Children & Worship Worship is a program designed to immerse young children in the wonder of worship in an age-appropriate way. Influenced by the philosophy of Maria Montessori, the Children & Worship approach uses storytelling, multi-sensory materials, wondering questions, and creative response time to help children meet and learn about God.
Children & Worship follows the fourfold order of worship used in most Presbyterian churches:
- Gathering of God’s people: children are welcomed into the worship space by a greeter and a storyteller, who invite them to sit in a circle and quiet themselves in preparation for the story.
- Proclamation of the Word: children are encouraged to explore biblical stories through the use of textured materials, figurines, sand, candles and well-crafted storytelling. After storytelling, time is spent wondering about the feelings and experiences of the characters in the story.
- Response to the Word: storytellers create space for children to respond to the Word through art, storytelling, dancing and prayer.
- Sending of God’s people into the world: Each time of gathering ends with rituals to change the light and send the children into the world with a special blessing.
Children & Worship is a versatile program. In most cases, Children & Worship is used during Sunday School with children three to seven years old; however, it has also been successfully used with adults with developmental disabilities and seniors with dementia as well as during inter-generational worship services, messy church gatherings, and vacation bible school events.
If you are interested in using Children & Worship in your church, a good first step is to purchase Sonja Stewart and Jerome Berryman’s Young Children and Worship, available through Parasource.
The PCC is pleased to offer training for congregations who want to start a Children & Worship progamme and those wanting to grow their programme. Basic Training is 12 hours and includes storytelling, lectures, discussions and practice. Introductory workshops (1 ½ hours), and various enrichment/specialized events (3-6 hours) are also available. Please contact Emily Hill at ehill [at] presbyterian [dot] ca or call 1-800-619-7301 ext. 271.
Emily Hill is the program coordinator of Children and Worship for The Presbyterian Church in Canada. For more information or to arrange for an introductory workshop or training event, please email Emily Hill at ehill [at] presbyterian [dot] ca or call 1-800-616-7301 ext. 271.
- Valerie Walker, vjmwalker [at] gmail [dot] com, Halifax, NS
- Brian Davidson, bdavidsonycw [at] nbnet [dot] nb [dot] ca, Moncton, NB
- Carolina Morales, ccmorales80 [at] gmail [dot] com (Spanish), Mississauga, ON
- Laura Alary, laura [dot] alary [at] rogers [dot] com, Scarborough, ON
- Linda Shaw, ianandlindashaw [at] gmail [dot] com, Simcoe, ON
- Nina Zwart, ninanynke [dot] zwart [at] sympatico [dot] ca, London, ON
- Diane Tait-Katerberg, diane [dot] tait [at] katerberg [dot] ca, Surrey, BC
Children and Worship Resources
- Young Children and Worship, Sonja Stewart and Jerome Berryman, Knox Press
- Following Jesus: More About Children and Worship, by Sonja Stewart, Knox Press
These books are available from retail booksellers and sometimes the public library.
- I Wonder… More Bible Stories for Children and Worship, by Janet Schreuder
- Lift Up Your Hands (a signing video), produced by the PCC
- Godly Play, Jerome Berryman, Abingdon Press
- Teaching Godly Play: The Sunday Morning Handbook, J. Berryman, Abingdon Press
- Worship Songs for Children and Worship (Songbook), June Armstrong
- More Worship Songs for Children and Worship (Songbook, CD), J. Armstrong
- Make Room: A Child’s Guide to Lent and Easter, Laura Alary, published by Paraclete Press