Room for Kids with Special Needs @ Woodstock City Church

On a recent visit to Woodstock City Church in Atlanta, I was able to get a behind the scenes tour of their room for kids with special needs.  The staff person in the room was super helpful and explained how their program works.  Here are some pics from my visit to their campus.

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The room was clean and organized.  They had several areas for different activities.

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Just like all of their other rooms, they displayed their key words and vision statements for elementary kids.  They displayed crafts and pictures that kids in that room made.

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The variety of textures and seating options helped to include all kids so they could learn in a way that worked for them.  Pictures and words displayed the morning routine to help kids know what to expect.

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They provided areas for kids to socialize in a group or be in a space with less interaction.

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What I loved most about this room was that they still focused on teaching the kids a Bible lesson.  They worked with each child to teach them in a way that worked for them.  They wanted kids to know how much God loves them, and that they were welcome in that space.  This space communicated that someone took time to create a space for kids to learn in a way that works best for them.  When kids with special needs come to Woodstock City Church they try to incorporate them in the elementary classes.  If a child would prefer to be in a room with fewer people, then families have the option to chose this room where they would be more comfortable.  They had another room in their student ministries area as well.  It was great to see that they included all kids even as they got older.

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Elementary Kids Area at Woodstock City Church

Woodstock City Church is a campus of Northpoint Church in Atlanta.  Recently I toured their Elementary Kids area. It was so amazing.  Here are some photos from the tour.

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Celebrating Birthdays in Kids Ministry – an inside look at birthdays at Woodstock City Church

I was so impressed to see what Woodstock City Church does to celebrate birthdays for kids.  The kids look forward to their Birthday all year long so that they can visit the Birthday Cart.  The Birthday Cart is pretty exciting, but it doesn’t compare to the PERSON who is at the Birthday Cart.  I did not find out this person’s name, but he was amazing as he celebrated each child and their birthday.

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His enthusiasm was off the charts as the kids approached the Birthday Cart.  He called them each by name and asked how old they were.  Then he proceeded to do this:

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He had a bucket full of confetti and he piled it on each child.  He threw it in the air & sang the birthday song!  He made each child feel like the most important person on the planet because it was their birthday.

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At the end of the celebration he pulled out a broom and cleaned it all up, so the area was ready for the next child who came to celebrate their birthday, and he treated them in just the same way.

It doesn’t take much to make a kid feel special on their birthday (or on the Sunday closest to their birthday).  A cart with some prizes, a bucket full of confetti, and a very enthusiastic volunteer who is willing to go all out to make each child feel special.

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Here are a few other ideas I picked up from my visit to Northpoint Church:

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Make a sign so that parents and kids know where to go to celebrate birthdays.

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Have stickers or buttons available for kids to wear so that everyone knows it’s their birthday.

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Make sure you have several different prizes for them to choose from.

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Try to find a volunteer who is outgoing and would be willing to be the Birthday Cart Volunteer.  Birthday prizes are fun, but an enthusiastic volunteer is what takes the experience to a whole new level.

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They even had a Birthday Cart in the Preschool Area.  The prizes were age appropriate and someone dressed in a bee costume greeted each birthday child.  This bear can be found in the preschool area at Northpoint Church.

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This is the Preschool Birthday Cart at Woodstock City Church.

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What do you do for birthdays at your church? Maybe one of these ideas will help you take birthday celebrations to a whole new level!

Church Tour – Woodstock City Church – Preschool Area

Recently I went to the “Drive Conference” at Northpoint Church in Atlanta, GA.  It was like drinking from a firehose.  I learned so much and took so many pitures.  I decided to share my info with all of you in hopes that you can learn from them just like I did.

Before the conference began, I had the opportunity to tour Woodstock City Church, and spend a lot of time behind the scenes.  Woodstock City Church is one of Northpoint Church’s campuses.  They use the same curriculum, systems and processes.  Their staff and volunteers were absolutely incredible.  Over the next few posts I will share with you all kinds of things that I learned and show you pictures of some of the things that they do to make their kids ministry awesome!  Today I’m going to show you some of the pics from the Preschool Area, aka, Waumba Land.

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This is the entrance to Waumba Land. (above)

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The view from inside the doors.  Check out this post about Birthdays.

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The hallways in Waumba Land.

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Stollers are ready in the hallway in case they need to evacuate quickly.

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Love that they incorporated 3-D sculptures for the kids to touch as well as murals.

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This interactive feature was a huge hit with the kids.  They would spin the flower and it would make the fish “jump”.  (It made the wheel turn that had fish on it so it looked like they were jumping behind the rock.)

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They bring their preschoolers to one area for Large Group Time.  This place looked fantastic!  More about this in another post.

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Preschoolers sit on a tiered seating area with their small groups.

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I loved how organized their curriulum and supplies were for their toddler program.  It was super easy for any volunteer to know what to do and where to find what they needed.  More on that in another post.

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They had signs in their rooms that clearly outlined expectations for volunteers.  They looked professional and communicated policies in a way that was easy to understand.  Check out this post about Kids Ministry Signs.

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Their preschool classrooms were very organized and only had what was needed in them.  Their curriculum was very intentional about the activities the kids would be doing that day, so they didn’t have a lot of toys to clutter up their space.

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Their nursery rooms were neat and organized and looked like they were ready to care for babies when they arrived.

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Their nursing mother’s room was comfortable for moms.  The wall art communicated the vision for their preschool ministry and the TV allowed them to watch the service while they were there.  They even had a small fridge stocked with bottles of water.  Love the attention to every detail!

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Over the next few weeks I will share more pictures of the things I learned at Woodstock City Church.  I’ll add some links on this page as I add more info.  If you want to know when more posts are added, be sure to sign up with your email address to be notified when a new post is added.

 

Kids Church Reward System

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When I was visiting The Grove Community Church in Riverside, California, I saw a system that they used to help motivate kids to listen & participate.  They used ping pong balls to give to the kids when they brought their Bible, or a friend, etc.  At the end of the service, the kids could put the ping pong balls that they earned into their display box.  The group who filled their box first was rewarded with a pizza party.  I liked that the reward system was visual for the kids, and they worked together to achieve a goal.

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Sandals Church in California – Church Tour

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On a recent trip to California, I went to visit Sandals Church.  This amazing group of people showed us around their building & shared their stories of what they are doing to see people come to know Jesus.  Here are a few things that I learned from our visit with them.

1.  Their average weekend attendance is 5799 people and in 2014 they had 3890 first time attenders.  They run 7 services at 2 locations each weekend.

2.  Their kids and youth area were themed in a way that was appropriate for each age group, yet it all tied into the look of the whole building.

3.  They have some creative people on their kids staff who write their own songs & make videos for their kids worship.  It was fantastic!  (Shout out to Andrew & thank you for giving me a jump drive of your videos at CPC.  You rock!)

4.  They had bulletin board for their volunteers where they communicated “stuff” with their volunteers.

5.  Kids got a button on their birthday (just like at Disney!).