Children and Youth
Work with children and young people is an important part of our work at Altofts Methodist Church.
Superkids is our Sunday School or Junior Church. Superkids join us for the first part of service and leave to do their own exciting activities in the Superkids room. They usually return at the end of the service to tell the congregation what they have been doing. All children welcome!
Mums and Toddlers
The Monday group was the first to start and proved to be very popular. It was suggested by mums that we meet another day. There are now two groups of helpers; we meet on Monday morning and Thursday afternoon for a couple of hours each week during school term time.
Our aim is to help parents meet and make friends with other parents, enjoy a coffee while watching their babies and children learning to play in a safe environment. It is also popular with grandparents!
We have a special story time and sing songs with all the actions - a treat of chocolate is then enjoyed!
Over the years we have seen many children leave the group to start their full-time school education, and we feel sure they will have happy memories of their time spent at Altofts Methodist Toddler Group; we are now seeing 'ex-toddlers' attending as mums with their own children.
Shell Group is a group for children that meets between 5.30 and 6.30pm on a Monday evening.
Suffer the little children?
With our 25th anniversary celebrations well in hand I have noticed the church family reminiscing, about not just the history of the church building in which we worship, but also the separate and combined histories of the three churches who came together in this grand project. The mention of Shell Group seems to spark memories for all - whether as attendees, as leaders or as parents who watched their children's enjoyment.
The impact of Shell is undoubted. My own involvement from my first arrival in the community in 1996, gave me a sense of belonging, the joy of planning and preparation as part of a friendly team, and even spending time with the children had its moments! 19 years later, I am married with three children of my own - all of whom have benefitted from the ongoing existence of Shell.
Doubtless you will have your own memories of Shell but you might wonder what it looks like now. Shell Group meets each Monday in term time from 5:30 to 6:30p.m. With space on our register for up to 24 children from 5 to 11 (school years 1 to 6), we have a regular attendance between 15 and 20. Four of us share organisational responsibility with the assistance of some of the parents who have 'volunteered' to take their place on the rota. Our aim is to give the children as varied a program as is possible, using our own gifts and skills and by inviting in experts to share with them. We cut, stick, draw and glitter, we run, jump and play team games, we have had visits from the police, a dentist and Jack Cherry & his juice maker (google it!), we've had a go at Zumba and are hoping to learn some self defence, we have been to the fire-station, bowling, the cinema and the pantomime. Each child pays £1.50 subs each week, and over the year this funds the equipment, ticket prices and the weekly juice and biscuits. Shell Group is by no means a quiet hour (apart from the week we did a sponsored silence!) but it is fun, and reports from parents tell us the children love it.
In fact, some of the Shell Group children loved it so much they didn't want to leave - and without the older children leaving we had no space for new younger children - so we have developed a new group "A Chance to Be Me". Currently 10 children aged from 11 to 13 (school years 6 to 8) come together each Monday in term time between 6:30 and 7:30p.m. to do whatever they choose. In keeping with the name of the group, as adults we are present in the building to keep the children safe but we leave them to their own devices to plan (or not) their activities and their finances. We have been roped into their games, privileged to watch the dances, stand up comedy and plays that they have created, been asked to judge their bake off and invited to join their "pizza & a movie" Christmas celebration.
It is wonderful to see both groups doing so well, and another generation of children learning that Altofts Methodist Church is a fun, welcoming place to be. If you would like to get involved with either group (whether to offer regular help, or perhaps a one off session idea) then we would be thrilled to hear from you. Or if you know of a child who might like to join in then that would be fabulous too. Just contact me for more information. (kate.Sadler@talktalk.net)
Chance To Be Me
...meets after Shell Group and is a chance for our young people to socialise and organise their own activities, with adults on hand to supervise.