Kids Need Circle of Grace More Than Ever; Here's How to Teach It Virtually
We are so encouraged by the churches that are making plans for virtual Sunday school and other gatherings for kids through Zoom or other platforms. We know it can overwhelm teachers and coordinators, but we’re here to help!
Many elements of Circle of Grace, a safe environment curriculum, translates very well for virtual Sunday school. You can introduce Circle of Grace for the first time this fall even if you’ve never used it before! (Go here if you need a license or email anna [at] dovesnest.net if you need help logging in to access your online curriculum.)
During this pandemic, children are at risk for online abuse, for suicidal ideation, and for mental health concerns. This fall is the time to prioritize this instruction for all ages. While we fully acknowledge that this curriculum cannot replace professional interventions, it is a wonderful reminder to children that God loves their entire selves and wants them to be safe—and that their Sunday school teachers and adults at their church care about their whole lives too!
Here’s a small goal to demonstrate your church’s priority of keeping children safe: introduce one or two lessons this fall virtually for each classroom, and then finish in the spring, perhaps during April for Child Abuse Prevention Month. (The curriculum is completed in 1–4 lessons per year depending on the grade.)
Ideas for Virtual Instruction for Younger Grades:
- Play the Circle of Grace card game online: Use this free PowerPoint resource from Dove’s Nest for license holders only. Screen share the images, pausing with each slide, and have the children decide if this is something they would welcome in their Circles of Grace or something they would keep outside their Circles of Grace (see more in Grade 2: Lesson 1).
- Host a show and tell: Invite children to present an object that brings them comfort. Or email or mail them the logo coloring page found in the lessons and have children share their art with one another on Zoom.
- Meditation: Saying and doing the motions for the Circle of Grace Meditation works very well over Zoom! Here is a video about the meditation for teachers to view and share via screen share video with their classes. Also, here is a video of a child demonstrating the meditation.
Ideas for Virtual Instruction for Middle School Grades:
- Boundaries Conversations: The 5 Scenarios activity in Grade 6: Lesson 3 “Boundaries: Every Piece has Its Border” works well in a Zoom discussion for this age group. (If starting with this lesson, return to Lesson 1 and 2 later on, as those work better in person.)
- Video on Isolation: Another option is showing this short video on social distancing and isolation and leading the class through the discussion questions on the same webpage as the video.
Ideas for Virtual Instruction for Youth:
- A.C.T.I.O.N: This lesson is important for teens—many of whom are online more than ever. This is found as an alternate lesson for high school: “A.C.T.I.O.N.: Steps Needed When Concerns Don’t Go Away.” This list could be screen shared, with discussion of the examples following each letter below:
A – Attention: WHY you are uncomfortable?
C – Conscience: WHAT is it telling you?
T – Trust your instincts: The Holy Spirit PROMPTS us to be safe.
I – Information: What are friends or family saying about the person/situation?
O – Options: Look at all CHOICES. Which ones will keep you safe?
N – No one is alone: SEEK help from a trusted adult!
- Another timely and helpful high school alternative lesson is “Tech Savvy or Tech Safe?” These youth alternate lessons are available with the 2018 Circle of Grace curriculum update.
Finally, remember that any suspected abuse or abuse a child discloses to you (online or in-person) needs to be reported to the local authorities.
We are also providing new Circle of Grace material designed for home use for licensed organizations' families during this time of physical distancing. Contact Kathy [at] dovesnest.net or anna [at] dovesnest.net for more information.