Toddlers finished for the summer early in July. The team were given instructions to rest, the parents instructions to ‘Toddle to the Park’ with friends and Chris and Pattie to enjoy the peace and quiet that the summer break affords them!
We had a good year with a steady number of 70/80 families each day. We are still having to turn people away on occasions.
We ended the year with our end of term service. The theme was ‘God made each one of us in an amazing and wonderful way’ Psalm 139:14. Heidi Adams read the story of Choco, a little yellow bird who sets off into the jungle to find a mother to love him – a mother who looks just like him. He finds Mrs Bear, who, although she looks nothing like him, loves him and her other children with a deep love, just as he is, in the same way that God loves us. ‘Like a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wing’ and as a Father loves his children.
We ‘row, rowed our boats’ down the stream. We met lots of animals as we stomped and galloped and slithered into the jungle. And we sang ‘If I were a butterfly’ as we thought about difference and being loved for who we are. We ended our service by printing our fingerprints on a big heart, which reminded us again that we are ‘ made in an amazing and wonderful way.’
Then we said goodbye to the children leaving us for school or nursery in September. We reminded them that they will meet all sorts of new people and friends at school but that it’s ok to be different: to look different, to like different things, to be good at different things, to eat different things. God loves each one of us just as we are.
It is always sad to see our pre schoolers move on from Toddlers. We pray that we have nurtured each one of them and helped them to develop the confidence and self assurance which comes from knowing that they are loved and cherished for who they are. We ended our service with the hymn ‘One More Step Along the World I Go’ as we marched off into the long summer holidays…
Mother Theresa once said “We Shall never know all the good a simple smile can do.” Many parents have expressed to the team over the past few weeks what a difference their smiles and welcome on a Monday/Tuesday morning have made to them. A couple of them said that the St John’s Toddler Team were the reason they had ‘made it through’ their children’s early years. One mum wrote in a card to all of us:
“Words cannot express how much I am grateful. You have been like a big family for us, with a lot of grandparents, aunties and uncles and cousins. Friends to share the experience.
You and your staff are great. You’re friendly, welcoming, caring people!
We love you, God bless you!”
Toddlers starts again on Monday 10th September. If you have a smile and can spare two hours on a Monday or Tuesday morning, to set out toys, to chop cheese, to serve coffee, to chat to, pray with or generally encourage parents in caring for their young children then please email me. We always need more people on team for Toddlers. Or if you are free on Wednesday mornings we would love help with the creche for our FaithChat Group.
“Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.” Mother Theresa.
Kate Diwakar – Toddler Pastor