Unlike many other parish programs for children, the Church of the Nativity focuses intensely on the weekend experience. In chapter 7 of Rebuilt, Fr. Michael and Tom write about the weekend experience (chapter 6) from the perspective of families and children. They have developed the following weekend programs for kids, described in detail in the book:
Kidzone: Children up to age three.
All Stars: Children ages three to six.
Time Travelers (Children’s Liturgy of the Word): Children in grades one through four.
Check out their website and you’ll also find some information about their student ministry programs for older children:
Ascent: Grades five and six.
Resurrection: Grades seven and eight.
Uprising: High School youth ministry grades nine through twelve.
Learn more about their children’s ministry programs at ChurchNativity.tv:
You are a DRE with a strained budget, limited space, and no weekend kids’ programs. Whatever the arrangement of your physical space, there is probably a room you could use as a nursery, at least on Sunday morning, at least for one Mass.
You are aiming at establishing a clean, safe, inviting environment for kids. If you can make it colorful and attractive, all the better. Get some people who love to decorate to help you come up with a plan that is easy to assemble on Sunday and easy to store during the week.
Practically speaking, used toys and books in good condition are a great place to start in terms of supplies. You’ll have no trouble getting these donated. When it comes to staffing, don’t look to moms (give them a break). Talk to empty nesters and high school students about taking care of the nursery. Of course, make sure your volunteers have the necessary background checks and child protection training before you begin.
Invest in your volunteer ministers, schedule in time to spend with them at least once a month for coffee and brainstorming about programming for your new nursery: worship music, videos, fun faith-based exercises and activities. There are great, free activities online too! Some of our favorite ideas have come from searches on Google.
Before the beginning of Mass, let people know about your nursery and how they can use it. Make it easy for them to find.