“Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.” Matthew 19:14
When I started working at AHCC four years ago, I remember walking my then two-year old son down the stairs to the basement childcare room on Sunday mornings. I am going to be honest, I felt horrible doing it. As a new mother, my son just seemed so far from me, whether I was in the sanctuary or on the second floor with the older children in lessons. Yes, the Sunday childcare staff is awesome and they welcomed him with open arms, and yes, the classrooms are nicely equipped thanks to the city run childcare that occupies the space during the week, but to me, he and the other children, infant-preschool, were so hidden, it felt like “out of sight, out of mind.” Not the feeling we want to project to new families with young children visiting our church for the first time.
After four school years’ worth of running up and down stairs and riding the elevator to check on our childcare staff and young children, then back up to check on our volunteer teachers and older children, I said enough is enough. Kyle Cannon and I sat down to discuss the feasibility of bringing ALL of our children together on the second floor. Could we rework the rooms to accommodate infants and toddlers? Would utilizing second floor rooms for childcare impinge on our classroom spaces for grades K-5? After working through these questions, I went to our childcare director, Karla Gwynn, to discuss the plan we had developed. With Karla eagerly on board, we took each of our childcare staff up to look at the spaces to get their feedback. Next, I outlined the proposed changes to Rev. Erica Thompson and director of operations, Helena Carvalho and received their blessings. Finally, at our last CFMC meeting, I discussed the changes to committee members. Several of our members have children in both the childcare and the Spirit Hill program. They expressed their enthusiasm for having their children together on one floor and how it would be convenient for them after worship to proceed to the second floor to gather both of their children instead of running up and down stairs or riding the elevator.
Starting September 10, Spirit Sunday, children ages infant-preschool will come to the second floor for childcare. Kyle Cannon and I will be on hand if you are not sure where to go. Rooms for the childcare will be outfitted with age appropriate furniture and toys. Our infant/toddler room will have a portable changing table, which any parent is welcome to use on Sunday mornings. Starting on September 24, ALL of AHCC’s children infant-grade 5 will be together on the second floor to start lessons (preschool-grade 5).
I am very excited by the move of our childcare. It opens up the possibilities of cross-age lessons, which we started this past year when our second graders created a book for our preschoolers and read it to them during our lesson on “The Lost Coin.” It also brings both our paid and volunteer teachers together. Most importantly, in brings the families of all of our children together in a time when our church family needs to lean on each other.
If you have any questions about the AHCC Sunday childcare, volunteer teachers, or any aspect of Children & Family Ministries, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.
May your summer be blessed and safe. Kyle and I look forward to seeing all of our families back at church on Spirit Sunday.
Marcie Jackson, Dir. of CFM