Resources for Working with
children & Young People
We hope that you find the resources below of help.
Please note that Derby Diocesan Board of Education does not accept responsibility for any of the information contained in the website links provided.
RESOURCES FOR YOUNG CHILDREN
The church welcomes children from their earliest days, aiming to help parents/carers to feel relaxed and able to join with the worship when they attend with babies and toddlers. It is not possible for all churches to provide all the suggested facilities below, but a friendly welcome and an understanding that sometimes young children are noisy are the most important.
Some suggested provisions:
- a comfortable place in the church for feeding
- a rug somewhere for crawlers
- a place to change nappies
- books and toys which are easily cleaned
- a place to go with a child who needs a break from the service
- a couple of church members to offer help if needed
Church House Publishing has a range of resources for baptisms from cards, books and certificates to a baptism cube which could be a gift for the family.
When the church is approached about a baptism/christening for a baby or child there are a range of ways to engage the child’s carers. The Diocese of Blackburn has many suggestions for resources.
BABIES & TODDLERS
In 2019 (before lockdown) there were more than 89,000 infants baptised in England. It’s been reported that some of the families/households involved were disappointed that the church didn’t keep in touch with them.
Another way is holding seasonal celebrations (Easter, teddy bears’ picnics, autumn treasure hunts etc.) Don’t forget to write up a risk assessment for these events.
In some families grandparents, dads, aunts etc might be the main carer(s) These people might be very grateful to be supported in their task.
YOUNG CHILDREN AND SPIRITUALITY
Young children often take in far more than we think. Two possible ways of introducing them to spiritual truths are:
Diddy Disciples a lovely way of using songs, prayers and actions to help children to take part in worship.
Godly Play uses simple wooden figures to tell Bible stories.
GROWING LINKS WITH FAMILIES & HOUSEHOLDS IN YOUR COMMUNITY
Seasonal Activities These can often be planned to appeal to different age groups e.g. two different Easter Egg hunts, one for toddlers & carers and another for primary age children.
Messy Church HERE is Christ-centred and based on creativity, hospitality and celebration. There are books and resources around a range of themes – seasonal, prayer, worship etc.
Community Fun Events – A celebration specific to your area/church e.g. Saint’s day, a Well Dressing, Scarecrow, Christmas Tree festival etc.
Uniformed groups Beavers, Rainbows, Cubs, Brownies, Scouts and Guides might all be meeting in your area (or church hall!) Does your congregation know and pray for them? Is there something that members of your congregation could offer to share with them? Think about craft, woodwork, local history, hobbies etc.
Faith at Home and Everyday Faith There are resources available on the national Church of England website HERE and the Diocese of Derby website HERE which will give you examples of how Christians live out their faith through the week. Maybe some of your team or young people would like to share their experiences?
Parenting courses &resources HERE There are specialist resources for parents/carers of different age groups.
Table Talk HERE is a resource not just for home use, churches have used these conversation starters at coffee mornings, with church groups, and even in the pub!
Questions to start a discussion. BRF (Bible Reading Fellowship) produces a range of resources & courses to help and encourage. Try 101 Ways to start a conversation with/about God
School Drop off & After School gatherings If your church is close to a school, carers/parents might welcome a sit down, chat and coffee after school drop off. Alternatively, you could think about the other end of the day and offer an after school time to unwind. Maybe a little help with reading and homework might also be welcome. Add some great Christian books and some easy to clean toys for the younger ones.
RESOURCES FOR CHILDREN AS PART oF CHURCH
Children & Spirituality – In the past there has been a tendency for children to simply “be entertained” during the sermon and other parts of the service which might be considered unsuitable for them. Sadly, this attitude doesn’t often help children to grow in their faith or encourage them to play a full role in the life of the church. Below are some ideas for resources which could be helpful. Jesus welcomed children, even when they were noisy! (Matt 21:15)
Children as full members of the church – in many Church of England schools children could be planning and leading collective worship for their peers. Their input is often deeply considered and skilfully led, yet in church when asked to take part, the temptation is to ask them to hold up a picture or read a prayer that an adult has written. Children from all types of schools have skills which they can be invited to use in worship.
See HERE for a thought-provoking article by American, Christina Embree. She draws a distinction between “All Age” worship, which can sometimes aim disproportionally at children and explains how not only is the faith development of children served best by giving opportunity to worship alongside adults.
There are many activities which could work in your church and area:
Outdoor & Forest worship – Suggestions include “Outdoor Church: 20 sessions to take church outside the building for children and families” by Sally Welch & “Wild Worship” by Rachel Summers
Bible Bags and Bible Boxes available to borrow
Godly Play 15 sets available to borrow.
Lego church Children of all ages enjoy creating with Lego. This report HERE tells how one church is using Lego in worship times to engage with their community.
Other help around children and church If your group is of a wide age range, or you have little or no space/resources/leaders – please contact Sarah who will aim to work with you and offer suggestions.
Advice from the Liturgical commission around communion HERE
All Age & Intergenerational worship Information HERE
See below for information on children taking part in Holy Communion
RESOURCES TO GROW LINKS WITH SCHOOLS
You may find the links below useful. Please note Derby DBE does not have any responsibility for the content of these sites.
Experience Events. These are interactive displays which can be set up in your church for primary classes to visit. The diocese has the full range of resources for Experience Christmas, Experience Easter, Experience Harvest, and Experience Pentecost. These sets are often in demand, so do get in touch early to book.
Resource sets for Experience Advent, Experience Lent and Eucharist Journey are due to be completed before the end of October 2022
Open the Book is a resource which enables a small group of adults to share a Bible story at a school assembly or Collective Worship. The children take part and much of the material has now been sympathetically adapted for those of all faiths and none.
Prayer Spaces in Schools have many imaginative and thought-provoking ideas to encourage children to take time out, think and be quiet. They can pray if they wish, there is no insistence or expectation to do so.
Lunchtime and other clubs Ensure you discuss this with the headteacher first. There are many possibilities (craft, book, board games, sport).
FOSTERING CHURCH/SCHOOL LINKS – Some ideas that were well-received in 2021:
“Children’s art work is displayed in church”
“We take cakes to staff”
“We collect and deliver hampers for families in need at Christmas”
“We have a bi-monthly prayer meeting for our schools
“The local Nursery loves to see us – we do stories, music and dancing”
“The Secondary Woodwork students rebuilt our church notice board”
“We’ve had a litter pick around school”
“We organised a Nativity trail”