|Director of Education and Special Programs|
A Message from the Director of Education and Special Programs:
Welcome to our Christian Education portion of this site. Woodside Church has a wonderful educational program that gives children and youth a chance to learn how to grow spiritually and emotionally, and to help them show off their God-given talents. Our kids come from various backgrounds, so it’s important that we try to reach out to each of them as individuals, as well as a group. We do this with the guidance and wisdom of the Lord.
Let’s start the tour of our Christian Education Department in our fantastic NURSERY that is set up just for the youngest members of our congregation. It’s packed full of all kinds of fun toys for the little darlings to play with, as well as things to stimulate their ever-growing minds. The nursery is also equipped with cribs and walkers, as well as essentials in case their diaper bags are unavailable. And, of course, there are always snacks and juice boxes on hand. We always have two volunteers who are just waiting to care for your precious bundle of joy while you enjoy the service, with a phone available at all times to keep in constant contact with you or the Christian Education Director in case of an emergency.
Next we move on to our ELEMENTARY SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASSES. Our lower elementary class is designed for children from pre-k to 2nd grade, and our upper elementary class is 3rd – 6th grades. All kids in these grades start out in the Sanctuary with their parents/adults to share in our Children’s Moment, then, they go to their own classes for Bible lessons, activities, and, of course, snacks. This gives them a chance to learn about our Lord in an atmosphere that is comfortable for them.
Then, there’s our 7th – 12th GRADERS. This group of young people join the adults in the worship service, and also participate in the service itself as readers and ushers. After worship they have their own Sunday School class called TEEN FORUM, which runs from 11:30-12:30. They take what they’ve learned in worship and discuss it among themselves with the leadership of their teacher. After Teen Forum they have their youth group, which they’ve named WSYG (WOODSIDE YOUTH GROUP). This runs from 12:30-2 P.M. During WSYG they might play games, discuss current topics, go on outings, work on projects, or just hang out together. We try not to structure this too much because this is their time to “chill” after a long morning of worship and learning. Every youth in this group works diligently to serve our church and community in a positive way, while trying to pave their own spiritual path on the journey to adulthood. They welcome all newcomers into their group with open arms and open hearts, and they try to treat everyone with respect and with the feeling that they have always been a part of the group.
We also have a weekly program that is open to all school-age children called WONDERFUL WEDNESDAYS that, of course, meets every Wednesday from 4:30 – 6:30. We start with CRAFTY CHRISTIAN KIDS, appropriately named because kids are just that, crafty! They first sing songs together led by our music director, Dr. Quincy Dobbs, then it’s all about making things. But, they aren’t just limited to conventional crafts. One week might be an open-ended art project, the next might be creating something fun and nutritious in our kitchen, we might make a scrapbook, or learn how to do conflict resolution. The opportunities for diverse creative arts are endless, and so are our ideas to help not only create something new and unique, but also to open our children’s minds to the many different concepts of what “art” can be to all of us. If your child/children like to create things, even if they like to create a mess, this is an excellent opportunity for them. After CCK, which runs for about 50 minutes or so, they have a break to enjoy a healthy snack together. Then they gather up their homework, which we encourage everyone to bring, to start our STAR PROGRAM, which stands for Striving Toward Academic Recognition. We always have several tutors/mentors ready to assist anyone who needs help and each child receives a star for attendance, attitude, and academics. Then, every other week, depending on how many stars they get, they’re able to choose school supplies from one of two treasure boxes. Our Wonderful Wednesdays runs from mid-September until mid-November when we start rehearsals for our Christmas Pageant in December. Then we take a few weeks off and start up again in mid-January and go until May when we start rehearsals for our Christian Education Sunday in June. Everyone is invited to participate in this wonderful program whether you’re a member of Woodside or not.
All of our teachers and volunteers are members of Woodside Church and are dedicated to teaching the word of God while allowing each child to grow at his/her own pace with encouragement and support every step of the way.
We have a group of committed people on our Christian Education Committee who meet monthly to plan our course of action with our children. We try to provide fun, educational and spiritual ideas to intrigue as well as inspire our kids and adults to grow in Christian faith. We are always looking for new and innovative ways to uphold the principles set forth by God and the church in our education program.
As the Director of Christian Education, I have made a commitment to serve the Lord and Woodside Church to the best of my abilities. I feel honored and blessed to have been given this opportunity to show my faith in the Lord and to use my God-given talents in such a way that can only benefit me, and, hopefully, all of you, too.
As you can see, Woodside is very dedicated to the ministry of children everywhere. I pray that you and your family will consider joining us in worship and take advantage of our great C.E. program. Please allow us to nurture your child’s spirit while you’re nurturing yours. You are always in good hands at Woodside, because we’re in God’s hands. God Bless You all, and in Jesus’ name I thank you.
Carol Donofrio, Director of Christian Education and Special Programs