Please visit our PVUMC Children’s Ministry website from for all the latest information,
schedules, calendar, photos, web logs, discussions and more.
You can find us at http://pvumcchildren.com/. You
are always able to find out about upcoming activities and times by clicking on this internet link.
You and your children are invited to experience the unique learning and fellowship
opportunities at Paradise Valley United Methodist Church. We are excited about meeting
you and introducing you to other families who share warm and lasting relationships.
We would welcome a chance to help guide your family in building a strong relationship
with Jesus Christ.
Rev. Andrea Andress, Associate, Children’s
and Family Ministries, works with the Children’s, Nursery and Fellowship Ministry
Teams. The volunteers and staff serving on the Children’s and Nursery Ministry
Teams create and set in motion a wide variety of children’s events and learning
activities. This team works with a larger group of volunteers, who are especially
trained to give loving attention to children. We want all the children who attend
to look forward to and treasure the time they spend learning about God’s love
and care for them.
Our mission: The Children’s Ministry Team introduces children to a relationship
with Jesus Christ and nurtures those relationships through educational programs
and social advocacy.
Parents, you are encouraged to help your children feel comfortable in their Sunday
class by talking with them ahead of time. Help them look forward to a joyful time
of meeting new friends, having time to play, participate in activities, and have
a snack. Make sure they know the teacher is going to be glad to see them and will
make sure they have a great time. You are welcome to visit the class with your children
at any time.
Quality childcare, free of charge, is always available without reservation on Sunday
mornings and evenings in our Child Care Center. Childcare is available for other
times during the week when you are on campus for classes, rehearsals or meetings
with a 48–hour advance reservation. Call Childcare Director Kathy Ratliff at 602-840-8360,
ext. 134, and leave a message. The church is happy to underwrite the cost of childcare,
but we ask that you help us be good stewards of our resources. If you find that you
do not need childcare, it is very important that you call to cancel your reservation
— even if it’s last minute.
Safety (Also see Child Care Safety Information
at the bottom of this page) Keeping children safe and healthy at home, at church
and at school is a job that requires constant vigilance on the part of every adult.
Staff and laity must agree to follow specific safety guidelines by filling out and
volunteer safety forms before working with children and youth. As a further
safety measure, all staff fingerprints are screened.
8:00 a.m. Sunday Morning Opportunities for Children
Childcare available for children of all ages in the Child Care Center
9:30 a.m. Sunday Morning Opportunities for Children
Classes for new babies through sixth grade are located in buildings D, E, G and
the Fellowship Center. Look for room numbers and age groups on signs posted on the campus.
See class descriptions following the "opportunities" section.
0 - 24 Months – Nursery and Baby Sunday School in the Child Care Center
2 years. – 5 years – Classes, Doves, Butterflies, Camels
Kindergarten – Solid Rock
1st Grade – Way of the Child
2nd Grade – Way of the Child
3rd Grade – Solid Rock and reception of their Bibles
4th, 5th, and 6th Grade
10:30 a.m. – 10:55 a.m.: Music & Motion for Preschool and Kindergarten
Mini-Singers - three years – kindergarten
11:00 a.m. Sunday Worship and Church School for Children
Following the Children’s Time in the Sanctuary, children may remain in worship with
an adult or leave worship for church school:
JUNE THROUGH AUGUST - Summer Months: Sunday Opportunities for Children
Childcare: Babies through age two
Baby Sunday School - 8 – 24 mos.
Explorers - Ages two through four
Godly Play - Ages five years through 3rd grade
9:30 a.m. – Summer Sunday "Bible Camp"
Childcare for babies through age 2
Classes are divided into three groups for the summer:
11:00 a.m. - Worship and Church School
- Three, four and five-year olds
- Kinder & 1st Grade, (children entered these grades)
- 2nd – 6th Grade, (children entered these grades)
Following the Children's Time, children may remain in worship with an adult or leave
worship for one of the following offerings:
Children's Sunday Class Descriptions:
Childcare for babies through age 5
Children's Church for grades Kindergarten through sixth grade.
Baby Sunday school
Beginning each year in September, we teach babies who are age 8 - 24 months during the 9:30
and 11:00 a.m. worship hours. Bring your babies to the Child Care Center and sign them in for Baby Sunday School.
The first eight eligible children will be in the class.
Baby Sunday school uses the aims and methods of innovative educators in teaching the tenets
of faith. We strive to stimulate the child’s perceptions of experiencing God’s world by visual, auditory
and sensory methods. Repetition is a keynote of teaching. The objectives are as follows:
Way of the Child & Godly Play – Teaching Children Spiritual Habits
- Provide a relaxed purposeful and happy Christian environment
- Enable the children to experience faith through caring, loving and nurturing
- Communicate to the children that God loves them and has created their world
- Help the children know that they are special and important to the church
- Enable the children to learn through perceptual means using all the senses
- Begin the process of self-discipline, patience and the pleasure of sharing
- Involve parents in their children's spiritual growth
Way of the Child and Godly Play teach spiritual disciplines and a pathway of living.
By Rev. Andrea Andress.
Trust is the first foundation of faith a child experiences. At PVUMC preschool and PUVMC Sunday
school we focus on building relationships and social interaction for faith development for preschool
children and early elementary ages. Cognitive learning is certainly important and is given more and
more time in our classes as children age. Our American culture has fixated on the idea that more head
knowledge will solve all our problems. We push cognitive development before children are best able to
learn it, at the same time we are starving them for relational knowledge that comes from the heart and body.
Our basic Sunday school curriculum for preschool and elementary children focuses on teaching a Bible story
and works from that basis. The curriculum is excellent in how it incorporates different learning styles
and is teacher friendly. It is still largely based on the thought that we teach the children stories so
that when they are older it works with their cognitive development that will assent to a religious
transformation. It serves to instruct them so that when they obtain an age of mental acuity they will be
able to mentally ascent to their belief in Jesus as their savior. But we recognize they have a relationship
with God before the age of mental ascent.
Way of the Child and Godly Play recognizes children have a connection with God. United Methodists call that
prevenient grace. Young children do not have the religious language to express and reflect on their life. We
teach them this through their experiences. We find ways to give them more experiential events that go along with how they learn.
At PV we have found children respond enthusiastically and naturally to the experience of Godly Play and
Way of the Child. I have parents who ask me, "What did you do in there? She loves it." One parent came to us
with tears and said, "I had lost it with the kids and was yelling at my oldest child. The preschool child came
and said to me, Mommy, I don’t think God would be happy with your words right now."
In a culture that is weighted toward being Number 1, for always striving toward success at the cost of relationship, for
the superiority of mind over heart and knowledge over feeling, we often neglect teaching our children ways to cope
with our world. Coping lies in giving them an ability to see with a spiritual mind. Way of the Child and Godly Play do so.
What are key elements Way of the Child and Godly Play teach? Prayer & Spiritual Disciplines
- How to pray
- Listening as a key element of prayer
- Stories of God in which the child inters into the story as their story
- Each person enters into the story of God and is an integral part of the story
- Respect for self and others
- Creativity as a way of talking with God and listening to God
- Each person has a relationship with God
- A sense of “sacred space” and how we see God in everyday life
- How to quiet themselves and find healthy silence in a world that is always shouting for attention
As I look back on my United Methodist upbringing, I see one very important element I missed. I learned how to ask, how to
thank God, how to ask for others, but it was mainly by rote. I missed learning prayer as a basis of my relationship
with God. I know I am not alone in that. We have been so concerned in teaching so that people could repeat back something they
had learned; that was the proof that they had taken in the learning.
Religious learning is about transformation, about opening hearts as well as our minds. Way of the Child and Godly Play speak
directly to that. We need to be teaching our children spiritual disciplines that speak to their lives now and will carry them on in life.
FaithQuakes for fourth through sixth graders is a dynamic worship and learning experience that incorporates
drama, music, humor and games with small group involvement. Ask a child, “Have you ever been bored in church or
Sunday school?” Vibrant worship, learning and ministry is not about trading liturgy for entertainment. Adults have the
ability to design their own learning. Children depend upon us. The greatest compliment for FAITHQUAKES comes from parents
who tell us they do not have to drag their pre-teens to church.
Mini–Singers: Children three years though kindergarten experience praise, music and motion. They help lead in worship
through music twice a year at 11:00 a.m.
Children's Church School – 11:00 am Children’s Sunday school
Parents, bring your children to the first part of worship, so they may participate in worship with adults as part of
their learning. Since children learn by doing, they can easily engage in the portion of worship at 11:00 a.m. that precedes Children's Time.
Children's Time during worship in the Sanctuary consists of songs, the act of friendship (greeting each other) and a short prayer.
Explorers: Young children explore faith following children’s time in the Sanctuary.
Godly Play: Montessori-like approach for children who are age four through first grade following children's
time in the Sanctuary. (See above under Way of the Child)
Special Children's Events:
Baptism is a sacrament ordained by Christ, representing the beginning of a lifelong process of growing in Christ and the
sacrament of initiation into the Body of Christ, the church, which joins the person baptized with Christians everywhere. Babies, children
and adults are baptized in the United Methodist Church. For more information on baptism, please call the church office at 602-840-8360 or
e-mail Betty Cochran.
Third Grader's Bibles
Third grade Sunday School students receive a gift from their church - a children's Bible - in a special worship ceremony in the fall. Third
graders and their parents attend activities to become acquainted with the Bibles.
Acolytes and Scripture Readers
Children in fifth grade and older can choose to serve their church as acolytes and scripture readers in the worship services. Acolytes are
trained and dedicated in September, and serve by assisting with baptisms, communion, and lighting candles. Scripture readers are invited to
The Children's Ministry Team plans special events for the children throughout the Advent season. Additionally, children celebrate Jesus'
birthday the Sunday after Christmas and the Magi visit classes at the start of Epiphany in January.
Children, ages 3 and up, participate in a traditional Palm Sunday parade in worship services and then return to class. An Easter
Celebration/Carnival with an Easter Egg Hunt is held on campus the Saturday before Easter each year.
A monthly afternoon fellowship program for children in grades 3 and 4. It is as active as parents want it to be. Past Events include: Horse
back riding, Game Night, Lock-in at the Church, etc.
A monthly afternoon fellowship for children in grades 5 and 6. Past Events include: Horse back riding, Game Night,
Lock-in at the Church, Dance, etc.
Sexuality Workshop for 5th & 6th Graders with Parents
Every 2 years we offer a Friday evening-Saturday day workshop with qualified leaders to present, "SEX… CREATED IN GOD’S IMAGE
The Role of Sexuality in Christian Living. Goals included are to help 5th& 6th graders to:
Goals for parents include:
- Understand themselves as persons of worth, creations of God, who have the special quality of being male or female.
- Grow in understanding and appreciating themselves as sexual human beings.
- Work toward understanding that puberty and the physical changes that take place during those years are a part of God’s plan for growth and development.
- Learn more about the human body and reproduction in order that they may better understand themselves as sexual persons.
- Be able to ask questions and clarify understandings about conception, pregnancy, and birth.
- Learn accurate information about their own bodies.
- Have the opportunity to reflect on the love and caring that surrounds them, to voice their dreams for themselves, and to become more comfortable with the vocabulary of human sexuality.
Vacation Bible Camp
- Define their own sexual knowledge, and to help them learn the best way to communicate with their children.
- Explore Christian meanings of masculinity and femininity in place of stereotyping.
- Help your children with ethical decisions.
Offered every summer for 1 week, 9-12 noon for ages 3 (must be potty trained) through entering 6th Grade.
5th & 6th Graders have a special off campus trip and have a unique format. Come and ask, seek, and
knock on the door to a deeper relationship with God. Each adventure is filled with a powerful Bible story and fun crafts,
games and music, special visitors and much, much more. Usually offered at the end of July, please check with the church office for exact dates.
Summer Away Camp: Camp Narnia
This week-long camp at Mingus Mountain, sponsored by the Desert Southwest Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, is
for children who've completed grades three through six. Led by Paradise Valley United Methodist Church staff and volunteers, the camp is
built around the lessons of C.S. Lewis' books, Chronicles of Narnia. The camp will not be offered in 2010. There are other camps
sponsored by the conference.
Please go to their website for information: http://desertsouthwestconference.org/churchmembers/campingyouth
Imagine That! Summer Camp
Imagine That! Summer Camp, led by Director Bev Nystedt, offers a wide variety of classes for preschoolers through sixth graders in two,
Children have the opportunity to participate in missions projects throughout the year and as part of Vacation Bible Camp. Past missions
have included: Heifer, International, UMOM-United Methodist Outreach Ministries homeless shelter, Helping Hands, Camp Mingus, and Tsunami
Children’s Choir Children in grades one through six are welcome to be a part of the Children’s Choir. This group
sings in worship regularly and participates in special events in the life of the church.
The Fellowship Ministry Team hosts several annual and ongoing events designed to bring families together into one big church family. For more
information or to get involved, please contact Rev. Andrea Andress at 602-840-8360, etc. 142 or via email. Please check our calendar for
specific dates and times. All events are not offered each year.
One of our church traditions is an October hayride and cookout with line dancing and pumpkin decorating.
Movies Under the Stars
An outdoor movie venue held in the Amphitheater on a Saturday in early Spring – March/April. A popular current movie is played on a
large outdoor screen. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets. All proceeds go to a mission project. Fun for all the family.
Annual Christmas Event – Walk to Bethlehem or Advent Preparation Night
Advent Preparation is an evening potluck with crafts and fun for all ages as we prepare for Christmas – held in November. Walk to
Bethlehem celebrates the season with music, crafts, food, and strolling musicians. Follow the path of Mary and Joseph as they journey to
Bethlehem. See the new baby in the manger. Children age four through elementary school can sign up to be shepherds and angels.
All-Church Retreat - held on Labor Day Weekend
One of our traditions is this annual all-church camp. Crafts, fishing, hiking, stories, campfires and intergenerational fun are all
part of the experience at Mingus Mountain Camp just two hours north of Phoenix.
Four Family Dinners and Dinner for Nine
Getting to know people in a large congregation can be a challenge. Four Family Dinners and Dinner for Nine are ways to get to know
others over an informal dinner. Four Family Dinners are designed for four families with similar-aged children, and Dinners for Nine are
designed for nine individuals who get together for potluck. For more information, please contact Andrea Andress at 602-840-8360, ext. 142 or via email.
Child Care Center Safety Information
(Also see Childcare at top of this page)
Sundays you do not need a reservation for childcare. You do need a reservation for special events. Please see Childcare at the top
of this page for reservation information.
All children must be signed in by the parent or adult who brings them.
Children may not check themselves in.
Siblings or another child may not check children in or out.
Sign-In for the Child Care Center:
- Sign-in will be in a book or on a sign–in sheet.
- Please note if another adult is authorized to pick up your child,tell a childcare worker this information and that your child has arrived.
- Please make a name tag for your child from the materials available to you at the sign-in area.
- All of the child’s personal items, such as diapers, bottles, and cups should also be labeled with materials available at the time of sign-in.
- Again, please make sure that you announce your child’s arrival to one of the childcare workers.
If you have a child staying in the Child Care Center, please take a pager and turn it on and off to ensure it is working. It should
vibrate. Pagers are tested regularly to ensure their operational condition. Please note your pager number in the book. Turn the pager
on. Because it vibrates, keep it on your person. We will page you if you are needed in the Child Care Center for any reason. Please note in
the Child Care Center book or sign-in sheet where you will be while the child is in our care. The pager is used for all church events.
Sign-Out of the Child Care Center:
Sign out using the same method you used to sign your child in.
How You Can Support Our Child Care Center Ministry
- If your child was in the Child Care Center, turn off the pager, check in the book that it has been returned, and return it to the pager box.
- Please make sure that you have all of your child’s belongings before you leave.
- Please pick up a parent handbook in the Child Care Center, "Guidelines for Using the Child Care Center."
- Pray for our children and our staff.
- Communicate your suggestions to our staff.
- Stay at home with your sick children until they are no longer contagious to others.
- Help us maintain safe ratios of adults to children in our Child Care Center. If we have an unexpected situation--extra
children or not enough adults--please understand that we cannot accept more children until qualified adult help arrives.
- Let us know of your family’s concerns and celebrations. We want to share them with you.