“To be the Church that God is calling us to be, we felt like we needed to create a space that would really connect with our kiddos,” explained Rev. Josh Lue, senior minister at First Christian Church in Great Bend. “ Our kids are now so excited about Sunday school they are dragging their parents, and not the other way around.”
Visitors are now greeted by life-sized elephants, dairy cows, hippos, a moose and other smaller creatures as they enter the Noah’s Ark themed room. This and a warm coral and blue sunset over water illuminate the once bare white walls of the new children’s wing.
The project is part of a complete revamp of the children and youth program at First Christian Church. The hiring of Children and Youth Pastor Sue Bishop and a newly adopted curriculum make up the other two legs of the platform, said Dena Hiss, Christian education chair.
“We began rearranging classroom layout, addressing child safety, researching curriculum, and dreaming about decorating with a ‘wow’ factor to help immerse children in another world,” Hiss said.
For children in grades K-6, First Christian will provide a rotational model style curriculum. It allows children to become immersed in the Bible through hands-on experience, rather than through lecture.
Bishop has taught and trained other instructors the rotation model curriculum for 12 years. The children move each Sunday to different themed rooms such as science laboratory, cooking, games, art, musical movement, bible skills, storytelling, and movie theatre. The curriculum model is based on the multiple intelligence theory by Howard Gardner which helps each child learn no matter their particular learning style.
“We’ve known for years that everyone doesn’t learn the same way,” Bishop said. “By offering workshops that immerse the children in several ways of teahing, they are better able to retain what they’ve learned.”
The newly painted decor doesn’t end at the children’s classroom. Further down the hall into the music and Bible skills room awaits a bright music factory ending with bubbly words stating peace, love, and joy, where children will learn spiritual lessons through musical movement and Bible skills, Bishop said.
The church nursery was also decorated by the artist from Worlds of Wow in a ‘Jonah and the Whale’ underwater theme including brightly colored octopus, dolphins, schools of fish, and sea foliage swimming on the walls.
First Christian Church is located on 5230 Broadway and K-96 and is of the Disciples of Christ denomination.