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In "Creating Home," a Tapestry of Faith program
This activity brings decorations to the doorways of people in a residential setting. It is a short-term project if the children make the decorations for you or another adult to bring to the residential facility. It can be a long-term project if they visit the facility to bring the decorations and meet with residents or to join with residents to make decorations on-site at the facility.
Tell the children that they will create artwork to decorate the threshold of someone who lives not in a family home, but in a different kind of home. Explain that sometimes when people need special help or medicine every day, they share a home with others who have the same kinds of needs. At this kind of home, helpers such as doctors, nurses, and others are there all day and all night. Invite children to raise their hands if they know anyone who lives in a nursing home, assisted living home, or other group home. If no one has an example, offer an example from your own knowledge or experience.
Guide a discussion to explore ways a residential facility is like, and unlike, a family home. Some children may be familiar with residential facilities. You may correct any gross misinformation a child may offer, but do allow participants to speculate what it might be like to live in a residential facility. Use these questions to prompt discussion:
Introduce the idea that by making threshold decorations for someone who lives in a residential facility, children can bring the gift of attention and beauty to the residents' home, much as the boy did for his family in the story The Magic Vase.
If the children will not be visiting a facility, the discussion about a residential facility can take place while they are creating the decorations. While the children work, visit them individually, ask about their creations, and tell them how their artwork will add beauty and warmth to the threshold of a resident's room.
If you have arranged to bring the group to make decorations on-site at a residential facility, prepare the children for meeting residents. Explain that some residents may have difficulty hearing, seeing, or speaking, and that some may be seated in wheelchairs or use canes to help them walk. Tell the children they may need to say their names more than once or to walk slowly if they are walking with one of the residents. Encourage participants to be ready to tell residents that the Creating Home group is learning about how special the threshold is in a home.
Distribute permission forms and complete any other logistical preparations for the visit.
You may have children in your group who live now, or have lived, in foster care, in a half-way house, or in a residential facility. In your discussion, be careful to avoid assumptions that all children always do, or all should, live in family homes.
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Last updated on Friday, May 17, 2013.
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