City Harvest Children’s Church takes a holistic approach to child development.
|CN PHOTO: Bernard Yeo|
City Harvest Children’s Church was first started in 1993 at Westin Stamford Hotel, with an average attendance of 28 children. CHCC has since grown to more than 2,500 children, who attend one of the eight services conducted every weekend.
Beyond what is taught at Sunday school, CHCC also offers elective workshops to the children in the services. The purpose of these electives is to develop the children in a more holistic way and equip them to become all-rounded individuals in future.
Program executive, Constance Yong shares, “We don’t want our children to become ‘super-spiritual’ and be without EQ (emotional quotient) and AQ (adversity quotient). We want them to be able to speak their minds and be creative, just like the Bible characters. We achieve this through the electives, which expose the children to the world and allows them to be aware of the possibilities that they can be outside church.” She added that one never knows what the children would become one day—some may become singers or actors while others may become government ministers. CHCC aims to help the children to see the possibilities in their future and not limits.
Some of the electives offered previously to meet these objectives included getting accomplished individuals like Elim Chew to speak on social entrepreneurship, organizing excursions to museums, the NEWater plant and teaching them new skills such as T-shirt designing. Just last weekend, the children, aged 7 to 9, visited the Philatelic Museum and had a hands-on session in making stamps while children between 4 to 6 tried their hand at balloon-sculpting. Gabrielle Peters, 4, was all smiles at the end of the balloon-sculpting class and told her teacher, “This is so fun and exciting!”
Compared to the early days of CHCC where the electives were only conducted during the school holidays as enrichment programs, the electives are now provided for on a monthly basis, following the addition of a worship premise to the church at Singapore Expo in 2005. This change has shown to be well-received by parents. Jo-Ann Song, 38, mother of two, relates, “The electives help and prepare the children for the future. It also widens their exposure to activities that parents would not do on their own accord, possibly due to time and cost.”
To spice things up this upcoming June holidays for the kids, CHCC has come up with a spectrum of activities for kids. These activities will cater to children of all ages and provide opportunities for them to discover their interests in the arts. One of the key highlights is “Circus Tricks and Treats” where trainers will impart life skills through the process of learning circus tricks.
Another program the boys can really look forward to is the “Father and Son Camp” that allows them to bond with their dads through play. Activities such as treetop walks, paintball challenge and a high elements obstacle course are but a few of the line-ups in store to help create moments and precious memories between father and son. The girls are also not left out with a personal grooming course lined up for them. Former Miss Singapore International 2006/07, Genecia Luo, will be conducting this workshop, teaching basic grooming and social etiquette skills to help them.
Yet another endeavour that CHCC has embarked on is the forming of a kids’ band, which subsequently led to several musical productions. The Kids’ Band has led the adult church in praise and worship on several occasions, one of which was the church’s 20th anniversary celebrations. Till date, CHCC has also put up musical performances, drawing in capacity crowds.
|CN PHOTO: Albert Soh|
These program and opportunities have helped the children become more confident individuals. Many of them were very shy to begin with but being on stage has helped them to become bolder and more articulate. Aside from personal development, the long hours of practice have also allowed the children to forge meaningful friendships, teaching them to care and share for each other.
But of course, it is not all play at children’s church. The CHCC also seeks to develop the minds of the children through tuition programs by coaching them in their academics. Every week, a team of dedicated tutors guides the children in their studies with teaching materials being prepared in advance. It empowers the students to believe that they can do well in their studies and that no child is inferior.
CHCC has its own curriculum for teaching the children about God and the Bible. The curriculum, drawn up by church staff, is taught during weekly services. In each lesson, there will be a bible memory verse, activities and stories for the children, as well as a take-home worksheet for them to work on during the week. Apart from the weekend services, the CHCC team of 12 full-time staff and over 400 volunteers also makes weekly home visitations to the children, an effort initiated during the early days of CHCC. During these visitations, the children will be given Bible lessons by their visitation teachers and they, in turn, will share with their teachers about their lives.
The pervasiveness of technology has also brought on a whole new dimension to church for the children. CHCC now has its own website (www.chckids.org.sg), an e-learning portal, a blog and a Facebook page for both students and teachers. Why the need for this, some may ask. Yong explains, “The kids are into it and that’s why we do it.” The website not only informs and updates the children on the happenings in the children’s church but contains videos and photo archives of past activities. The blog and Facebook page allows the children to share their stories and make friends. Many of them are in touch with their teachers through online means, which has helped to foster stronger relationships and build a close-knit community in church.
At CHCC, everything is done to cultivate in the children a love for God. By planning activities that are interesting and lively, the team ensures that the children not only attend regularly, but look forward to doing so every week.
For more information on the upcoming electives, you can visit www.chckids.org.sg or call Adeline Wong at 9127-9144 or Wendy Wong at 9431-7441 during office hours.