I\’m here at Ridgecrest Conference Center with the rest of our Vacation Bible School team introducing Lifeway’s 2011 VBS theme, the Big Apple Adventure: Where Faith and Life Connect. It’s already been an absolutely great event, and we\’ve just started! This afternoon, I taught an elective breakout session on Preschool Rotations and tomorrow, I\’ll be teaching about VBS Family NIghts. I’ve had a great time getting to connect with friends from around the country who come every year to preview the curriculum. Many of these friends serve on teams who will take what they\’ve learned here and go back to their state associations and help local churches prepare for this summer’s VBS weeks. It’s an exciting time — and I wish you were here! (Click here to find out where our next preview event is so you can join us!)
I\’m sharing a classroom with another session leader, who will be displaying some fun ideas for decorating for Vacation Bible School. I’ve noticed over the years that the breakouts on decorating always have a packed house. People come equipped with cameras, videos, and now cell phones to record as many new ideas as possible to take home in preparation for their VBS. This brings me to my burning question for this month: Classroom Decor – Enhancement or Distraction?
So many of my Childhood Leadership friends have faced this question in their ministry – not just during VBS, but as a general rule. On one hand, some would say that too much on the walls and in the room can be overstimulating to children who are primarily visual learners. On the other hand, some feel that blank walls make the environment seem sterile and uninviting. The argument can be made that decorations are more for the parents than the children. And while opponents might agree with that statement – they may add that parents are the ones making the decision whether or not to bring their child to your church – so we should cater to them.
So – where do you stand on the issue? Are you a Plain Jane or a Fancy Nancy when it comes to decor in your hallways? Now’s your chance to let us know why! Look forward to hearing from you!
For VBS Definatly go all out – but for other times during the year I am more plain jane – But VBS is my focus all year:)
The days of sterile walls and non-descript environments are over. Kids (and parents) need a warm welcoming area that
says…’this is a great place planned just for kids’.
I was at Ridgecrest this past weekend as a state convention VBS leader and this subject come up in our Youth base conference. I believe decorations to be vital to the drawing of the students attention to the lesson. I think care has to be taken to not give the impression that the bigger you go with decoration, the better VBS you will have. I think of small churches who may not be capable of duplicating the sets and scenes and thus feeling unsuccessful in their efforts. I would just hate to see the content get lost in the decoration.
This is always a question in VBS trainings! Where we do the Worship Rally generally is more theme focused. It does provide an exciting environment for everyone. I’ve found that when rooms are theme-related, it reflects that teachers have made an effort and prepared for VBS. Following the advice of numerous trainers, preschool rooms are toned down in decoration. We are blessed to have teachers who make the Main Thing the Main Thing..no matter what may be the theme. You can have balance in this issue.
I believe balance is the issue. For elementary-aged children, I say go all out. But my primary focus is preschoolers and I believe the younger they are, the more simple the decorations need to be. For our Preschool Worship Rally, which uses the music and puppets with threes – Kindergarten, we go over the top. In the activity rooms, we tend to keep it rather simple, and in the Bible story rooms, we do very little with the twos and threes, a little more for Pre-K4, and quite a bit in Kindergarten classes. The secret is to know your ages’ characteristics and keep the areas age-appropriate. I liked the comment that was made to “Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing”. What preschoolers learn and do will stay with them much longer than the decorations. And that goes for one-year-olds, as well.
I’ve led VBS for the past 7 years. I feel that maybe too much emphasis has been placed on the decorations. We love to do the best we can in setting up our main worship area to carry out the theme. We have left it up to each teacher to carry out the rest. Money and time becomes a huge factor for most of us. I do believe the kids enjoy the decor and helps them feel the mood of the theme each year. If the process of decorating takes away from presenting the real reason for VBS….that is where the problem could be. But………..that process also gets others involved and there we have fellowship! It brings in people to help that may not help anywhere else. Bottom line…I think decorations are wonderful as long as we are still presenting God’s word and meeting the needs of the children.