Give them a reason to love!
In Graceland elementary, our greatest hope is for our kids to understand the greatest commandment: Love God and Love Others. But in order to even begin to love others as Jesus did, our kids need to know how much they are loved: "We love because he first loved us" (1 John 4:19). We are committed to guiding each child through their 1st grade year to their 4th grade year, with all the questions and doubts that accompany each season of growing up, and help them to understand at each turn how much God loves them, how uniquely he has created them, and how he has put greatness in each of them to make the impossible possible: to love others with God's heart.
How We Teach
God's love for us is real and indelible, and we aim to share his love in a tangible and memorable way. Our time is divided into three parts: opener game or music, large group message and small group time. The opener game or music time is a time to have fun and be active together with friends and teachers as kids arrive. During the message, all kids sit together to hear a message that is presented in various ways of storytelling, acting, audience participation and sometimes crazy demonstrations. This variety helps us translate the abstract concepts that are often in the Bible into tangible and memorable truths that a 1st grader can begin to understand and a 4th grader can deeply understand. During small group time, kids are in groups by grade and gender led by one or two small group teachers. In these groups, kids are able to comfortably ask questions at their level of understanding, figure out how they can apply it in their lives, and do an activity together that reinforces what they learned during the message. In this smaller setting, they also have a chance to really connect and build relationships with each other as well as their teachers.
How We Care
We care deeply about the health and safety of the children in our care. We take our check in and check out procedures seriously, requiring each child to be registered in our secure database.
Every volunteer completes a background check and orientation time to be sure Graceland is the right fit. Our volunteers understand the need for consistency and getting to know each child. Most serve every weekend or on a consistent and frequent schedule, so that our kids can learn within the context of caring relationships. Most of all, our volunteers are strong, easy to get to know, and volunteer because they genuinely want to be a positive model of Jesus' love in the lives of the children we serve.