our favorite thing that we are considering this a blessing from God. So we begin each week sharing God's blessings in our life with one another.
Next we dim our lights and I ask the kids to "come to the quiet." We will remain quiet, without shuffling feet, making noises, laughing for 30 seconds. Our goal for that 30 seconds is to listen for God. The truth is that we always do 60 seconds, they just think we only do 30. There was this one time when a 3rd grade boy in our class tooted loudly during our "come to the quiet" time. One of my 4 year old energetic and talkative boys sitting next to him immediately giggled and then immediately held it under control (better than an adult would have done). It was an amazing testimony to the reverence in the room.
Next we take a "field trip" to our church's prayer wall. At the front of our church we have dedicated a wall in one of the hallways as our "Prayer Wall." It is painted a different color and has permanent markers available for people to write their prayers and prayer requests to God so others can come by and pray for them. The class walks (sorta) to the wall and we take their requests. Those who are of age to write, put their requests on the wall and those who cannot read and write yet, we listen to their requests and then put them on the wall. In just 10 weeks the wall is fuller than all of last year. This is probably their favorite part of class.
Next we have our lesson time. I first read our text two times through and then ask them what they heard from the reading. Some responses are straightforward, some are from left-field, and some are deep.
Then I usually bring a box with some objects of illustration for our lesson. I let them guess what may be in the box and then bring it out. We talk about the objects and how they apply to our lesson. The next part varies from week to week. I may just ask "I wonder..." questions (see Suzetta Nutt's chapter in Along the Way) or I may have them tell the story (we did this with the story of The Good Samaritan) or we do an activity that makes the story come to life.
The last thing we do is invite one boy and one girl up to the middle of the circle to be introduced to our class. This idea is because our theme for the year is knowing the story of God and His people, so we are getting to know each other. We ask six questions and they each answer them. 1. What's your favorite color? 2. What is your full name? 3. How old are you and where do you go to school? 4. What is your favorite thing about God? What is your favorite thing about church? What is your favorite thing you do to help others? (the last 3 questions hit at our church's mission)
When we first began the kids were begging to be let out to play on playground. This had become a normal thing for them to do in the last 15 minutes of class time. I'm not sure if it is the current weather or what we are doing in class, but they haven't asked in 4 weeks to go outside. We did add an extra thing recently to motivate some of our kids to a better behavior (it is Wednesday and this type of class is more meditative). We added giving out two awards at the end; leadership award and servant award.
This has become a holy time for me on Wednesdays. The Wednesday night is hectic for me personally sometimes and there is a lot going on at our church that evening with a meal and adult class, but once our class starts it is absolutely wonderful!
As Suzetta is quoted as saying in Along the Way: "Respect the text and respect the children"
Am I insane?