Jesus for Kids – Priniths excitement at stepping out to teach children Worship Dance.

In 2019 Prinith joined a UC Grace training day that focused on teaching children dance and movement with your faith. It provided tools and tricks to enable an encounter of Jesus for kids using worship dance and movement as the stimulus. I caught up with Prinith to find out the impact that this training day had on her teaching children and engaging them in worship dance and movement.

One Big Rainbow feather fun – UC Grace

Q – Why was it important to develop your skills in teaching children dance and faith?

“I am a Tots Helper at my church, which is great because it means there is no pressure to be in charge, but I am allowed to lead little bits as I wish. I’m also really encouraged to dance at my church. One of my friend’s kids, before she knew my name, knew me as the ‘dancey lady’. Therefore, you have an impact by modelling it and I wanted to be able to equip our kids because dance is a natural way for them to engage in worship.”

“I’ve done Movement in Worship’s training the trainers course and within the Springs Dance Company apprenticeship there was a teaching module. But to adapt that for children, was interesting and what I really wanted to learn through attending the Jesus for Kids – teaching dance and movement training day.”

Q – What did you learn through attending the Jesus for Kids – Teaching Dance and Movement training day?

“Just how to create activities so they would learn through having fun. But also thinking about things, like how can a warm up lead me to the end point. The big thing that I learnt was the idea of exploration, like ‘here you go, let’s do this, let’s go through this’, whichever age you do it with, it will work for. They explore. But then you get to the end goal, having done all this exploration. That’s the key learning that I’ve taken from UC Grace – let’s explore this, let’s play and then we’ll get to the end point eventually.”

“I found it really useful on the training day, that we actually put into practice what we were learning and started using it straight away. For example we had a theme and we worked in pairs, came up with an idea and then delivered it.”            

Family Advent Fun – be a role model. UC Grace
One Big Rainbow exploration time (under 5s)

Q – How have you put into practise what you have learnt since then?

“I remember talking to my CDFB regional coordinator and she really encouraged me to put it into practise as soon as possible, which was a really helpful tip. If you do Anna’s workshop, you need to put it into practise as soon as possible, to cement what you’ve learnt and keep it fresh.”

“I led our tots session on the parable of the lost coin, it was great fun because we ‘sparkled and shone’, we ‘whistled while we worked’, and we hunted for it to James Bond music, which the adults loved music wise but went over the heads of the tots! What was also really good was, we have a little boy with Downs Syndrome, who decided that the craft activity (which was rubbing coins), was not for him. Instead he played ‘lets hide the coin, lets find the coin’ under the sofa. Which just proved that teaching children through movement taught them the story. He knew that we were looking for the lost coin.”

Q – What impact has it had on the children in your church?

“My church is a multi-site church, so there are children that don’t go to the same site as me, but they still seek me out to dance when we have our meeting together. There was one little boy last autumn that sought me out, and wanted to dance in the worship with me, because he’s known me and he’s seen me teach them, he’s seen me model it. He’d watched too much strictly, there were all kinds of moves, including slides across the floor! Then more recently, there was girl that was watching me dance. I had taught her movement at the church weekend away,but didn’t think she’d taken anything in, but she came and followed all my dance moves perfectly and danced with me, it was amazing, I have a huge soft spot for that little girl now!”

Drama, Dance and Craft. UC Grace

Q – What is one golden nugget that you go back to every time?

“Exploration!”

“Teaching children is probably the most exciting workshop I have ever done, and I’d encourage anyone who wants to grow in their teaching skills to seek training from UC Grace.”

Prinith de Alwis Jayasinghe leads the Movement in Worship Birmingham Base and goes to Churchcentral West in Birmingham.

Moving Rainbows session with youth helper

How can I find out more about Jesus for kids – Teaching dance and movement?

There are several options to learn more about sharing your faith using dance and movement with children. We regular run in person training days – full details available here on the website.

By the end of the 2020 there will also be the chance to do an online course. Additionally a comprehensive written manual is due for release in 2021. If you wish to be the first to hear when our online course launches, the written manual is available, as well as other events in our Jesus for Kids training then head here to let me know your details.

Creative activities painting
Creative Prayer and craft activity time at Little Rainbows – under 5s.

Teaching Children Dance and Movement Round Up

Teaching children dance and movement exercise one.

What a fantastic day we had learning from each other. The day was split up into 3/4 sections, in each section there was a talk and discussion, an exercise in pairs to put into action what was discussed and then a time of delivery – so practising what they had just planned. Everyone had such different ideas, it was great to spark off each other and encourage those that felt a little shy.

Section 1 – warm up and ice breakers

This is a really important part of the workshop which I chatted about in the blog post 6 Essentials when planning a dance worship workshop. The challenge here was introducing a theme and working out how to devise a warm up based around a theme. The topic of water came up as a common one, but some participants soon realised that they weren’t sure which bit of water to focus on.

Water is a good example of a topic that has so much possibility for a workshop. It’s a key feature in the Bible, creation and our journey of faith. Ideas for inclusion in a warm up included –

  • Ice – freeze/ still movements leading to melting and then adding travelling motion in.
  • River – how the water flows in and around rocks, some of the children being rocks and others being the water that passed around them.
  • Waves – the crashing sound, being tall and small. Rolling on the ground and stretching wide. Spinning a partner out and then having them roll back in along their partners arm.

All the above areas of water can be expanded and padded out loads after the initial warm up. Remember the warm up is an opportunity to have fun, get everyone moving and introduce a small part of the theme.

SAMSUNG CSC

Section 2 – Planning an under 5s workshop. We looked at Psalm 18.28-33 for this section.

“You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall. As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him. For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights.”

The sets of verses above provide some awesome imagery with which to design workshops and themes. We used this passage as a starting point thinking about a workshop for under 5s. Just a few things that came out of our initial discussion was:

  • Standing on a rock – strength
  • Light
  • Battle – warfare
  • Refuge
  • Like a travelling song
  • Perfection
  • Scaling a wall

Participants worked in pairs and looked at one section of the workshop plan (Read more about the 6 essentials when planning a dance worship workshop here) putting together an outline of movements, before then teaching it to the rest of the group.

Section 3 – Choreographing a dance for 5 – 11 year olds

How many of you have the song ‘My Lighthouse’ in your church? There are several different actions that have been put to the words of this song – your church might already use some. So, I thought it offered an opportunity for participants to choreograph something that they could use within a workshop or group of children.

Working in groups we looked at the different verses and put together some movement. You can check out what we did below.


We begun the day by looking at why we want to invest in children, what the Bible says and the reasons that brought the participants to the dance day. As we finished the day we spoke about how we can encourage a conversation of prayer during the workshops by having some creative prayer exercises. That by demonstrating how to dance and make it a conversation with God, you can encourage each child to have ownership of their journey of faith and conversation with God.

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