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  • Writer's pictureBenjamin Lawson

The Littlest Ones Learn of Jesus

The adventures never cease for the Pre-K and Beginner programs located in the Children’s Building at Lake Junaluska. The programs are a blend of spiritual education and creative play, designed to instill a sense of wonder and awe of God’s word. This week, the children have delved into the stories of Joshua and Noah in their quest to learn about the love of God.

Ryan Ashlock, a dedicated father whose journey into the realm of early childhood programming began with his own daughter’s curiosity, continues to lead the Pre-K program. Through his efforts and the efforts of Rod London, Joe Pieretti, and many others, the ancient tales of Joshua and the battle of Jericho are brought to life. Each day concludes in a dramatic reenactment as the kids march around the walls of Jericho seven times before they come tumbling down, mirroring the biblical account. But no day would be complete without bubbles—a simple joy that unites children and adults alike in a moment of pure delight.

For the beginners, the story of Noah’s Ark, directed by Patty Dmytriyev and guided by Les Leicht, playing the role of ‘Grandfather Noah’, is a sensory-rich adventure. The focus on songs, actions, and storytelling captivates the young audience, often leaving behind a trail of tiny nose prints on the ark’s wooden facade. The experience extends beyond the classroom, with parents accompanying their little ones to the playground, creating a blend of learning and play topped off with some well-deserved naps. Les, in full costume, leads the children in their favorite songs, like “Raindrops Fall with a Pitter Patter Pit” and “Who’s in the Ark That Rocks on the Water.”

These programs at Lake Junaluska are a testament to the power of faith-based education, where stories of the past are brought to life in a way that is both meaningful and engaging for the youngest of hearts. It’s a place where in every song, craft, and story lies an opportunity to learn about the world and about God. And at the end of the day, it’s the shared love for simple pleasures, like bubbles, that rekindles the inner child in all ages.

—Benjamin Lawson

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