At St. Dunstan’s Church we offer a variety of ministries for children from birth through 5th grade: Sunday School, Children’s Liturgy (kid’s church), Children’s Special Events (e.g. Nativity Pageant), Children & Youth Choirs, Sacrament of Holy Baptism, GRACE (program for Special Needs children), and Nursery Childcare. The purpose of Children’s Ministries is to support your family as you bring up your child in the Christian faith. We support your effort to:
- Bring your child to church to worship God;
- Teach them about the Bible;
- And to help lead your children into a closer relationship with Jesus Christ.
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (Sunday School)
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program is an alternative approach to religious formation of children. Inspired by the teaching principles of Maria Montessori, the program seeks to reveal the deep need present in each child to be in relationship with God. Central to the Good Shepherd program is the Atrium classroom where children connect with church life through role play, and use models to explore Bible stories. One of our St. Dunstan’s Teacher/ Catechists explains about the atrium:
“It is wonderful to see the pride the children have in their room and the respect they have for their special area, called the atrium. This is the place where they can talk to God in their hearts and minds and God can talk to them, as they learn. Our room is set up with an altar that is their size, so they can experience the things they see in church first-hand through hands-on experience and learn the meaning.”
Some of the things you notice in the Atrium classrooms are: Soft lighting, candles, quiet voices, freedom of movement, meditative work, and careful handling of materials.
Sundays include a presentation (lesson) in which the Catechist presents a new Christian message. Sunday presentations end with prayer. Children are encouraged to offer prayers, aloud or in their hearts.
Presentation Materials in Level One Atrium (age 3-5)
- Basket of Bibles in different languages
- Child-sized Altar
- Resurrection model and figurines Wooden
- Liturgical calendar
- Prayer Table
- Model & figurines of The Last Supper
- Topographical Map of Israel
- Baptism materials
Presentation Materials in Level Two Atrium (grades 1st-3rd)
- Prayer Journals
- Time line of the Kingdom of God
- Wooden books of the Bible
- 3-D Model of Jerusalem during Holy Week
- Model of Parable of Good Samaritan
- Pin maps of Israel in Jesus’ Time
- Miniature environments representing parables and Biblical stories
Club45 (4th and 5th grade Sunday School)
“Club 45” is Sunday School for our Fourth and Fifth graders. We use a variety of curricula to study the Bible and how it relates to their daily lives, such as “The Story” by Max Lucado, and “Dr. Jones and the Secret of the Lost Keys” the life of Moses with an Indiana Jones flair. Throughout the year, the children participate in a variety of Outreach Projects to help others in the community. This year they created Christmas cards and Easter cards for our elderly parishioners, which were mailed out to these shut-ins.
Toddler Sunday School
Sunday School for children age 2. Every Sunday the children learn about one story from the Bible. To help them learn, the kids enjoy Bible story time, crafts, & coloring sheets to match the Bible story, and snacks (typically apple juice boxes & teddy grahams).
God Rejoices for Adults and Children with Exceptional needs. This year-round Sunday morning program is held from 9:00 am – 11:00 am. GRACE Family Ministry provides an appropriate worship and learning atmosphere for children with special needs – while providing their parents and family the opportunity to worship and serve in other ministries on Sunday mornings. GRACE is available during our 9 am worship services and our Sunday School hour. A team of church volunteers and paid staff provide supportive and caring experiences for the special needs children. GRACE ministries is equipped to serve children with mild to moderate disabilities. The mission of GRACE ministry is to share God’s love with children who have special needs, and to enable them to become an active part of God’s family.
At St. Dunstan’s, we strive to help our children to understand our lessons and prayers, as well as to learn the meaning woven into all aspects of our church service. A large congregational service geared towards adults can be overwhelming to smaller children. We offer Children’s Liturgy during the 9:00 traditional service in the Nave and the 9:01 Contemporary Service in the Parish Hall. This “kid’s Church” is for children ages 3 through 2nd grade. Children leave the service before the Bible readings, exiting with their adult Liturgy Team leaders to the Bentley Education Center. Children’s Liturgy is an age-appropriate simplified version of our service: lessons, kid’s sermon, prayers, offering, and peace. The children rejoin their families midway through the service just after the Sermon and Announcements in time to have communion with their parents.
We provide a caring environment for infants through age five that is staffed with professional childcare workers. Personal pagers alert parents when they are needed. The Nursery is open Sundays from 8:30am – 12:15pm during the 9:00 and 11:00 Sunday morning services. The nursery is located in the north end of the Bentley Education Center (BEC). Childcare is also provided for other services and events, such as Sunday Night Special Services and programs.