A Service for Under 5s
Small children enjoy going along to a structured service; it helps them to know the routines and expectation and it introduces them to the idea of liturgy.
Our pre-school services take place in the church; for small children just being in the church building is an experience - it is one of the largest buildings they know and has a completely different atmosphere to supermarket or swimming pool.
As the children arrive they are able to play with the toys - these have been chosen as part of our Christian play area.
The thinking behind children's areas is here: Children's areas and ideas for toys are here: Toys for under 5s
We begin our service with gathering activities, lighting a candle, finding Bobby Bear, singing: Gathering activities
We tell the story very simply either using Godly Play or Young Children and Worship materials, pictures or puppets. Sometimes the story is interactive.
In December we go outside and find the shepherds on the hillside looking after their sheep or we might wave palms and lay down cloaks for Jesus entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Many of our stories follow the seasons of the church year - Advent, Christmas, Easter and Pentecost.
We may also celebrate festivals such as Harvest and All Saints Day.
Other stories are Biblical: Creation, Noah and the flood, the Parables of the Good Shepherd and the Mustard Seed, the story of Jesus and the children, the stilling of the storm. Depending on the background of the children, we may tell the Baptism story.
We usually have a simple activity that children can choose to do; this may be art and craft but it may also involve going outside to search for green and growing things (the third day of Creation) or playing hide and seek after the story of the Lost Sheep. The children also get another chance to play with the toys.
We come back together for another song and for a time of prayer. The children scribble on their prayer leaves, or tell their parents or carers what they want to say. We read the prayers out and hang them on the prayer tree.
The service finishes with a simple blessing and a big "Amen". Before the children go they are offered a drink and a snack.
Victoria and Sarah