The cast of Little Saints received rave reviews. But don't expect to see them on Broadway any time soon — showtimes are past their bedtimes. Most cast members, you see, are under 6 years old.
Theater is just one activity you can find at ELCA preschools, where kids learn about life and the world.
Little Saints was a fund-raising effort of the Children First Christian Preschool, affiliated with First Lutheran Church, Little Falls, Minn. A member of the community was drafted to write the script. Then the students spent a month in rehearsal. They learned the songs Jesus Loves Me, When the Saints Go Marching In and Our God Is an Awesome God.
The night at the dinner theater began with lasagna and dessert. Then it was showtime. The musical tells the story of saints who gradually convince a Scrooge-type character that God loves us.
.At the Robert H. Lange Christian Preschool, affiliated with Mount of Olives Lutheran Church, Mission Viejo, Calif., children are exposed to art, science, music, chapel, math, cooking, dramatic play and more. They go on field trips and special guests, like firefighters, sometimes visit the school.
The preschoolers also share their day with older adults. Mount of Olives sponsors a center that specializes in day-care for seniors with Alzheimer's disease and dementia. The preschoolers and seniors attend chapel together and share story-time once a week. Occasionally they meet for special projects, such as a flower-arranging class.
Students at Good Shepherd Lutheran Preschool, Albany, Ore., learned that recycling can be fun. They collected more than 500 empty milk jugs to build a 6-foot igloo. A contractor, Don Durst, whose child attends the school, used a hot glue gun to put the dome-shaped structure together. The igloo is part of the school's indoor play equipment.
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