During the winter the religious education programs in our congregation are a beehive of activity. There are organized curricula, schedules to follow, special events, and lots of children and volunteers.
And then comes summer. The tempo shifts.
Throughout the school year our children’s RE is a multi-age one room program, and this summer we’ll be adding the middle and high school ages into our multi-age experience. After the Message For All Ages, children over 3 years old, will congregate on the story rug to practice a mindful meditation story (and perhaps some yoga), then move onto Kid’s Club where the kids play games and create, and then return to the story rug for our chalice lighting and joys and concerns, while enjoying a light snack.
Last year was the first year we offered summer RE for our middle and high school children. Although most of our teens attended sporadically due to summer commitments, it was great for them to have a place to be during those months. So, this summer they’ll join their younger counterparts for a bit of multi-aged fun.
Why? When I witness the cooperative attitude of our kids, the peer interactions that happen naturally and frequently, and the joy expressed by the children, I know that this is a powerful, respectful way to engage children. Rather than sorting them into age groups, research that I have found has been favorable about a multi-age group. You’ve seen it happen among family cousins, neighborhood friends, and siblings. My children, at age 12, still can’t wait to spend time with their now college age cousins, and this has been happening since they were old enough to sit up. Since our RE program is a nurturing community of caring, this is an opportunity for our older kids to practice that care, and for our younger children to reap the benefits of spending time with their older peers.
We begin Kid’s Club on June 19.