Kindergartens: Impact AND Sustainability?

Observation: Running a kindergarten (a little school for little kids aged 3-5) might be a new way for new [emerging] churches to impact their community and become more sustainable at the same time.

Last week in Macedonia, we listened to leaders from the Glasnost community in Skopje talked about their kindergarten for Romany children. They actually pay the mothers a small sum to let their children attend kindergarten rather than beg on the streets with them. By teaching the children how to read and write, they are breaking the poverty cycle. Now they are looking into primary schooling so they can continue helping the same kids.

Last year we were in Belgium and went to visit Frank’s church, the Lighthouse. Frank is part of the Jesus Freak movement in Europe and runs a kindergarten in Antwerp as a social enterprise. I think their kindergarten might be the primary outreach of the church. Bram – I know you are reading this. Would you agree?

At the Lighthouse, we met some Vineyard pastors who were planning to start a kindergarten in Germany and were getting some ideas from Frank. Good, I thought. When the German Vineyard interviewed me a few years ago I suggested they move towards greater sustainability through social enterprise. But I never thought about kindergartens.

What about you? Have you seen other kindergartens like this? Has anyone written a how-to guide?

Andrew

Andrew Jones has been blogging since 1997. He is based in San Francisco with his two daughters but also travels the globe to find compelling stories of early stage entrepreneurs changing their world. Sometimes he talks in the third person. Sometimes he even talks to himself and has been heard uttering the name "Precious" :-)

2 Comments

  • Yes I am reading this…
    I do think they want to do more outreach with the café/church format, but since they’re still using the building of the vineyard that’s more something for the future. And I think Frank is also active in evangelism projects with other people too, sometimes. But the kindergarten is probably their main outreach. Not all the people working there are from lighthouse, some are from other churches though.
    (in fact it is a pre-kindergarten daycare mainly for children of 6 months-3 years before they go to the actual ‘kleuterschool’, which is a pre-primary school here for children age 3-6. I don’t know the correct english terms though…)
    I have actually been working in Franks Kindergarten for some months this spring. It was a real great experience. There are a whole variety of very small children, from rich to poor and from belgian to all other nationalities. They sing christian songs with the children and stuff, but I think the most important thing is the loving atmosphere. You feel it, and it must have an impact on the children that they will take with them in their later life…
    Franks vision is very impressive and blessed. It is something new (the first christian kindergarten thing of this type in belgium ever!) and something that’s needed. It’s something that can impact lives in a very natural way (not only the children, also the parents…)
    (and oh, if you happen to be in the neigborhood, frank has the violet burning here in the vineyard building this summer on august 15)
    peace
    Bram

  • I don’t think churches having nurseries is anything new. But one thing my wife does for a couple of hours a week is running a crèche for children of refugees/asylum seekers while they are learning English through a Christian based charity that we work with as volunteers.

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