CHILDREN & FAMILY MINISTRIES
We seek to provide people with opportunities to know God; to experience God's abounding love, and with Christ as our guide, to fellowship with others as we seek, serve, and celebrate. Through our programs, people will explore what it means to be a child of God, and how we might live in such a way that others will come to know Christ. We invite you to step into the story…
On Sunday mornings, we encourage you to worship with us as a family. We offer two services, at 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. Children are very welcome to be a part of the service – we offer activity bags, a children’s bulletin, a children’s lesson, and a supportive congregation. If your child is five or younger, and you feel you would benefit from taking them to the nursery – we do have a Child Care Attendant on staff, and she is in the nursery (Room 204) from 8:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
From 10:00 – 10:15 a.m., take some time with others in the Narthex or Fellowship Hall – coffee and treats are available. Then, children head upstairs. Adults can stay for socializing or education, or go to the nursery to visit and play with other young families.
Our Faith Formation Hour is from 10:15 – 11:00 a.m. Classes for all ages are held throughout the church. We encourage you to explore, to try a variety of things out, and to make yourselves at home. Where do I find these classes?
• Room 202: Preschool (Three and Four Year Olds)
• Room 204: Child Care Room (Fellowship Time for Parents and their Young Children)
• Room 206: Kindergarten Room
• Room 208: First and Second Grade Room
• Room 304: Youth (Middle and High School) Room
• Room 306: Third Grade Room
• Room 308: Fourth and Fifth Grade Room
• Fellowship Hall: Adult Faith Forums are held on the west end of the room, with coffee and treats available for all.
Activities for Children & Families at Minnehaha
Thank you all for a great program year! In the course of the 2016-2017 program year, Minnehaha Children's Ministries reached over 100 children (through Sunday School programming, Wednesday night programming, and Thursday morning playgroup) through the help of over 60 volunteers putting in almost 2000 hours of volunteer time. We stepped into the story: both learning about the story (we're seeking), and also considering how we might be the ones to bring God's love to the world (we're serving and celebrating). The children of Minnehaha: • Created connections with Nokomis Square through Nokomis Connections. • Led us in worship both on Children's Sunday, and through singing throughout the year. • Explored prayer through our Lenten prayer station. • Joined with people of all ages to create Advent illustrations based on Isaiah. • Explored various areas of interest through "Choose Your Own Adventure Days," from crocheting and origami, to dog agility training and creating Bags of Hope, working in the garden, making crafts, and more. • Many participated in our church's clean up day, and worked diligently to clean the classrooms, hallways, and gathering spaces at Minnehaha. • Participated in a workshop (along with their parents) about financial responsibility. • Older elementary students attended the sexuality workshop "My Changing Self" along with peers from Lake Harriet UMC and Richfield UMC. • Worshipped together, learned together, played together, ate together, served together, celebrated together: they stepped into the story to make connections with each other and with the world. • Helped to make the Minnehaha community a better one. I'm proud of all of their growth, of the love that they show each other and the world, and I am so honored to work with the many adults that help make all of this possible. Thank you.
Faith Formation Behavior Policies
When a student is not being respectful of their peers, teacher, or the classroom, one of the classroom leaders will: First: Redirect and instruct them in how behavior needs to change. Second: Contact the hallway support team who will remove the student to a quiet location (Sunday School Resource Room) and give them a chance to refocus before returning to the classroom. Third: Contact Jenia to escort the student to their parents. If behavior needs the third consequence, we will work with the family to help create a better situation. This might include inviting the parent to attend Sunday School with their children, setting up a meeting between the student and their leadership team, and/or any other suggestions that seem appropriate to the situation.
Faith Formation Expectations
We have a wonderful group of children, and an amazing group of volunteers to work with them. In our program, we work to show love and support to each and every person. We strive to model this behavior for children, and work to establish structure and expectations, to create an environment that the children can flourish in. When a child is struggling in our program, we will do our best to redirect them. If, however, we are unsuccessful with this, and their behavior becomes distracting and/or disrespectful towards their peers and/or volunteers, we will involve the parents in coming up with a solution. We appreciate your support in creating a respectful, loving environment, and encourage you to talk with your children about what we can all do to make Sunday School a place where everyone (leaders included) feel welcomed. If there’s anything that you anticipate we can do to improve this experience for your child, please speak with Jenia Strom or with your child’s Sunday School team.
Sunday School Curriculum
This year, we’re using a Sunday School curriculum
published by the SparkHouse! This curriculum follows the lectionary, the schedule that we will also follow in worship. We invite you to stop by and talk to teachers, Jenia, and your children so that you can be sure to continue learning the stories.
Faith Formation at Home
As with any type of learning, 45 minutes a week in Sunday School is not going to make much of an impact unless kids get a chance to keep talking, questioning, and discovering at home. We’ll have the basic schedule posted on the board at the top of the stairs, so you’ll know the scripture kids are looking at for the week.
Here are some resources you might draw from: • www.sparkhouse.org - published by our curriculum publishers • storypath.upsem.edu • aslanslibrary.wordpress.com - book reviews on children’s books that help in faith conversations • www.vibrantfaithathome.org – a variety of resources for families seeking to grow their faith.
Special Events for Families
• Harvest Dinner & Concert
• Halloween Party
• Advent Wreath Making
• Christmas Pageant
• Winter Retreat
• Children’s Sunday
Choose Your Own Adventure (1st – 5th Graders)
On five dates throughout the program year, our First through Fifth graders will have a chance to “choose their own adventure.” They will choose in the weeks beforehand which specialty area they will attend. These activities are wide ranging – including cooking, gardening, knitting, building, origami, Lego play and more - and we’re hoping students get a chance to experience a number of them throughout the year. If you have a special skill/talent that you’d like to offer as a session, please speak with Jenia!
Nokomis Square Connections
Our elementary students will each have a chance this year to connect with Minnehaha members at Nokomis Square Cooperative, the senior living community blocks from our church. Over the course of the year, each class will take on a project to create and deliver to Nokomis Square.
Children 5 & Under: Sunday Morning Childcare
The nursery is located on the second floor. Just go up the stairs, turn right, and go straight to the corner room, 204.
Our childcare attendant will be available weekly to care for your children.
The attendant will be available Sunday mornings from 8:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Your children are always welcome in worship, but they are also welcome in the nursery. Feel free to bring your children (under 5 years of age), to the nursery during worship services and/or during the Faith Formation hour.
All parents of young children (0 - 5 years) are invited to come to the nursery during the 10:00 - 11:00 a.m. hour. We’ll have coffee and treats in the room, and you can visit with each other while your children play in the nursery. Weekly Playgroup on Thursday Mornings Children five and under, and their caregivers, are invited to spend the morning with us! From 9:00 - 11:00 a.m. we gather in the Minnehaha Childcare Room to play, talk, explore, support, and learn together. In good weather, we explore local parks as well. No RSVP required, join our Facebook group or email group to stay on top of location.
Music at Minnehaha
Children at Minnehaha participate in music as part of the Sunday School hour, and occasionally sing in worship.
• Preschoolers - Kindergartners are led by Julia Cook, during the last 10 minutes of Sunday School
• First– Fifth Graders are led by Eric Strom, during the first 15 minutes of Sunday School
Events for the Entire Family
Throughout the year, we have a number of events that we encourage families to participate in.
Looking to serve together as a family?
Consider joining us the fourth Saturday of the month to distribute food at Minneharvest.
Looking for fellowship time?
Consider joining us for one of our evening meals – held occasionally first semester, and then weekly after the holidays. We eat, we play, we visit.
Looking for some time away with your contemporaries?
Consider joining us for one of our Youth Babysitting Nights, the Youth provide childcare for our children, while parents enjoy an evening together.
Looking for a place to call home?
Consider making Minnehaha your church home. We look forward to teaching, discovering, sharing, wondering, hoping, believing, and growing with you and your family.
Let’s step into the story!
For more information on our Sunday School curriculum and resources for families, go here: www.wearesparkhouse.org
Children's Ministries Questions?
If you have questions about any of our programming, please contact Jenia Strom, Coordinator of Children’s Ministries, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 612.721.6231