Monday, June 23, 2008

Vacation Bible School: Day One

So I signed Joey and andy up for Vacation Bible School. This year our church is doing a sort of tableaux vivantish "Jerusalem Marketplace" thing. We all get into costumes and run around learning about what life was like during Holy Week. Joey has trouble relating to and learning social studies, so I thought it might be good for him to have all the multi-sensory stimulation to relate to.

We ran into several issues. One, I had to volunteer as a class adult to be sure Joey's sensory issues were considered, such as breaks and gum and whatever he might need. I was placed in his class so I could take him solo if need be. That's fine. But it turns out that the other adult helper is also there because of her special needs kid. We can't very well both run off solo with our kids should needs arise and leave the class leader with ten kids all by herself! We are also the only room that didn't get some of the high-school-age church members as extra aides. Figures.

Two, the change in schedule, though I had been warning Joey and trying to prep him for it all week, almost lead to complete meltdown. The idea of going to church on Monday was just too much for Joey to handle. He repeated "Church on Monday... No church on Monday! That's silly! Church on Sunday!" for a good deal of the morning. This is actually unusual for Joey, who usually takes schedule shifts in stride with a little warning.

Three, we all gather first in the sanctuary, and the chaos is deafening. Andy just about had a meltdown when we hit the door. Fortunately, Joey's speech therapist is a member of our church and was helping in Andy's tribe/class today, so she snatched him up and helped him settle and regulate.

Four, it's a church, not a school. The class "teacher" came completely unprepared, and hadn't even glanced over the day's lesson and scripting, so she knew less than I did about what was supposed to be going on. The whole program is kind of geared to an older kid crowd, say 3rd-5th grade, and no one seems to be prepared to gear anything to kindergardeners or preschoolers, including the crafts, games, or the explanations given for what was going on. No one seems to be trained to work with children at all. It seems to be a whole building full of adults trying to wing it.

Five, because I'm volunteering, I don't have three precious hours to myself each day this week.

The good news is the marketplace itself is gorgeous and I have seized control of the kids assigned to me, and know exactly what my little subgroup will be doing each day. I made some books about each of the major crafts they will be doing (pottery, woodworking, weaving, and basketry) so they can relate to what they will be doing before they jump in to do it. Because everyone else is winging it, I have the flexibility to not wing it. Also, I get to spend all morning with my Joey, and I get to explain things as we go along, and talk about it with him knowing what he did all morning.

Also, I get to spend all morning with Joey.

Joey, all to myself.

This is going to be a great week.


Jannalou said...

That sounds so great! :) Too bad they aren't organized - the idea sounds awesome. Then again, I have often found that most (if not all) church activities tend to be done "off-the-cuff". Certain pieces may be organized (like music for a service, the order of service, the sermon) but often things like Sunday School and VBS are just crazy.

And I say that having been a Sunday School teacher and a VBS teacher/planner/director.

Stimey said...

I LOVE this: "I have seized control of the kids assigned to me."

Enjoy the week!

Niksmom said...

Well, the week is half's it going? I hope it turns/ed out great; it sure sounds like an interesting approach. (I mean interesting-good not interesting-strange!)