Abounding love and hugs! That’s what you get on Wednesdays when you arrive for Story Hour and Little Lambs at Faith Christian Reformed Church, in Pella, Iowa. The well-prepared team welcomes bouncing, excited children who come for stories, snacks and play. These simple, yet important activities have a huge ripple effect on children, families and volunteers.
Rosie and Cassie are a mother-daughter team who have led the Story Hour and Little Lambs for more than ten years. They have a great set of volunteers — including three grandpas! And each week the team prepares crafts, snacks, songs and stories with the goal of creating a clean, safe environment in which little ones are unconditionally loved.
The welcoming environment has lasting impact on the lives of the children God sends their way. For many children, the play and learning experiences they receive at Little Lambs (ages 2-3) and Story Hour (ages 4-5) are their first opportunity to experience real “school.” They feel important putting on name tags, joining the group for stories and taking their set of story cards home. Cassie and her leaders are amazed by how much young children learn and remember from week to week. And Little Lambs leader Leanna once had a mother describe how her children play “Little Lambs” at home — with one child taking on the role of their leader, Leanna!
God’s love ripples home in other ways too. Each week the children receive a beautifully illustrated Bible story card so that the stories may be read to them at home. The collection of story cards, when tucked into a binder, create a special and cherished storybook for many families. One leader shared, “I have five storybooks at my house! All five of my kids have attended, or are attending, Story Hour! The kids’ faces light up when they finally get their own binder.” On top of that, each week a different child gets a turn to take home the group’s Prayer Bear. Often times moms say it is hard for these little friends to part with Prayer Bear and bring him back the following week. They love it when it’s their turn to take the Prayer Bear home.
Story Hour and Little Lambs have a great reputation in the Pella community. Leaders continue to hear compliments from families about the impact of the program even after the children have grown out of it. Rosie says, “It does this grandma’s heart good when I see a former or present Story Hour child when I’m out and about in the community and they want to come and talk to me and say hi. I feel like I’ve been blessed to be able to leave an impression on their lives — hopefully helping little seeds of faith grow in their hearts.”
What are the ripple effects of your Story Hour or Little Lambs? Please share your stories in the comments below or email [email protected].
If you would like to learn more about Story Hour and Little Lambs, check out the materials on the Faith Alive website and watch a recent Story Hour and Little Lambs training webinar. Additionally, check out the Coffee Break website and Facebook page.