Families with rising kindergartners are in shock. They are shocked their baby is old enough for school, may be riding a bus, and will be spending a long day away. These amazing families are wondering who their little one will sit by, have lunch with, and play with on the playground. We want to make this milestone a smooth one on Sunday morning especially if their kindergartner will be transitioning from the nursery into Children’s Ministry.
In the local church where I serve, I’m responsible for kindergarten through fifth grade. Moving from the nursery into a more formal Sunday school setting involves many more children and movement among spaces. The best way for this transition to be smooth for parents and children is to offer the Faith Milestone: I Can Go To Sunday School. This Faith Milestone takes place the week before Promotion Sunday, immediately after all Sunday services. It’s calm, quiet, and everything is still set up.
We meet in the Children’s Welcome Center since that is where they will begin and end their Sunday experience from this point on. We introduce the family to the self-check in kiosks and explain the security stickers/tags because Nursery has been manned-check in. Their amazing Sunday School teachers are present and introduce themselves.
We walk through a Sunday morning by moving first to their Sunday school room for small groups and the large group worship space. The children walk on the stage and touch things that are new. Parents and families are in-tow. We walk to the bathrooms and the water fountain, then return to the Sunday school room and sit at a chair and circle up to sing a song.
We return to the Children’s Welcome Center for the end of Sunday school, and then ring the bell which lets them know we are gathering to move to the Sanctuary for big church. We enter the Sanctuary just like we would if they stayed for Children’s Church and sit in the front pews. We look around us and talk about what we see and hear. We chat. We stand up for singing and we move to where we’d sit for the Children’s Moment, then walk as we would be dismissed on a Sunday morning returning to the Children’s Welcome Center for water and snack.
This precious time ends in prayer and with two gifts:
1. A 5×7 paper-framed picture of Jesus for each child (and any siblings who attend), and
2. A copy of “Little Steps Big Faith: How the Science of Early Childhood Development Can Help You Grow Your Child’s Faith” by Dawn Rundman for parents
How do you help families transition from the Nursery to Sunday school?
“When your child learns that church is a place where they are embraced by members of the whole body of Christ who love them dearly, they can make deeper associations with God’s tender love for them.” – Dawn Rundman from Little Steps Big Faith