What is Released-time/PREP4Kids?
Released-time means public school students can be “released” during school hours for religious training off campus. PREP4Kids is a non-profit ministry, which has operated in the greater-Portland area for 25 years. PREP4Kids’ mission is to help children/youth and their families find purpose and direction in life through the study of God’s Word. PREP4Kids operates within the legal statute ORS 339.420. Classes are usually held at a church close to the school. Students are allowed by law to make up any work that is missed at school. Any child may attend with written permission from a parent/guardian. The PREP4Kids organization oversees released-time classes for 32 schools in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties. Released time is permitted throughout the state of Oregon and in all 50 states! To see where it currently operates throughout the country, visit www.rtce.org and www.releasedtime.org.
How Does It Work?
Classes are held once a week, usually in the afternoon. In order for students to attend a PREP4Kids class, parents fill out and sign a permission form and return it to the school office. Students are excused at the appropriate time and walk or are driven to the class site by approved PREP4Kids volunteers. Volunteers teach Bible lessons, lead singing, and help students memorize verses in many creative ways. Skits, art projects, contests, games, and worksheets are just a few tools that are utilized to engage the children. At the end of class, students are accompanied back to school, where they are dismissed to return home from school by their regular transportation. PREP4Kids conducts a thorough background check and application process on each volunteer. Volunteers are required to fill out an application/background check with three references.
Does It Make A Difference?
A report from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency found that children in released-time classes did as well or better academically than their classmates who do not attend.
“The program reinforces the school’s existing efforts to help children grow to cherish and care for themselves and others. Curriculum teaches Judeo-Christian values such as honesty, compassion, integrity and loyalty. Human worth and dignity is also being taught, as-well-as basic social skills needed to function productively in our society.” -Best Network