By Lane Vaughn, Technical Writing Intern
First Baptist Concord Church provides a warm and welcoming learning environment for children on any level. The Sonshine Kids class for elementary aged children with special needs meets at the church in Farragut every Sunday morning at 10:45 AM until noon.
Sonshine Kids consists of fun and faith-filled group activities, arts and crafts, and interactive learning—all adapted to meet children at any skill level. The class is lead by qualified special needs teachers and youth volunteers, and takes place in a suite of rooms that are designed and equipped to accommodate a wide range of disabilities. These accommodations include activity areas with hardwood floors for easy mobility, an attached quiet room, a changing room, and secure access to an outside courtyard
Other elements of the rooms are designed to promote learning and help kids experience the world around them in unique ways. There is an interactive alphabet (for example, the letter “K” is covered with keys), a sensory table, and even tactile wall murals depicting the Bible stories of Noah’s Ark and Jonah and the Whale. Each room is safe, user friendly, and inviting.
Steve Peek, a pastor at First Baptist Concord, has worked with the special needs ministry for over 25 years. After starting Helping Hands, a ministry that provides life skills training and opportunities for young adults with special needs who have graduated high school, Peek saw the need to expand the ministry to include younger children. Sonshine Kids was the result.
“Our number one goal for any ministry is to help people to experience God’s love,” said Peek.
“Sonshine Kids gives the parents an opportunity to feel comfortable going to worship or small group knowing that their child is not only being accepted, but being loved and taught.”
Peek says the parents can benefit from the class by being able to attend worship together, with the peace of mind that their child is well cared for. He says it benefits the children by providing a comfortable and fun learning environment. Peek loves seeing “the excitement [the children] have being able to walk in that room, knowing that there are familiar faces there to greet them, prepared to spend the whole morning of Bible School doing activities with them.”
Beyond the Sonshine Kids classes on Sunday, the special needs ministry at First Baptist Concord plans a range of fun events and family activities each year. These include bowling nights, baseball games, and even trips to Dollywood. It also hosts monthly family support groups.
Peek says Sonshine Kids is equipped and ready to receive any child who is interested. For more information about Sonshine Kids, or any other aspect of the special needs ministry at First Baptist concord, visit fbconcord.org/ministries, or call their office at 865-966-9791.
You can also email Steve Peek with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.