Mantua – If you’ve seen the weekly influx of preschoolers heading to the Mantua Center Christian Church (MCCC) each Thursday with their big people, you may wonder if they’re heading to some sort of pint-sized revival meeting. This lively group heads religiously to MCCC each Thursday, but they aren’t heading to a church service. Each week during the school year the church hosts anywhere from 10 to 25 preschoolers and siblings for a fabulous, fun and free learning event. 

Rosa and Sam Francis of Ravenna enjoy making apple prints during a recent Story Time program at Mantua Center Christian Church

The program began in December of 2008 as an opportunity for the Children’s Literature Class at Hiram College to gain valuable field experience by hosting one-hour preschool story programs.  Based on that success, the program blossomed into a weekly story hour, staffed by a core group of MCCC members, which is approaching its fourth year.

The volunteers often include Hiram College students; together, they provide a place for children and their families to grow and learn together while providing Hiram students that same opportunity. One attendee noted, “My kids have a great time here — the people are so nice and friendly.” Another parent agreed, stating, “I love the interaction with the volunteers — they make our kids feel so special.”

While Story Time is an outreach ministry of the church, the content of the stories and songs are not faith-based. Children ages 2-5 and their caregivers are invited to join in a free hour of stories, crafts, music, and movement every Thursday morning from 10:30-11:30 am. Younger siblings are welcome to join in, as well.  Please note that Story Time is not held when Crestwood Schools are closed. There is no need to register for this free program at Mantua Center Christian Church, located at the corner of State Route 82 and Mantua Center Roads.