Friday, 24 June 2011

Saplings – Educating Young People

Young Person

Photo by Jon Ovington, used under the creative commons license.

“Saplings, a fun interactive learning experience for inquisitive young minds”

You may have read Damian Thompson’s heart rendering article in the Telegraph about a six year old girl, who wrote a letter “To God, How did you get invented?”. This letter was answered by the Archbishop of Canterbury (the one who married Will and Kate), Rowan Williams, like this …

“Dear Lulu,
Your dad has sent on your letter and asked if I have any answers. It’s a difficult one! But I think God might reply a bit like this –

‘Dear Lulu – Nobody invented me – but lots of people discovered me and were quite surprised. They discovered me when they looked round at the world and thought it was really beautiful or really mysterious and wondered where it came from. They discovered me when they were very very quiet on their own and felt a sort of peace and love they hadn’t expected.
Then they invented ideas about me – some of them sensible and some of them not very sensible. From time to time I sent them some hints – specially in the life of Jesus – to help them get closer to what I’m really like.
But there was nothing and nobody around before me to invent me. Rather like somebody who writes a story in a book, I started making up the story of the world and eventually invented human beings like you who could ask me awkward questions!’

And then he’d send you lots of love and sign off.
I know he doesn’t usually write letters, so I have to do the best I can on his behalf.

Lots of love from me too.
Archbishop Rowan

Even very young people have enquiring minds, as anyone with a toddler knows. This is precisely why at St Paul’s we have decided to drop our crèche (for 0 – 3 year olds) during Sunday services, and replace it with a new, fun learning experience, where little ones can learn about the love of Jesus.

image “For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters that spreads out its roots by the river; it shall not fear when the heat comes but its leaf shall be green. It shall not be anxious, not worry about drought, nor shall it cease yielding fruit.” Jeremiah 17:8

Our little ones are like young trees (Saplings) in many ways. We want them to spread their roots by the river. As they are fed and watered, they will produce fruit, just as it says in the verse above.

The team do hands-on activities like story telling, singing songs and craft making, whilst preparing children to address questions like Lulu’s in the future. Even little babies will get something from Saplings  as the planned activities include sensory activities, easily adapted for babies. Parents are welcome to stay with their children and be part of the experience, or head into the main service to hear the sermon. You don’t have to be a Christian to take part.

“Come along and try out Saplings, a vibrant learning experience for inquisitive young minds.“

Nikki Salt is one of the Saplings leaders, and this is how she introduced Saplings in our recent chat …