Vacation Bible School (VBS) is a ministry outreach churches provide to educate children about God.
The origins of Vacation Bible School can be traced back to Hopedale, Illinois in 1894. Sunday school teacher D. T. Miles, who also was a public school teacher, felt she was limited by time constraints in teaching the Bible to children. So, she started a daily Bible school to teach children during the summer. The first Bible school enrolled forty students and lasted four weeks. A local school was used for classes, while an adjoining park was used for recess.
In 1898, Virginia Sinclair Hawes (often identified as "Mrs. Walker Aylett Hawes"), director of the children's department at Epiphany Baptist Church in New York City, started an "Everyday Bible School" for neighborhood children during the summer at a rented beer parlor in New York's East Side. There is a bronze plaque honoring her efforts located in her hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia in the foyer of First Baptist Church.
Modern programs usually consist of a week-long program of religious education which may employ Bible stories, religious songs, arts and crafts, skits, or puppet shows which cater toward elementary school-aged children. Groups of local churches who do not have the resources to run VBS for the entire summer may elect to coordinate their schedules to provide continuous childcare.