At First Moravian Church we believe we are all fearfully and wonderfully made by God. Just as the psalmists writes in Psalms 139:14 “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” God has made each of us a beautiful creation. But we live in a world that says some are better than others, some will go farther than others, and some are more deserving than others. As Christians, we know better! We try every day to live lives that reflect our love for God and our love for others. We also understand that there are times when the church consciously or unconsciously can be like the disciples who held back the children from coming to Jesus. (Matthew 19:13-15) It is out of our love for God, our love for others and wanting to move aside any hindrance, that we have created two sensory rooms, a Sensory Resource Room and Wiggle Pews.
“A sensory room—a therapeutic space with a variety of equipment that provides students with special needs with personalized sensory input—helps these children calm and focus themselves so they can be better prepared for learning and interacting with others.” (Sensory Room 101, Betty Ray) First Moravian Church created two rooms with two different functions. Our Deep Space Room is our quieter calming space. Calming Rooms, such as ours, “can be used to equipment help children to diffuse excess energy and aggression. After just a few minutes, kids can chill out and re-set their mood to get ready to sit, focus and learn for hours. This calm-down sensory room can benefit all children and is especially effective in reducing disruptive behaviors from aggression, anxiety, or frustration.” (Build Your Own ChillSpa Sensory Room) Our second room is our Sky High Room. This room is our big muscle and movement room. This is the place for play and action. Rooms like this one can be used to help reduce disruptive behavior; Supports self-esteem and academic progress, aids challenges of ADHD, learning delays, sensory issues and autism, provides tools for life to address social, emotional and sensory needs and whole-body strategy helps students refocus through purposeful movement. (Action Room – Advanced) Both of our rooms are available for reservation to Speech Therapists, Occupational Therapists, and Physical Therapists through our online reservation service.
First is also working on creating a Sensory Resource Room. We will be providing books and toys that can be checked out, used at home and then returned to the Sensory Resource Room. It is also our hope to provide directions for making simple toys that can use at home to help families expand the work of the therapy sessions and the playgroup.
We are currently hosting a Sensory Play Group which is a collaborative effort between York/Adams County Early Intervention Program, Connections Early Intervention and Supports, and the First Moravian Church. Liz Jones, occupational therapist, and Rande Fregm, Behavior Specialist developed and implemented this group at First to serve children and families in the surrounding areas. The group continues to grow as the need for playgroups like this that allow children to interact while receiving the specialized interventions they may need. This group also provides an opportunity for parents to interact with each other and find a place of support and education. If you are interested in knowing more about the playgroup please contact Liz or Rande at Connect@ConnectionsEIAS.com
Our Wiggle Pews were the very first element we, as a church, put into action. These Wiggle Pews are for families. Families are encouraged to sit with their children as their children explore and participate in the worship service. We know kids wiggle, make noises and get bored. But we also know that children listen and absorb more than we realize. When children see their family participating in worship through prayer, singing, greeting one another, listening to the sermon or looking up the scripture reference, children learn how to actively participate in worship. Our Wiggle Pews have books and quiet toys for children to play with during the service. Parents may use the nursery or the sensory rooms before, during or after the service if their child needs some space, self-granulation or a diaper change. If parents do use the nursery or sensory rooms during worship we would like everyone to come back and rejoin the worship service when they are able.
We also are offering (September-May) a KidsFest program where children are invited to attend after the Bible Story Time in worship. KidsFest is sort of like Sunday School during worship. No child is required to go to KidsFest.
As always First Moravian Church is still learning. Come and join us on this new adventure! Help us to learn and grow! So more and more people can know they are beautifully and wonderfully made!!