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This new workshop was originally proposed by Neil MacQueen a few years ago and expanded upon in a forum here at Some of Neil's text below has been supplemented with suggestions that came from that forum.

In some ways, it has an inter-generational flavor, but the goal is more focused than that.

Getting mom and dad (and grandparents) talking about faith with their kids is the Holy Grail of Christian education. Study after study has shown that THAT relationship, mentoring, and conversation between parent & child is the single most important factor in helping a child gain and mature in their faith.

Proposal for a "Faith Mentors Workshop"

In EACH rotation lesson set, we will designate ONE of our regular workshops to also be the "Faith Mentors Workshop."

For example, in our next rotation on Pentecost, we'll designate the Drama Workshop as the "Faith Mentors ~ Drama Workshop."

  • Each student will be accompanied in the Drama (Family) Workshop by a parent, or older (teen) brother/sister, or grandparent 'faith mentor.'
  • The discussion and activities in that workshop will be geared towards opening and encouraging faith conversation between the student and their 'mentor.'
  • If a child shows up without a faith mentor, a volunteer mentor will work with them (rather than asking one of the other parents to split their attention from their child).

This is not a proposal for a seasonal twist. Rather, this is a proposal for a permanent FEATURE of the Rotation Model, because the need is permanent.

This is not a proposal for a "new" workshop. Rather, the Faith Mentor Workshop piggybacks on one of your established workshops each rotation.

WHICH of your active workshops to designate as the "Faith Mentor Workshop" for a particular rotation story depends on the story you are working on, which workshops you do, and your lesson ideas for that rotation.

For example, for this month's rotation you may designate the Art Workshop as your "Faith Mentor ~ Art Workshop" because you have an art activity well-suited to the student and their mentor working on it together.

Primary Goal:
The primary goal of the "Faith Mentor Workshop" is to get the parents/mentors talking with their kids. The lesson activities should be designed to support that emphasis. This is not a "sit with your child and listen to the teacher" workshop.

A Goal:
A goal of the Faith Mentor Workshop is to carry the conservation back home. The lesson plan/activities will be designed to give the students and their mentors FOLLOW UP marching orders.

Preliminary ideas for 'take home' follow-up activities:

1. In the Mentors Drama Workshop the two of you presented a skit. Take that skit home and put it on for the rest of the family.

2. In the Art Workshop you created something you can take home and use together, such as a dinner-time family grace/prayer jar.

3. In the Bible Games Workshop, you learned a game you can take home and play with your family.

Things that need to be figured out:

What about families that have 2 or more kids in the program? The parent could be attending the same "Mentor ~ Art" workshop every week!

Possible Solution #1
Parent would have the option to designate a different mentor (grandparent/sibling/other parent).

Possible Solution #2
Siblings of similar age could come to the same workshop with their parent for that workshop.

Possible Solution #3
The Mentors ~ Art Workshop that month could be for ALL The kids in the program together. One grand group.

Possible Solution #4
The Faith Mentor Workshop concept could be instituted ONLY for certain grades (preferably upper elementary).

The solution may depend on your particular group of parents/kids and the size of your classes/church.

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Suggested Workshops

I think the DRAMA workshop is particularly well-suited for this emphasis because it involves a lot of conversation/dialog and role-playing.

Making the Drama Workshop the Mentor's workshop also SOLVES a problem that many Drama workshops face, and that is the difficulty that ONE teacher has in managing a group of kids towards a dramatic objective. It can be a bit much for the average teacher. And the adults will have good ideas for skits and dialog. The mentors' presence will bring much needed help and discipline to this workshop.

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Other workshops:
The Computer Workshop would be well-suited to having mentors present. Often, the difference between a good and bad lab lesson are the number of available "guides by the side." Adults like multimedia computer content too, and their presence might slow the kids down a bit to answer the onscreen questions seen in so many programs.

I like the idea of having mentors in the Art workshop too. They can collaborate with their kids, -creating something together that can go home. Nice non-verbal way to share too.

Personally, I think having them in the Video and Games workshops would be a waste of the mentor's presence. We want to have more TALKING and SHARING.

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<>< Neil
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