The Current SituationIf you've not heard, teachers in West Virginia went on strike and won. Now teachers in other states are looking at following suit. Oklahoma teachers are closely watching the state legislation to determine whether or not they will be going on strike April 2, 2018. If you have a heart for children, you know education is important. The protests, strikes, and walkouts center on money for school supplies, teacher pay, and pensions. This is not a political post. Whether you support this move by teachers or not, you still have a unique opportunity to minister to the children and families in your community.
What happens if teachers walk out?Problem #1: If Oklahoma teachers follow through and walkout this April, that will mean nearly 700,000 children will be at loose ends. There's an old adage that says something like: "Bored kids will create their own trouble." What is there for the children in your state to do if school is canceled due to a teacher walkout? Problem #2: Working parents will then be left with two choices:
- Miss work to care for their children.
- Find another place for their children to be while school is closed.
How churches can minister to familiesIs your state planning a teacher walkout like West Virginia or Oklahoma? Seize the opportunity to share God's love with your community and reach kids for Christ! Provide a safe place for children to play while parents work. Here are some ways to prepare:
- Ask available volunteers to come in shifts.
It's unlikely that you'll find someone willing to stay all day.
- Begin running background checks now for all potential volunteers.
- Consider partnering with other local churches.
- Watch the news.
If roomers begin that your state's teachers may go on strike, begin advertising ASAP! Let the families in your community know you are a safe place to bring their children if teachers walk out.
- Ask volunteers from your church to donate lunch and snacks.
- Be sure to get emergency contact information for each child.
- Provide alternating periods of free time and structured play. (See activity suggestions below.)
- Take a moment to share the Gospel (and maybe another Bible lesson).
Preschool Activity Ideas
- Activities for Preschoolers from Hands On As We Grow
- Preschool Activities for Kids from Education.com
- Games & Activities for Preschoolers from Family Education
- 25 Surefire Indoor Play Ideas from a Preschool Teacher's Bag of Tricks from Parent Map
- Remember that preschoolers like repetition (as long as a little bit of change is also included)
- Be sure to stock up on bubbles! These are great for kids wanting to go home.
Elementary Activity Ideas
- 11 Simple Kids Activities for Mixed Age Kids from the Artful Parent
- 40 Boredom-Busting Activities to Do With the Kids (for the craft-minded) from Good Housekeeping
- 25 Easy Activities for Kids in 10 Minutes or Less from Living Well Mom
- Giant List of Indoor Activities for Kids (toddlers to tweens) from What We Do All Day
- Obstacle courses are also fun for this age. Let the kids design it and set it up. Then take turns running it. Time kids. See if they can improve their time on a second or third run.
Youth Activity Ideas
- Top 15 Indoor Games And Activities for Teens from Mom Junction
- Fun Activities for Teenagers from Love to Know
- 40+ Easy Crafts for Teens & Tweens from Happiness is Homemade
- Teen Crafts that AREN'T stupid (That's really what the post is named.) from A Little Craft in Your Day
- Remember that a basketball court, place to skateboard, gaming console, etc. work great for teens.