If you were to walk down the elementary hallways of Crossing Kids on a Sunday morning, you would see a flurry of activity and little bodies hard at work. In one room, kids dress up in character to act out a bible story. Next door, kids take photographs to capture the morning’s scripture that will eventually come together as a music video. Across the hall, kids construct models using foam and diagrams from a study bible. Still another group plays a version of the game “Twister” to uncover clues to the bible story. A few kids meet with leaders out in the hallway to share what they have been writing and drawing in their prayer journals. Though diverse, all the activities going on connect and reinforce one biblical topic to draw kids’ hearts out for Christ. All elementary children will rotate through each activity over a period of five weeks, therefore learning about and mentally reinforcing the Biblical topic through a variety of methods.
This is the heart of the workshop model in Crossing Kids.
Merriam-Webster defines a workshop as “a series of classes in which a small group of people learn the methods and skills used in doing something.” So, why workshops in Crossing Kids?
There are three things about a workshop that are important:
1. A workshop is a series of classes. In Crossing Kids, we run a workshop rotation for 5 weeks, therefore engaging kids in a single idea across a variety of experiences. Kids learn best when they are immersed in a topic and can revisit an idea several times to make connections.
2. A workshop involves a small group of people. Our 4th value in Crossing Kids is relationships. We want kids to work together, to share ideas, to talk about how the Bible applies to their life, to be vulnerable with one another. By participating in small groups in workshops, we give kids the opportunity to consistently go deep in their community.
3. A workshop involves learning methods and skills to do something. We want kids to learn what faith in Christ looks like, how we should pursue knowing Him through the Word, and have their hearts draw out to follow Him their entire lives. Workshops are about much more than just imparting knowledge and facts. Rather, workshops engage kids though experience. The learning theory of constructivism states “people produce knowledge and form meaning based upon their experiences.” Workshops strive to draw kids’ hearts out for God as they apply, meditate on, and experience His truth through diverse learning experiences. Through workshops, we want to equip kids to read the Bible and apply it’s meaning to their lives. We want kids’ minds, hands and hearts to be engaged each week as they learn about God.
Workshops also strive to meet the unique needs of children and adhere to Gardner’s Theory of Multiples Intelligences (which I previously posted about here and here). In short, we believe that children learn in a variety of ways and are unique in how they process and apply information. Some children love to make up stories where as others would rather work with technology or use their body to dance or play a game. We want to engage all parts of children’s’ minds – that’s why the workshop model works so well.
In Crossing Kids, we always want to teach in light of this question: “How do kids learn best?”
To sum up, we believe kids learn best:
- when they are immersed in a single concept or topic of a period of time
- in small community groups where they can discuss, share, and work out ideas together
- when they are engaged through hands-on experience
- when they are in process (because learning takes time!)
This is why Crossing Kids places such value in the workshop approach. It is a joy to see kids go deep in their learning and see their hearts and affections drawn out for Christ in the process. May God be glorified as we teach and learn and grow and process together in Crossing Kids.