For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
Luke 19:10

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Moms and Tots Program - Pennsauken, NJ

Susie Curran, in fellowship at the Pennsauken Gospel Hall, New Jersey, kindly responded to our request for a report on the Moms and Tots program. If you want to learn more about the program, you can email her by clicking on her name.

Moms and Tots is a preschool program which teaches children an educational concept through Bible stories. The ages range from infancy to age 5. We began our program in Pennsauken approximately eight years ago. The desire was that children from the community would be able to attend a "Bible Based" story hour, along with our own children.

We wanted the Moms and Tots program to reach out to stay-at-home moms in the neighborhood with a view to developing contacts for further gospel work. We have advertised in the local paper and have also taken invitations door to door when distributing Seed Sower texts. Many of the local Christians with small children have come and they have invited their neighbors and friends to come. This has been an avenue for them to share the Lord with their friends as well.

A Typical Session
Our general structure of the program schedule is the following: Songs, Introduce the Concept of the Day, Bible Lesson, Craft and Snack. We have taught various themes. Some examples are: colors, numbers, shapes, feelings, road signs, etc.

We are pleased that the Moms and Tots program is getting the Gospel into these little minds as well as into their homes. Each week a packet of papers is sent home with the children consisting of:
• a copy of our story,
• a coloring page from story,
• the new song of the week, and
• a memory verse.

Children are rewarded each week with a small prize if they know their verse upon returning! This is a great avenue to reach parents as well, as they must stay for the entire hour. 

Three Sessions a Year
We usually run three sessions a year: winter/spring (late January to the end of April); a summer session (4 weeks in June); and a fall session (late September to November). We use the main auditorium for singing and the lesson and the side annex for crafts and snack. Our program outgrew the downstairs of the building.

We would love to see more families coming to regular Gospel Meetings, etc. In this area, many of these families go to their own church on Sunday so the day is already scheduled for them with ‘church’ activities.

Moms and Tots has been a blessing to our local assembly in so many ways. This is not a program that can be run by one person. There are approximately six older women who help with many aspects of the program. One person checks the children in; another is there to help get coats off; another helps with the snack set up and clean up; another helps with craft preparations before hand; and another is there to set up before we arrive, etc. Each one has taken an ownership in the program and feels a sense of being needed and appreciated. It has fostered a nice fellowship between the Christian sisters who are involved.

Another benefit of the program is that the moms have made new friends and built friendships that have extended beyond the Moms and Tots program. For example, when one of the older sisters fell and sustained injuries, the ladies involved in the program wanted to do something for her which included sending her meals, money, gift cards, flowers, etc. This was an amazing spirit of love!! Personally speaking, it has been a real blessing in my life!

Starting a Program
If you are interested in starting such a program, pray about it first. This is not a one person venture so others must be supportive and willing to be involved. Be sure you have the volunteers to help you get started. Involving others promotes ‘inclusion’ and allowing others to help is such a blessing to all!

Initially you could start with a short 8 week session with something simple such as colors. Have your stories, crafts, snacks all planned out ahead of time. I find it takes me about three hours of preparation time before each session. Variation from week to week in how you teach is important. I use the Power Point program, flannels, plastic figures, acting out stories, etc. It keeps the program fresh! And be sure to bounce ideas off others who are running a similar program. For more information on others who are running this program you can contact me.

Remember, you are also working with infants and toddlers so tasks need to be appropriate. We always encourage the Moms of newborns to come even if it is only to socialize with other moms. Before long their little ones are ready to clap, sing, and listen with us! This program overall is summed up by saying, "It's a great way to connect to Moms and their little ones." We’ve had all backgrounds of life come to the program and many have commented how their kids still walk around the house singing the songs from Moms and Tots. The Word of God is powerful!

Submitted by: Susie Curran, Cherry Hill, New Jersey

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