July 23, 2024

All In One Room or Multiple Rooms?

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?

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4 thoughts on “All In One Room or Multiple Rooms?

  1. Our VBS is pretty large. We have stations, where the kids go one place for crafts, another for stories, another for games, and another for snacks. The same lead person is in charge of each station every day. (separate lead people for each activity) Also, each group of kids has several counselors that rotate with them through each activity.

    It’s really the best of both worlds. The kids move around a lot, so they don’t get bored, and the counselors work with the kids for the entire day, so they get to know the kids really well.

  2. Actually, now that I think about it, I have done a VBS like you’re talking about Lynnae. I guess I was the teacher in that setting, so I was always teaching, but I still felt a little detached from the kids because I didn’t know them. Perhaps it was because I came from a background where I had them the whole time (or I was with the same person the whole time).

    The benefits of this schema to me would be that you do get to have someone that’s with them all the time, and each person can use their gifts (i.e. the exciting storyteller). And you’re right, the kids get to move.

    It does give a good balance, but I’m still partial to the “have the kids in the same place” model.

  3. I think the reason they went to the model you see now (one person who does the Bible lesson for all the kids, rotating in and out throughout the evening/day) is that they can’t find enough committed people to do it the other way (each person stays with their group and teaches the lesson, does the craft, etc). The rotating around requires only a “crew chief” to supervise each group but very little commitment and then only ONE person confident enough to teach the lesson. I find this sad. But people are busy, not sure of themselves enough, etc.

  4. This is what I’ve seen, Jana, and why I think Lynnae’s method can work, but often times does not. I find the same thing– the person that does stay with the kids all the time– is more like a babysitter than a spiritual leader. They’re more interested in getting people where they have to go and watching for bad behavior than they are in actually leading the kids spiritually.

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