Sunday, January 3, 2010

What's New at STEAM

New Year - new session of STEAM. Kids are already back to school(!), which means we gear up for the SPRING session beginning this Wednesday. (Having returned from Christmas vacation in North Dakota, where my family lives and where it was 30 below the morning I flew back, I love referring to a January event as "Spring Session".)

Lots of the familiar electives will be offered again, and in addition, here's what's new this time around:

Scrapbooking for Remembrance. Remembrance is a common theme in the Old Testament: God commanded the Israelites to remember, and not to forget, his forgiveness and deliverance and provision. We, too, benefit from looking back - or we risk being dragged down in our everyday circumstances, losing perspective. So along with getting kids started on their own scrapbook album, this elective will explore journaling and other reflective practices that are helpful in a robust spiritual life.

The Great Dollars and $ense Challenge. Let's teach kids how to handle money! Let's teach them young the value of dollars and sense, how to save and budget, and how God regards money, which is often the king of this world. In this elective, we've hand-picked from the best financial education lessons we can find for kids and our interactive approach will challenge kids to be wise stewards of the money they now have and will one day have.

Missions Projects. This elective will put kids to work each week on a different project to aid local and oversees missions organizations. As kids work, they'll learn about people with needs and how we can meet those needs.

Model Building. Kids will work in pairs to construct a model of the Israelites' tabernacle, the "house" they built for God while they were wandering in the wilderness after the Exodus. The tabernacle was later built in a more permanent form as the temple, so kids will learn about the priests and their sacrificial duties, the division of the courtyards, the items in the sanctuary, and so on. Great for hands-on learners!

Sewing. This is another one of those electives that came to us - someone wanting to lead offered this as a suggestion, and we agreed. It is, as the name implies, an introduction to sewing, and how to take a project from the concept stages through to completion. Kids will learn how to operate a sewing machine. Because of equipment limitations, we can take a maximum of eight kids, and this elective is already half full.

Sign Language. We offered Sign only once before, and it will return the second six weeks of this session (March-April). Kids will learn the alphabet, numbers, and how to sign basic words and phrases, as well as some special religious signs. I think a course in sign language is great because it opens kids' eyes to the reality that there is a whole segment of society - the deaf community - who are shut out from communicating with everyone except those who can sign. This has a major impact, of course, on whether and how deaf people can attend church.

Juggling. Juggling makes its return, after debuting the second six weeks this fall. Juggling challenges kids' coordination and also teaches them to be patient, to be thankful for what they can do (rather than resentful about what they can't), and to celebrate new accomplishments with one another. We also teach kids how a simple juggling routine can be used to share the gospel.

You can see all of the midweek program electives at our website - click the tab that says "Midweek Program".