Aldersgate Preschool


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Boundaries: the gift of security

“Give your child choices.” “Allow children to exert influence over their own lives.” “When children make choices it builds their self-esteem.”

These are all phrases we are familiar with in this era of parenting. I, too, believe these statements. However, I believe all of this should be framed within the boundaries of clear limits. These limits ultimately give our children a sense of security and a knowledge of being cared for and loved.

To understand what I mean, picture yourself driving a car in a world with no limits. No rules. At first the freedom of driving at whatever speed you desire, stopping when it makes sense to you, etc. sounds like a dream come true. (My husband would agree that I would like this – I admit I have a heavy foot.) Then, reality would most likely set in. You might approach an intersection unsure of who is stopping and who is going. Personally, the security of knowing I can cross an intersection confident others are stopping. Imagine how insecure you would feel otherwise.

Just as the rules for traffic help us feel confident as we travel life’s roads, I believe boundaries offer that same sense of security to children.

Our children are counting on us to provide two things: consistency and  structure. Children need parents … | Routine quotes, Teachable moments  quotes, Moments quotes

Even though every child’s goal in life seems to be to exert as much influence as they can in all aspects of their life. They seem to think, “If I don’t get my way I can, and will, throw a fit or keep whining until I get my way.” Why not, at 2, 3 and 4 years of aget the world revolves around yourself – right? Again this is all true. Children feel this way and test the boundaries that are set around them. Often! It’s what they are wired to do – and some more than others.

As parents and the adults in children’s lives, however, we are called to set limits that help children grow – feeling safe and secure. It sure sounds nice to let your child help decide what preschool he or she likes, if he or she wears a coat in cold weather, etc….. Instead, parents should set a consistent bedtime. (It actually helps there body get into a rhythm.) Parents should deicde that school is a priority so we are going today. Parents should decide when it is time to leave the park. And on it goes.

Lean How To Say 'No' to Your Child | Quotes for kids, Parents quotes funny,  Tough love quotes

Yes, children need choices. Yes, children need some influence of their lives. Let children have those things for the little things. Children can make choices within the boundaries: How are we going to bed tonight, crawl up the stairs or hop down the hall? After a reminder from parents that it is almost time to leave the playground, children can decide if they want three more pushes on the swing or one more time down the big slide.

I know, I am making it sound easier than it is. Truly, I remember the days of trying to decide if this was an issue I needed to make a firm boundary. I had a child who was a “Tantrum Expert.” Untilmately I believe she grew into the strong, capable woman she is today BECAUSE she was allowed choices but always encased within clear limits. Sometimes it was not convenient for me. Often I questioned myself. I believed in my gut, though, that she would benefit from knowing that I was the parent and she was the child. Today, as an adult, she is also my friend. I belive that is the privilege we parents experience once our children are grown in to adults. That is OUR gift.

Right now you have the opportunity, and I believe the duty, to give your child the gift of boundaries. Megan and I will gladly be your cheerleader. If your child is testing those boundaries especially hard, give us a call. Hopefully we can ease the burden, give you the strength to hold firm, or even make you laugh in the midst of the “storm.” My sister did that often for me and it helped me so much. We will gladly pass on the gift of support to you.

Cyndi Mawhiney


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Get To Know Me

I wanted to give everyone a chance to get to know me a little better. My name is Megan Lynn and I am excited to be working beside Cyndi as a co-director this year. I am already learning so much about this wonderful preschool!

 

I’ll start with telling you a little about my professional background. I grew up in the Olathe area and went to Olathe East High School. After I graduated, I attended Baker University and majored in Elementary Education. I also received my provisional licensure in Special Education. I knew from the very beginning that early education and working with kids of all needs was my passion!

I taught Kindergarten in the Turner School District in KCK for my first three years, and then I taught three years in the Gardner-Edgerton School District. I cherish the memories that I made at both of these schools with all of my Kindergarteners. These years helped me to realize how important the early years are for instilling a love for learning!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My husband, Branton, and I met at the wedding of our best friends. He was the best man and I was a bridesmaid. About a month after the wedding, Branton asked his friend to set us up on a double date, and the rest is history! We got married in April of 2016 and bought our first house in Gardner. Last summer, we moved out to Spring Hill, KS with our dog, Lorenzo. In September, our son Colton was born!

 

 

 

 

Colton’s story has been a challenging one, but one I am passionate about telling! He was born with a Congenital Heart Defect called Transposition of the Great Arteries. Basically, his two main arteries were switched, so oxygen was not getting where it needed to go. Colton was undiagnosed until hours after his birth, so his first day of life was very scary. Thankfully God was looking out for Colton, and a doctor was able to quickly diagnose his condition. He was taken to Children’s Mercy right away and had open heart surgery at 9 days old. He experienced many complications after the surgery that prolonged his stay, but after 99 days in the hospital, we were finally able to bring our baby boy home! He came home with a NG feeding tube, but after a month was fully eating on his own. He continues to make big growth and hit developmental milestones. We were so excited to celebrate Colton’s first birthday on September 10th! We are so proud of our heart warrior!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I feel so blessed to have found Aldersgate Preschool. With Colton’s unique situation, I was home with him for almost his whole first year. I was trying to decide what my next adventure would be when I heard about the director position. My mom had taught preschool when I was growing up and I had learned a lot about how important these first years are for children. My years in Kindergarten have taught me how we need to set a love for lifelong learning right from the very start. I loved how Aldesgate focused on learning through play and building a relationship with God.  After asking many questions and spending time praying about it, my family decided this would be a perfect fit for us!

These first few days meeting and getting to know your kids have been so much fun! Adersgate is special place filled with amazing teachers that truly care and love the kids.  I feel blessed to be have found this preschool and get to know all of you!


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You Grow Through What You Go Through – Staff Meeting 2020

We finally got to have our back-to-school staff meeting.  I always like to start the year learning about something relevant to where we are, and what we are doing.  This year our focus was on Growth Mindset.  If you haven’t heard this term before, it is a positive way to approach struggle and difficulty.  Seeing the world as possibility.  Carol Dweck is the leading author in this area.  She has spent her professional career studying how people develop a fixed or growth mindset.  Here is what Dweck says about Growth Mindset,

“In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.”

Even children as young as four years old showed a tendency toward either a fixed or growth mindset.  In a research study they gave four year old children puzzles.  Once the children mastered the first set they offered the children a choice of working on more complex puzzles or completing the ones they had mastered again.  The ones with a growth mindset chose to learn as they struggled to complete the more challenging puzzles.  One girl exclaimed, “I’m dying to figure them out!”  In essence, a person with a growth mindset sees struggles and set-backs as an opportunity to learn.

We have definitely had some struggles and set-backs with this whole pandemic.  Thus, the reason I felt this would be a great area for us to focus on Growth Mindset.  We usually have some sort of get-to-know-each-other activity at the beginning of our meetings.  This year each staff member had a flower picture on one side of a play coin.  They used these to find their matching partner and then they each shared about the hardest thing they have ever gone through.  Then I asked them to flip it and think about what they learned from that hard experience.  “There are always two sides to every coin.”

 

So we then thought about what we have learned (and continue to learn) as we faced Covid-19 and all the difficulties that has come with it.  The teachers quickly thought of several things:

flexibility, new technology: zoom, seesaw, google docs, etc., adaptability, faith, patience.

I mentioned that the thing I noticed through it all (regarding Aldersgate Preschool) is we continued to focus on the children; what they need, how to keep them safe, what would help them the most, etc.  It was with that focus that we made decisions, changed schedules and so much more.  This has been our focus for years and it continued to guide us as we faced this new struggle.

As always, I had several quotes included in the presentation.  Here are a few I especially liked:

 

Growth mindset can apply to our intellect, our artistic abilities, our athletic abilities and our social/emotional abilities.  Most people fall at various points of a spectrum with this different areas.  Our staff took a little “quiz” to determine where they fit on this scale.  If you are interested in knowing more about your mindset, you can link to that quiz HERE.  It is also interesting to think about your beliefs regarding the different areas listed above.  I’ve often heard people say, “I’m not artistic.”  But, have you tried taking a class to learn how to see objects with specific lines, shadows, etc.

We also talked about the frontal lobe development of the brain.  This is the area that drives our emotions (such as perseverance) and our organization skills (such as knowing the next step, thinking of a new way to do something, etc.)  This frontal lobe is in the very beginning stages of developing while children are with us.  It actually takes about 20 years before the frontal love is fully mature.  So what does this mean as we think about the young children we teach. Teacher’s helped me think about how to finish the following statements:

Because our kids are in the baby stages of growing their frontal lobes they will:

make mistakes     have meltdowns      push limits      be distracted      constantly changing      challenge the way we think

So, then, we need to:

be flexible      be understanding      be patient     be supportive      engage them      know their developmental level      be persistent in finding ways that

reach them      remember they are doing things with a positive intent        educate their parents        give reminders

 

Megan then talked with the staff about how we go about teaching Growth Mindset ideas to our little ones.  She talked about giving the children a new way of saying things:

How to Teach Growth Mindset to Kids (The 4-Week Guide) | Teaching growth mindset, Growth mindset for kids, Growth mindset statements

Big Life Journal has a ton of information on their Growth Mindset blog.  I would suggest you take a look HERE.

Megan said that their are many videos available that have a growth mindset theme.  Sesame Street offers a good one HERE.   For those of you that like Bruno Mars, this will be a fun one for you.

Megan shared how she used this book to help children realize that we all struggle doing something while others struggle with something different.

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Then each teaching team took a book or resource and and had a chance to come up with their own ways to use it, or to develop a lesson plan.  It was great to hear their ideas and I will look forward to seeing some of these activities used with your children this year.

We also had a devotion and prayer focusing on being able to bloom right where we are.  Each year we honor a staff member (or two) that has shown grace and perserverance as she worked though a difficult time.  We call this our “Dancing in the Rain Award.”  Jennie Nichols, an Aldersgate Alum, died as a teenager from Osteosarcoma.  We give this award in her honor.

We sort of felt like we ALL deserved this award; having gotten this far through this pandemic.  I think maybe the whold world deserves this kind of award.

We did, however, select Ms. Kendra as our true recipient.  Kendra has worked so hard as we have changed our programming, re-enrolled families, given refunds, managed the paper work of all this, spear-headed the effort to apply for and receive a PPP Loan and . . . . . . .  All the extra challenges were met, faced and figured out.  I don’t know what I would have done without Kendra here this year!

 

We ended with each person making their own Growth Mindset flowers.  The picked a favorite quote that shows a growth mindset and then also included areas they are currently growing themselves.  I loved how they all turned out – so different but also working together so well.  This is fitting as this is how I believe our Aldersgate Staff are in general;

So different and yet work together so well.


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Ice cream Social – another year, another fabulous time!

Each year the Ice Cream Social promises fun, yummy treats, great auction items and a wonderful time with our Aldersgate Family.  This year met all those expectations fabulously!

Of course this event cannot happen without a lot of people!  Our staff helped set up things and worked different areas – I hope your children enjoy them all.  Some of our previous staff came back to help work our bake sale – thanks also to everyone that donated those YUMMY treats!  Kendra, as always, helped tremendously as we prepared for things and is now currently counting and organizing our proceeds.  Our preschool board, headed up by Julia Willhite, did a fabulous job collecting awesome bid items, scooping ice cream, gathering supplies and setting things up!

Here is the event captured in small moments! The weather cooperated and many enjoyed the playground in between all the other fun.  I love seeing our families enjoying themselves!

 

We are so grateful to anyone that donated items, sponsored items or even made items for us!  Our fundraising helps us maintain the quality program we are so proud of!  Below is a list of all the people that donated

 


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You mean I have to control my emotions too?

I haven’t really written about Love and Logic on this blog before.  It is an approach to parenting that has been around since 1977.  But, I don’t disregard it as “old school.”  I think there are a lot of valuable ideas within their process.  As with anything, I encourage you to read it and embrace the ideas that feel right to you.

This is how kellybear.com describes it:  The Love and Logic process includes sharing control and decision-making, using empathy with consequences, and enhancing the self-concept of children. They assert that their methods lead to improved student behavior and achievement. Their methods help children learn to be responsible and gain self-confidence.

I get regular emails from them at my preschool email.  It is something they call the Insider’s Club.  Their emails often cause me to pause and reflect – which is always a good thing.   Just click on the photo below to find the site where you can sign up.

Today’s topic touched a chord with me.  As much as I have patience with your children here at school, I struggle with managing my emotions when I am frustrated with things that don’t make sense, when I feel like I’ve made a mistake, and when things that are supposed to work – just don’t.  To be even more honest, I could list many other times that my lack of patience shines obviously for anyone around me.  (Dealing with services such as our satellite subscriber. . . .)  Perhaps you will see why this newsletter email especially spoke to me:

If I’m being honest, I have to admit that I often struggle to control my own emotions. This is especially true when I am driving on city streets or highways. There seem to be more distracted and aggressive drivers to dodge than ever before. Which means I must be more alert, more aware, and more self-aware than ever before. It’s often a great struggle, of course, to remain calm and refrain from overreacting.

Kids today are in a similar fix. Are there more people out there who are hurting these days? More people who dump their emotional garbage onto others? More temptations and pitfalls for young people? Kids today must be equipped with better social and emotional skills than at any previous time in our society so that they can avoid the very prevalent threats to their emotional well-being.

Just as I often feel tempted to declare that I’m never going to get behind the wheel again and brave the dangers and frustrations on the highway, I often feel the urge to keep my beloved children off life’s highways and protect them from all the bad social and emotional traffic. It’s really rough out there and I don’t want one of my kids becoming a “statistic.”

The wisdom of Love and Logic has taught me that instead of overly protecting or overly warning my kids, I must teach them life skills. Life skills are more effective and more lasting than warnings or coddling can ever be.

There is sobering news about these life skills: they must begin with me. Teaching by example is a huge part of raising kids with Love and Logic. On the road, I might take a few slow, controlled breaths and tell myself something positive (and true) such as, “This too, shall pass.” I might repeat some other phrases such as, “Today, I will avoid appearing on an episode of ‘COPS’” (or a reality show, news program, or YouTube video).

While I am driving, I might be very honest in front of my kids by saying, “It sure is hard to have patience in traffic like this.” Does it help kids when we are honest about our own struggles while modeling skills to guard our own hearts and attitudes?

My best hope is that when my kids hit tough situations, they will guard their own hearts and attitudes, just like their dad does in traffic—most of the time!

Thanks for reading! Our goal is to help as many families as possible.
 
Jedd Hafer

 

I would check out their website HERE.    There are also two books that might be of interest to you.


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We are still working hard!

I’m so impressed with our little people and the work they are doing!  We’ve heard from our parents that children are excited about helping at home – and even asking to do more!

This is just what we were hoping would happen when we chose to focus on responsibility for our February focus!

I love seeing all the photos of children working at home.

 

Rocky, our dog that celebrates a job well done, has been busy visiting all the classes.  The kids are so excited when he does a flip just for them.  Kids in our youngest classes are doing work too.  They got so excited to see Rudy visit and perform for them!

If you are still wanting more information about helping your child with responsibilities, one of our preschool Board members sent me links to some great sites.

Life Over C’s even has a free downloadable interactive book and memory game. This connects responsibility with pre-reading skills.  You can find it HERE

The Happy Housewife posts about age appropriate chores.  You can find it HERE

I also found some notes I made earlier and wanted to share a fun chore that one of our teachers has her kids do – tightening the screws on the light switches and door knobs.  You can just imagine some kids thinking this is right up their alley!

Keep Rockin’ those Responsibilities!.

 


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My dog Rudy helps with the Chore Chart

As we head into our Rockin’ our Responsibilities focus for February I wanted to give you a few resources.  Recently our staff had an in-service about giving kids responsibilities and how to encourage them.  We watched a video that explains the benefits of jobs and duties for young children  You can watch that by clicking on the words below.

Research on the effect chores have in developing concern and respect for others

I also created a list of videos and books that would be great to share with children as you focus on this aspect with kids.

Books:

Being Responsible by Cassie Mayer

How Do Dinosaurs Clean Their Rooms? By Jane Yolen & Mark Teague

Good Think You’re Not an Octopus by Julie Markes

Just a Mess by Mercer Mayer

All by Myself by Mercer Mayer

Cami Kangaroo Has Too Much Stuff by Stacy C. Bauer

Videos:

Joey Runs away  (click for the link) Watch a kangaroo that runs away to avoid cleaning his room.  There are some pretty comical pictures as you see his room inside his mom’s pouch.

The Little Red Hen (click for the link)  Enjoy the traditional story of a hen and all her friends that don’t want to help her with the work of making bread.

A German Shepherd helps with chores around the house (click for link)  I’d watch this with the sound off and just enjoy how clever this dog is doing some pretty amazing jobs around the house.

When giving chores it is important to think ahead about what YOU will be able to follow through with.  As with everything with kids, consistency will help this go much more smoothly.  Children will not complete chores to your quality level but that doesn’t lessen the importance of giving them.  Once you carefully explain how a job is done you can let your child give it a try.  I would offer support as children work – but not too much.  Think about having a boss that oversees every aspect of the job you are doing.  You wouldn’t feel like they think you are capable and that would not build your confidence or motivate you to work hard.  Kids actually can feel that same way.  So I would encourage them, hold them to a developmentally appropriate standard, but let them have some autonomy.

How to encourage:

As with all areas, encouraging the actual work the child is doing is the most effective.  Rather than “Great job”, you could say, “It really helps the family when you  . . .”  “You are working hard at . . .”  “I think you are learning more about doing . . ., you didn’t need my help with any of it.”   When we focus on what the child is doing rather than generalizing about the child’s character it is most effective.  This way the child more easily internalizes the idea of hard work, doing his or her best, etc.  On the other hand, when a child is struggling with a task they don’t see their whole value placed on the job they are doing.  I would say something like, “I know you don’t want to take time out to do . . .  but we all have jobs when we are part of the family.”  “Bummer, I know you don’t want to do this right now but it’s your job and I know you can do it.” “I am cleaning up after dinner. It’s time for you to do your job of cleaning the table.”

The Blog post title mentions something about my dog:

Once I decided to use the flipping puppy as a “hurrah” in our classrooms for a job well-done, I also decided to use a dog theme to bring this focus together.

Many of you may remember my dog, Rudy, has visited school a few times.  He is a sweetheart that loves people.  I was trying to think of a way to make doing job “more exciting.”  While Rudy’s primary jobs are to:

Make everyone in the family feel loved

 

Play with the grandkids

   

Play and snuggle

And make us laugh

 

And he is good at all of those things.

He is also good at posing for photos.

And we have fun having Rudy hide in photos – can you find him?

So, I decided he could be a model for the photos for our chore chart.  You can click on the links below the photos to access the file if you would like to print these for use at home.

chore chart

chore chart pictures

My thought was you could cut out the photos of jobs you will have your children do and then paste them into the day you would want that done.  We are sending home a paw print stamper that you can then have your child stamp onto the photo once they have completed the task.  Hopefully doing this is another motivator for getting a job done.

In another blog post I will share many other links to sites that have chore charts and other good resources for helping children learn to be responsible.

Let’s see those kids Rockin’ Their Responsibilities!


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Rockin’ our Responsibilities

Did you know preschoolers (and even toddlers) are ready to rock some responsibilities!   Actually studies show children build self-esteem when the adults in their life trust them to do things.  They also learn the processes and the skills involved in doing various chores.

An article on the Psychology Today website stated, “One of your most important goals as a parent is to raise children who become independent and self-reliant people.   It is a fact that it is often easier to do things for children than to get them to do it themselves. We can clean their rooms or get them dressed in a fraction of the time and with much less stress.  It does not allow them to master skills, and it does not allow them to feel the satisfaction of a job well done and develop a sense of value, capability and accomplishment. Therefore, give your children responsibilities and hold them accountable for completing the jobs”

But, really, did they mean this for toddlers and preschoolers?  As with anything, you can start young if the expectations are developmentally appropriate.  For instance, a 12 to 18 month old child can go get the diaper and wipes when asked to while you prepare for a diaper change.  He can also pour food into the dog’s dish (of course this would be from a small cup and might not be the whole amount the dog needs but you get the idea.), throw away his trash, take his dishes to the counter after a meal and more.

Two and three-year olds can match socks from the laundry, wipe the baseboards, pick up their toys, put dirty clothes in the laundry, restock the toilet paper and more.

Four and five year olds can set the table, empty small trash cans, “make” their bed, help load the dishwasher, clean the table, wash windows and much more.

This February we will be focusing on Rockin’ our RESPONSIBILTIES!

We are READY, READY 

READY!


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Social skills – a conversation with a parent

I’ve been communicating with a parent about options for her son, outside resources such as speech therapy and ideas for developing social skills.  As I was writing an email to her this morning I thought it might be a good thing to share here.

We are working with her son on how to approach others that have something he would like and how to handle it if another child wants a toy he has.  He just turned 3 years old but this could be any child and any of the ages we have here at Aldersgate.  Just think about it.  Your child has been alive for such a short time.  He has already learned to eat and feed himself, He has learned to talk, walk, play with toys and so much more.  It takes practice to  understand and handle social interactions.

The parent had explained that they were attending the Parents as Teachers playgroup and another group gathering.  Here is what I wrote;

All the exposure to play groups, etc. are great.  At his age I would try to stay a little more in the background and see if/how he is interacting with others.  This will give you an idea of how to work with him at home or at future gatherings.

For instance, you can actually practice the sharing and turn-taking involved in playing with others while you play with him at home.  I would get involved in some play that has multiple pieces (i.e. blocks) and then ask him for a turn with what he has.  If he says no or just ignores you I would encourage him to use words to say if he doesn’t want to. “I’m still using it.”  Or “When I am done.”  If he would try to take something you have (and I would make yours pretty exciting so it would be something he would want) then you can tell him to use the words, “Can I have that.”  I would give it to him sometimes when he asks but other times I would say those same things to him – explaining that he can wait and you will let him have a turn later.  This will give him the chance to feel what waiting is like and to learn how to manage the disappointment of not getting what he wants right away.

As parents we feel funny depriving our kids of toys (while we are playing with them) since we are the adults – but, when we give things to kids right away, they don’t have a chance to practice the skills they will need when playing with other children.

This can also be true with following directions, etc.  If, as parents, we do things that the child is capable of doing for them (because we love them) we are actually depriving him of a chance to grow independent and to practice listening and then following one or more directions.  I would say at this age he should be able to hang up his own coat (or if this is too high for him I would find a spot for him to put it), throw his trash away and put his dish on the kitchen counter after meals, he could help get himself dressed and put on his own shoes (this might need some help once he tries a little).  In February we are going to have a focus on Responsibility for these little guys.  There are real benefits in having kids do “chores” around the house.  It is hard to believe but at three years old kids should begin being a helpful member of the household.  Watch for more on that coming soon.

I thought I would share a few of our kids working on those social skills while they play.  We practice everyday!

  


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Good News, Christ is Born for you!

We had a full crowd for both of our Christmas worships this past Saturday.  Luckily the snowy weather waited so we could fit this in!  This is truly one of my favorite things (and one of the things I will most miss once I retire.)  The sound of children singing songs that tell the story of Jesus’ birth is precious to me and to all the teachers.  I hope this short, child-centered worship touched your hearts as well.

This year the message and the children’s story focused on the animals,  During the message the animals each brought something for baby Jesus.  The donkey carried them to Bethlehem.  The cow shared her manger and the hay to make a soft bed.   The sheep shared a blanket made from her wool.  And the dove shared her sweet song to sooth Jesus to sleep.

With snow on the ground this week we continue to have our morning music time (I get to kind-of be the indoor recess option.)  I love that children continue to ask for songs from our Wriggly Nativity story.  This story has definitely made a mark on their hearts as well.  If you were unable to attend, or you want to have your children share the songs with your extended family, you can find the song recordings on our website WHAT’S HAPPENING page.  Just simply click on those words and the link will take you there.

We are all so grateful for your generous donations to our mission; Mission Southside’s BackSnack program.  I know your kindness will be felt far into the new year!

We captured a little of the morning in pictures.

 

Good news, Christ is born for you!