There seem to be two prevailing styles of Vacation Bible School out there today– one that has the children in the same room for the whole week and one that has them switching rooms every day.
Each of these has benefits for the students and the teachers, but each of them also has potential downfalls. I am personally in favor of having the children in the same room all week, but I believe that having them switch also has its place.
Having The Kids In The Same Room All Week
The biggest reason I believe that this is the most beneficial way of running a VBS is the bond that can be formed between the students and the teacher. In one week, you will probably know the names of all the children in the group, you may have a good idea of their spiritual aptitude, if not whether they are saved, and they will know you.
The crafts can be more intricate, because you can spend multiple nights working on them. The same can be said about helping them to memorize more verses, and to actually show an interest in their lives.
The problems can arise because there is more work needed on the part of the leaders. You have to be interesting every night (which can get difficult near the end of the week). You plan all of your crafts, instead of having a one-night easy craft. You will also get compared against other classes and what they are doing.
Having The Kids In Different Rooms Each Night
The biggest benefit here is in “theme-ing” and lesson preparation. Because you have a specific night, instead of 7 to prepare for, your theme can be very specific. You also only have one craft to prepare, one lesson to memorize, and as long as your careful and don’t “peak” too early, it’ll still be interesting by the end of the week, and you’ll probably be ready for any question.
The downsides here is that you may never know the kids names, or reach them on a more than very superficial level since you only will have them for a short period of time, that you will not be able to really know what was taught before to be able to build on it, and that you’re more detached from the kids.
What have you done in your VBS, and how effective do you feel it has been?