Back to School 2023
Let’s face it. In January, we all become a little bit selfish… and fair enough as well!
The end of the year for a lot us will be the one last big push before we take a well deserved break and holiday. ESPECIALLY well deserved for those of us who work and volunteer with children - we know it can be a lot of effort to put in the hard yards sometimes! But don’t let that distract you from what can be THE MOST CRUCIAL AND BENEFICIAL part of the year for you and your ministry!
Get some time back! Use our school holiday packs and spend your free time planning for back to school, praying for your children or just get some rest preparing for what's coming next!
The start of the school year is a precious and valuable time to show up and be there in children’s and families lives to not just show that you care about them, but that they matter to you, matter to the church and matter to God. It’s an important time of discipleship in our children’s lives. As they journey through rites of passage and different transitions, we can build trust and relationships to have more than just shallow relationships and be super personal by communicating with our actions and words that “You matter and what matters to you matters.”
This year what we’re offering isn’t a physical product, but a reason and purpose to be there and show up. The wrap around for a gift that brings meaning through the thoughtfulness.
In previous years we’ve offered a gift to either be bought or we’ve given away for free. The idea being for you to give that gift in your settings as a way to acknowledge back to school for your children and families. We think YOU know your people better than we do. So this year we want to encourage you to do your own special things in your own special ways to acknowledge children and families as they head back to school. Below, we’ve offered some suggestions and ways that could work for you:
- In their mailbox. Write a back to school greeting card with personalised note, a small gift, a Family Time idea (eg. The Back to School Bucket List or New Year Planning Craft).
Back to School Gift Ideas: https://www.pinterest.nz/Giftcards_dot_com/back-to-school-gift-ideas/
Back to School Bucket List: https://children.salvationarmy.org.nz/resource/back-school-family-bucket...
New Year Planning Craft: https://children.salvationarmy.org.nz/resource/activity-new-year-plannin...
On their doorstep. With iceblocks, to hang out, to hear about what’s coming up this term/year, and to pray with them.
In spirit. Chalk bomb their driveway - write an encouraging message, make a backpack tag or note to be present with them beyond the moment - a backpack blessing service.
Something tangible. Perhaps one of the suggestions above would work great! Or you’ve got some ideas of your own you want to use.
A personal encouragement. Make sure your children feel SEEN AND HEARD for who they are as individuals.
God. Let’s not forget the reason we do this. We want to lead our children and their families into relationship with Jesus and into the presence of the Holy Spirit. When we show up, let’s show up to encourage encounters! Our kids and families expect us to show up ‘with’ God – so let’s not disappoint.
Jesus. Show up, listen and connect. Be with the children in your care and build relationship and trust. Create community. Get to know your people beyond the programme. Pray with and for children and their families and allow yourself to create space for Holy conversation (and help children be attentive to God’s presence). Earn a role as safe friend and shepherd in your children and families lives so that we can help children see and identify God present and at work in their lives and discern how they feel called to respond.
We would strongly encourage you to focus on making a plan – and make it prior to Christmas break. So that come time for back to school, you’re ready to implement and possibly have a wider team of volunteers implement your plan. Pre-planning means you can take the break you deserve and still be there in a meaningful and intentional way as your children head back to school.
It’s time to start thinking now. Get a plan in place. Do you need to gather addresses/phone numbers? Delegate responsibilities? Pre-write cards? Purchase or make small gifts? Find out when your children actually head back to school so you don’t miss it?