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Vacation Bible School: Children learn through hands-on experience

LaMaray Moultrie, VBS student, saws a piece of wood to create a dradle as his friend Alex Villa watches during last year’s Vacation Bible School at the Spiritual Life Center. This year’s VBS will be June 9-13. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

LaMaray Moultrie, VBS student, saws a piece of wood to create a dradle as his friend Alex Villa watches during last year’s Vacation Bible School at the Spiritual Life Center. This year’s VBS will be June 9-13. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Published: May 29, 2014

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (May 29, 2014) -- Learning through interaction is the focus of Fort Rucker’s Vacation Bible School, as children will learn through hands-on experiences to create lasting memories.

This year’s VBS will run June 9-13 from 8:30-11:30 a.m. at the Spiritual Life Center, with the theme, “Covenant Adventure – God calls his people,” said Nancy Jankoski, Fort Rucker Religious Support Office director of religious education.

Each day during the event will cover a different lesson that will offer children experiences to learn about the Bible. Although different faith groups have different lessons they learn, Jankoski said that Fort Rucker’s VBS will focus on what makes the faith groups similar, rather than what sets them apart.

“We’re using a multiplicity of faith groups,” she said. “All of the groups that are involved in Vacation Bible School will have a Christian base, such as Catholic, Protestant, Latter-day Saints, Evangelical Pentecostals, and more, which will all cooperate together on this annual event. Instead of zeroing in on the things that the various faith groups differ on, we’re going to focus on what do all people who believe in Christ have in common.”

Throughout the week, children will take part in events based on different covenants throughout the Bible.

June 9 will be Noah’s covenant, where children will learn about how God spares a Family and renews the world; June 10 will be Abraham’s covenant, where God works with one man to bless all mankind; June 11 will be Moses’ covenant, where children will learn about when God gave people good rules to live by; June 12 will be David’s covenant, where God will provide a leader for His people; and June 13 will be the New covenant, when they learn that Jesus is God’s promised savior.

The events that children will take part in are meant to have them utilize all five of their senses, because Jankoski said that’s the best way to get them to learn and have a good time.

“We want them to learn by actually putting themselves in the story,” she said. “You use all five senses that God gave you – you smell things, you taste things, you touch things, you see things and you hear things, and that’s how we want our children to learn. That way they can create a lasting memory.”

The children will have the opportunity to bake bread straight out of biblical times in a bakery, and build toys, such as boats and wooden sheep at the carpentry station, all under expert adult supervision.

Although the focus is on learning through fun and interaction, the main focus is on the safety of the children, said the director.

One of the main events throughout VBS will be during the Moses covenant, where children will actually be able to take part in and experience the parting of the Red Sea. There will be an event set up where children will learn about Moses and how he freed his people from the tyranny of the Egyptians.

They will experience the parting of the sea and get to walk through the waves, all while being pursued by the Egyptian army. The army won’t be as fortunate to make it through the Red Sea, however, as volunteers will be on standby to make sure the waves “come crashing down” on the Egyptian army, simulated with water hoses and squirt guns.

In addition to the parting of the Red Sea, children will be able to participate in a Hebrew writing class, where they can learn to write their name; a Bible story camp, where they can experience Bible stories under simulated stars; a musical instrument shop, where children can learn about the musical instruments of the time; and even a Bible-time beauty salon, where girls can learn about makeup of the times and boys can learn how to shave.

“It’s all about learning through interaction,” said Jankoski. “We want them to use all of their senses to learn, not to learn the way I did growing up – through worksheets and reading.”

There will be too many events for one child to experience them all, and that’s the goal, said the director.

“We would rather have the children not be able to experience absolutely everything than have them not experience enough,” she said.

Parents can sign their children up early or on the days of the event, as long as there is room, said Jankoski. The age groups range from kindergarten through sixth grade, and will be based on the child’s fall 2014 grade. There is also an option for parents with preschool-age or special-needs children to go through the program with their children.

“We don’t want to turn anyone away, so even if we have to put a child in a different age group just so they can experience the program, we’ll do that,” she said. “As long as we have the room, we’ll try to get you in here.”

For more information, to register or volunteer, call 255-3946, or visit the religious education center.

This article was originally published at http://www.army.mil/article/126967/

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