Sunset Christian kids find fun in the Cove

By: Ilaf Esuf, Special to The Placer Herald
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Sunset Christian Center recently unveiled a new 2,300-square-foot children’s play area. Offering a creative learning experience through their new renovations, which opened in April, the Sunset Christian Center in Rocklin is fit for the whole family. With three separate rooms varying by grade levels, the Sunset Christian Center makes the program unique to fit each child. Children ranging from kindergarten to second-grade attend the Treasure Trove, a room based on jungle imitations. This room, complete with hand painted trees rather than wallpaper and secret tunnels for children to crawl through, allows children to play and interact with others while parents attend services. If a newborn needs to be taken care of, a separate room designated for mothers has been created. Mothers can feed, comfort, and change their children in this room. The Cove, holding children from grades one through three, provides a learning experience specific to their age. In the aquarium-themed room, children are able to release energy, interact with others, and play video games. They are also required to attend an interactive service with updated technology such as projector screens, strobe lights, black light, surround sound stereos and more where children learn about their faith. The space is filled with live worship videos, a fog machine, 25-foot stage, full-wall screen display, neon carpet and black lights, Pastor Tiffany Saathoff said. Painted sea life bare the walls of the Cove and follow the theme set up by the 35-foot built-in boat entrance with touch screen check-in monitors for safety reasons. Older children from grades three through five enter a program known as Elevate. Their room follows a Lake Tahoe theme complete with a ski lift and built-in trees. They are also able to interact with others, play video games and learn about their faith. All play areas are connected to the main hall and adult service room for easy access. The building was renovated and decorated by Quick Creative, a company in Lincoln, in a matter of nine months. Each room took about three months to create and the work can be seen through the intricate details. The play areas are open at 7 p.m. Wednesdays and at 9 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. for services on Sundays. The same rooms transform and are used as a preschool during week. Although $400,000 was put in to create the renovations in the Sunset Christian Center, the programs provided by the church are all free and the workers are all volunteers. “Being a multi-generational church, Sunset Christian Center highly values families and rallied together to meet the community’s need for their children,” Saathoff said. They wanted to provide a fun learning environment where children will be able to understand the information and even more have the desire to learn rather than being forced to, Saathoff said. “We aren’t just entertaining them, we are speaking to them in a language of truth and love to present them with the timeless message of Christ,” Saathoff said. This program provides an opportunity for both parents and children to learn about the Christian faith in modern ways using updated technology. Ellen Pagasa teaches first- through third-graders at the church and has been volunteering for four years. “They (the children) don’t want to leave,” she said. Candice Andrews also teaches junior high students at the church and praises the environment. “I think they really enjoy it; they are retaining what they learned,” she said. “(This is a) great child environment to teach kids in and grow up in.”