AUTHOR: Katie Wetherbee and Jolene Philo
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2015, (176 pages).
The book can be used as a planning tool that helps one to prepare programs suitable for special needs children; a cookbook of recipes for teaching activities; a menu of options of ideas, lessons, and background information; plus specialized information for specific situations. Packed with time-tested methods and plans, the book is a buffet of exciting ideas that can be used straight out of the book. There are simple prayers about how to welcome children; prepare fellow workers; guide parents; and encourage the children. There are activities that are easy to prepare and extremely practical to implement. The big challenge of course is the execution part of it. With care, the authors point out the innate need of such children to be affirmed, understood, and receive compassion. That is what the title of the book is about: Welcoming every child and making every child feels welcome. It begins with a welcoming heart. I appreciate the emphasis on teaching biblical truths, which make the book equally useful for Church Educators or other Christian communities having childcare facilities; Sunday Schools; Summer School; and other programs. The suggestions for the various activities do not just stop there. Wetherbee and Philo even list down specific items that we can easily get from the neighbourhood dollar shops or department stores. Every chapter oozes with ideas and actitivities.
Now, readers may be wondering, what are the kinds of special needs children? Surely there are too many to list? The sample ministry statement show us that not knowing the specifics does not necessarily render us helpless. We can start from a general perspective and adapt accordingly. I appreciate the two-fold mission statement:
- To help our church become a place where children with special needs and their families are welcomed and included as full participants in the life of the church.
- To help children with special needs know, love and share the Lord.
It really takes someone experienced in special needs children in order to write such an important book. While there are many Sunday School and kids' material on the Internet, there are very few that address the needs of special needs children and educators. It is a specialized area of training. Thankfully, this book has been written to enable more people to understand the nuances and the planning needed to make every child feel welcome. Perhaps, in learning how to deal with special needs individuals, we may begin to realize how much we have taken our own physical abilities for granted. We may complain less. We may even see things from a more humble perspective. The biggest value in reading this book is that when we try to make every child feel welcome, we learn to treat others with greater care and dignity.
Rating: 4.5 stars of 5.
This book is provided to me courtesy of Kregel Publications in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.