Junior Orthodox Youth, ministers to children in 3rd through 6th grade. The span from 3rd to 6th grade is a large one, and within it there are great variances in maturity.
The following are some general observations that apply to most elementary school children:
They are very enthusiastic, responsive, and appreciative of youth group activities.
They very much respect and look up to adults and are eager to please them.
They have short attention spans coupled with an inherent curiosity.
They have a tendency for separation between males and females.
They have limited ability for abstract thinking.
Though all children in JOY Ministry share many common characteristics, it is helpful to look at somedifferences. As advisors, we need to keep these characteristics in mind as we prepare to serve our children. Providing them with a supportive and accepting environment will continually help them build and strengthen their self-image in regard to God’s plan for them.
THE 3RD TO 4TH GRADE JOY CHILD
During this period of development, young children are exploring and refining skills learned at earlier ages. Physically, they have all the basics down (running, bike riding, cutting with scissors, etc.), but the quality is not as precise as it is for the older child (an important thing to consider when playing games). Intellectually, children are able to look beyond the surface of things to understand what is
causing a certain result. Their ability to understand feelings has matured, causing them to be less focused on themselves. With this new understanding, they are now able to consider the feelings of others before acting.
THE 5TH TO 6TH GRADE JOY CHILD
The pre-adolescent child is on the verge of some big changes in his or her life. They are still children but may occasionally question certain childhood concepts or activities. Physically these children are more skilled than their younger friends. With the teenage years quickly approaching, some of these children will enter puberty during this pre-adolescent stage. This can greatly impact how a young person perceives him or herself. Social cliques become more prevalent at this age. Although they still group themselves into same-sex groups, they are becoming more interested in the opposite sex. Their ability to understand emotions continues to grow more complex, allowing them to process multiple feelings at one time
PRAYER FOR THOSE WHO MINISTER TO YOUTH
O Lord our God, You who said, “Let the little children come to me,” bless us who faithfully minister to Your children. Guide us, O Lord, as Your youth workers and teachers in the vineyard of the Faith, so that we may provide a fruitful ministry to the young people we serve. Help us to speak to their hearts in both our words and deeds, so that You may dwell in them. Assist us to effectively communicate Your love to them so that they may comprehend and know You, God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Strengthen us O Lord, as we continually direct them toward You, and that through You, they may be unified by the love of Christ and be filled with Your loving kindness.
We thank You O Lord our God, for the rich and abundant blessings You continually bestow on us. May these blessings be a source of inspiration, joy and love to us. We lift up our prayers to You, O Christ our God, the light of our souls and bodies, together with Your all holy good and life giving Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages, Amen