Children's Curricula: Trees & Birds (Rev. Laurel Dykstra)
Rev. Laurel Dykstra generously shares some of her children's curricula with us this month. View the complete curricula on her church's website. Here are samples from Trees of Field and Forest, and All the Birds of the Air.
Trees of Field and Forest
Salal + Cedar Wonder Box Curricula are designed for multi-age groups with the intention of growing children’s love of God’s creation. They bring together inspiration and wisdom from Messy Church, Godly Play and Forest Schools. The materials are organized for a 90 minute session and small parts can be used for a 30 minute Sunday School lesson or a 5 minute Children’s Talk.
Lay out the brown earth cloth. As each part of the tree is named: roots, trunk, bark, leaves, fruit, place them on the cloth in a circle, in the centre of the circle make a cross from two sticks. With rearrange the parts into a tree shape beginning with the roots and ending with the fruit.
Did you know there are trees at the beginning and middle, and the end of the bible?
All the Birds of the Air
Pentecost 4 B, Pentecost 12 A, Easter 5 C, Earth Day, days with other bird-related texts. Mark 4:30-32, Matt 13:31-32, Ezekiel 17:22-24.
Words and Actions
A long, long, long time ago the prophet Ezekiel told a story. Ezekiel said this is what God’s people are like:
(lay out scarf)
I will go to the lofty top of a cedar tree
And take a tender young twig from the very top (stretch up)
I will plant that twig on a high mountain
And it will grow tall, and sprout branches and become a giant cedar tree
(hold up the cedar branch with it’s base on the scarf—if appropriate have one or two children hold it steady otherwise lay it down)
And every kind of bird will come and live in it
And all the winged creatures will build their nests in the shade of its branches (place the nest gently on the cloth)
I wonder I wonder what you notice? What is the same about the two stories? What is different?
The “work” in this curriculum is a wonder-based, messy church style engagement where adults or teens at different stations help children to learn through questions and explorations. Very few answers are given and exploration is prompted with questions like: what do you think would happen if... I wonder why... did anything surprise you... and what do you notice?
In a Sunday School or Children’s Church setting it may work best to have the exploration time follow the words and actions. For Messy Church exploration first works best. For a children’s focus during worship you may only have time for some of the words and actions above. At a summer camp or church picnic you may have more time to spend with each station.