Junior Department – 10s and 11’s: If Not Now When?



It is promotion day, and the Junior is going into a new room, with new teachers. Will he be disappointed? Could he possibly just sit in a chair with only a Sunday school quarterly in his hand, a teacher standing before him, perhaps no pictures on the wall and nothing to create any interest? You see he has just come from the Primary Department, where he has had Centers of Interest teaching, a beautiful room with furnishings, a teacher sitting near him, teaching him in a calm quiet way, with a low voice. He felt so close to her. Sunday school was a thrill in the Primary Department.

No, we will not disappoint him. We have the room all ready; he enters the door, and is greeted by a warm-hearted, Spirit filled Christian who loves boys and girls–he can easily detect this.

After his welcome, he glances around. Look! Here on the nature center is a big stalk of cotton, real cotton, something he has never seen before. You see, he lives in the North, and has always wondered what cotton really looked like. “Where did this come from?” he asks. He has seen only pictures of cotton. A teacher replies, “I’ve been on vacation in the South, and I brought this stalk of cotton just for you to see.” This was proof to him that this teacher had an interest in him. He learns more about God and nature, and on he goes.

Yes, he has stepped into a room that was planned especially for Juniors. He has already decided, “I’m going to like it in here.”

Characteristics of the Junior

Physical Characteristics

The physical growth of the Junior has slowed down but there is still a noticeable change from year to year–maybe two or three inches in height and from three to six pounds in weight. His bones and muscles are increasing in length and size and he is beginning to look more grown-up.

Speedy and skillful, a Junior’s movements are much better coordinated making it possible for him to do more complicated tasks such as copying from a chalkboard or working on a more intricate craft.

Active (sometimes hyperactive) a Junior is very energetic. His hands may seem to always be drumming, tapping or poking. When he is outdoors, he loves to run, wrestle, climb and jump. Boys in particular like to run and yell a lot.

However, a Junior often has more enthusiasm than wisdom and tends to be accident prone. He often overestimates his strength and because his heart is developing more slowly than the rest of his body. he
overtires and may find it difficult to calm down.

It is important to remember that these are only general characteristics and Juniors do differ widely. Self-critical, a Junior who is markedly different in physical appearance may be very bothered by minor differences such as red hair, ears that stick out or a pug nose. This may lead to low self-esteem which in turn influences a Junior’s social development.

As a teacher of Juniors, do not expect them to sit still–or even to sit–for long periods of time. Use Learning Centers and plenty of crafts and activities. Remember however, that children develop differently. One may be able to read and write excellently while another may be better at arranging bulletin boards.

If you have a pupil who lacks self-esteem because of an unusual physical characteristic help him gain by giving him opportunities to excel in other areas where he is more skillful.

Social Characteristics

This may be the area in which a Junior develops most rapidly. He begins to think of himself apart from his family and the approval of his peers is beginning to become more important than the approval of adults.

The Junior is friendly, learning to play fair and consider and respect others and cooperate. He likes to be “one of the gang.” If he is accepted, he gains in self-esteem and becomes more confident.

Socially Junior boys like to be with Junior boys and girls with girls, but although they appear to want separation yet they are interested in each other. Girls may pass notes back and forth, “Susie, Johnny likes you.” This kind of social togetherness–boys with boys and girls with girls–is a prelude to boy-girl relationships later and is necessary to help the Junior define his role.

A joiner, Junior likes clubs, and organized groups such as Scouts.

As a teacher of Juniors you may expect a certain amount of rivalry between boys and girls. They may be willing to work together on a craft but refuse to sit by each other. When teasing takes on a sharp edge, a firm, “That’s enough Johnny,” is usually sufficient. Give love and acceptance to all and try to be sensitive to a rejected child, but do not make him “teacher’s pet.”

Mental Characteristics

By now many Juniors are able to read and write skillfully, are beginning to read spontaneously for pleasure and may look up information. However, these Juniors who cannot read fluently are embarrassed about it and may refuse to read or have difficulty in following written directions in a workbook.

Most Juniors are curious and eager to learn and may be able to communicate fluently in quite a grown-up way. He understands what we say and he resents being talked down to.

This is the golden age of memorization. A Junior can learn to use the Bible independently. The verses he hides in his heart now may keep him from sin later. Challenge the Junior class with lots of memory work.

Juniors like to collect, to organize and classify rocks, cards and other collectibles.

An important step in developmental stage is the ability to reason mentally. The Junior now has a good data base of experiences, ideas and memories so he is ready to make choices. He can choose the good and reject evil. It is a great age to make life’s most important choices.

Spiritual Characteristics

The Primary years have been called the “golden years” for receiving salvation. It is easier for a young child to love and trust God “before the evil days come” that Solomon speaks of. By the Junior years it becomes increasingly important that the pupil make a commitment to Christ. By this time in today’s humanistic society and the public schools, a Junior may have been exposed to many questionable activities–cursing, smoking, dope, etc. Your Juniors need the Lord!

But they are not hardened rock yet, they still can be molded into vessels for the Master.

Teach with love, acceptance and concern. Bring in the plan of salvation each Sunday. Show your interest and love in the pupils by observing them during church service as well as in the Sunday school classroom. At the first indication of an interest in finding God, a wise Sunday school teacher is there to pray with her pupils.

The Junior Teacher

“The whole gospel to the whole world” is the slogan of our church. We want to share what we believe and teach with those active, curious, alert Juniors but it may not always be easy

Divorces have fractured homes. Moral values that have long been accepted are being challenged. And more and perhaps shattering changes may come in the days ahead.

A wise teacher of Juniors considers the challenges of this humanistic society and seeks new ways to make never-changing truths effective and relevant to today’s children. Sunday school must not become just a place to meet friends or to be bored for an hour.

In a day of confusion and perplexity we must be able to sound a clear note and a certain sound, “This is the way, walk therein.” So Christian education, first of all, must be strictly Bible-based. The age-old message but presented with up-to-date methods.

However, the latest methods and finest equipment and best curriculum still does not suffice. Someone has said, “Curriculum is 90 percent teacher.” What the teacher is far more important than what he says. The teacher’s love for God, his commitment to Christ, his love for children can compensate for inadequate supplies and poor equipment.

Not everyone can be an effective teacher of Juniors. Inquisitive, friendly, energetic, exasperating, noisy Juniors.

Perhaps you have Sundays when you feel like a total failure. Your classroom got out of control and discipline flew out the window. What can you do? It’s time to talk about discipline.


Prepare, prepare, prepare! Plan to have good discipline. A positive approach is always best. Once you have thoroughly prepared and are excited about the lesson, be sure you arrive first and give yourself time to get organized so that as each Junior arrives you can give him your total attention.

Greet the students in a calm, courteous manner. Remember Juniors deserve your most gracious, courteous attention because they will respond in the same manner.

Since we live in a democratic society, let the children help decide on the rules. Then they will help see to it that the rules are observed.

Why Juniors Leave Sunday School

1. Outside interests are more stimulating than Sunday school session.

2. Poor administration–not enough promotion of good attendance.

3. Hero worship age–teacher does not fill these needs through his zealous teaching. The Bible stories must really live.

4. Many parents are not sufficiently interested–children are not encouraged enough to stay in Sunday school.

5. Memory ability at its peak–not enough challenge created for this group. They need plenty of activity.

What Can Teachers Do To Hold Juniors?

1. Keep in close contact with your pupils

2. Make lesson really live for the class.

3. Keep your classroom neat and cheerful, changing often.

4. Have extra activities for children–even assignments from week to week.

5. Have members contact one another, as well as the teacher, through such as the Buddy System.

6. Plan your work, and follow through on all promises to children.

7. It takes more to satisfy Juniors–don’t be stingy with money or time; offer favors and rewards.

8. Believe with them, as you lead each one to the Lord. Half your battle is won when they truly love the Lord. They will want to be in Sunday school.

9. Pray for each pupil, along with his family. STUDY–PRAY–WORK! This is the chain to hold your children in Sunday school and keep them moving forward for the

Staff Needed

Department Superintendent
Associate Superintendent
Teachers for each table (1 teacher for 8-10 Juniors)
Musician for piano

The Department Superintendent is to be in charge of the entire Junior Department. But if you have more than one room of Juniors, you will need a superintendent and secretary for each room. These superintendents will work under the Department Superintendent.

Responsibilities of Each Staff Member

Department Superintendent. Supervises the department. Conducts weekly planning sessions when needed (30 minutes before midweek service is ideal). Conducts monthly planning sessions (preferably the last week of each month, to make plans for the next month.) Plans visitation, and sees that contacts are made with absentees and prospective members. Directs any promotional program coming up, or any special-day events. Assigns teachers to different areas of the room. Assigns special things for teachers to be responsible for during the assembly time. Is on hand to greet children. His main responsibility on Sunday morning is to teach the Bible lesson.

Associate Superintendent. Assists the superintendent in his duties. Acts as superintendent in his absence.

Teachers. All teachers are expected to attend the weekly and monthly planning session. They should prepare their lesson as if they were responsible for the main Bible lesson.

Be sure to make all contacts of absentees and prospects. (In the Junior Department, the same pupils can sit at the same table each Sunday. If you have the 10, or 11-year-olds in the same room, put each age at separate tables. The teacher can be responsible for all at his table.

Teachers should do any work assigned to them at the planning session. They should prepare their lessons as if they were responsible for the main Bible lesson.

Teachers should do any work assigned to them at the planning session, such as putting clean paper on the easels, bringing fresh water, preparing paint, putting new books out, placing something new on nature tables, and preparing worship tables, etc. They should also do the work assigned them to do during the 11:25-12:00 assembly time. Teachers should be sure to be in their rooms early, before any Juniors arrive. If the teachers aren’t there, there will surely be problems. Pupils are either gained or lost within the first few minutes after arrival! All teachers should be trained, and have a good knowledge of the characteristics of Juniors.

Secretary. Keeps all records. Receives offering. Gets names and addresses of new ones. After records are posted and taken to general Sunday school of Dice, they may return to their department if needed. If not, they can go on to their Sunday school class and morning worship. (It is good to have the secretary as an alternate teacher, so that one teacher can go to morning worship each Sunday.)


The Junior Classroom

We all realize that communication in the classroom is of utmost importance. The thing many of us may not realize is that we, as teachers, are communicating with the students from the time they walk into the room until the time they leave, even though we may not even be in the room. The very appearance of the room when the student first sees it communicates something to the child about you and your attitude toward the class.

Now it is evident that not everyone can have a model classroom. In fact, most of us have some things about our classrooms that we feel are less than satisfactory. We are not here to suggest that you must spend vast amounts of money and efforts to bring your classroom up to a level of perfection. The important point is that the appearance of your room reflects how much you care. Even the smallest, most crowded room
can be lovingly prepared to help you teach. And an attractive room does help you teach.

With Juniors, as with other levels, the key to your room decoration is appealing to the interests of Juniors. Juniors like challenges, adventure, and excitement. Certainly, they will enjoy bright, warm colors. Pictures and displays concerning modern day and Bible day heroes are sure to get their attention. Almost anything in the area of nature is effective.

Make the best use of your area. Try to make it attractive, even though it may be small. The students will notice your efforts, and it will help communicate to them the concern that you have for the class and their souls.


Teaching Center–Teaching table, teacher’s chair, picture rail, picture easel, flannel board, chalk board.

Paint Easel–Use newsprint, tempera paint and brushes, small pail for water, and a small spatter mop.

Book Rack–To display books on Junior level.

Nature Shelf–To display nature items. The children can help collect these items.

Browsing Table–For children to collect items and bring to class.

Worship Table–Small table for something to carry theme of today’s lesson.

Record Player and Records
Storage Shelves–For children’s supplies
Storage Cabinet–For teachers supplies
Coat Rack
Tables and Chairs–Tables and chairs to accommodate the number in your department. Tables should be 26 inches high; chairs, 15 inches high. Hollow core doors, 2’6″ x 6’6″ are ideal for tables, and many
times these can be bought freight damaged. Have the tables arranged as far apart as possible, and arrange them for each age to be together. By having them together, you will have to prepare only two sets of
equipment. If you have a large enough Junior Department, you will need to separate by ages.

Supplies Needed

Construction paper
Tempera paint
Small pail
Spatter mop
Plastic glasses for different colored paint
Colored chalk
Paint brushes
Staple machine
Thumb tacks
Paper paste
Waste baskets


A good supply of pictures is necessary. “One picture is worth a thousand words.” You can collect these for your own department. If you do not have an abundant supply, file them all together in the general supply room, then all the Sunday school classes may have access to them. Have pictures in the following categories: worship, nature, children, families, practical, food, birds, animals, missionary, Old and New Testament, Bible pictures.

Picture Frames:–Make more than one heavy cardboard picture frame to fit your Bible art pictures which come in your Junior Visual Packet. A pretty frame will improve any picture. These frames should be three or more inches wide, sprayed with gold paint, ornate designs painted with flat black enamel. Pictures can be left on classroom wall for two or three weeks for review purposes.

Table Easel–These “helpers” are quick and easy to make. Materials needed are: one block of wood 2″ x 6″ x 8″, two (screw-in type) clothes hooks. Screw hooks in wood. Tall part serves as resting place for pictures or posters on display. Front (small) hook keeps items from sliding off.

Pocket Chart–These make convenient storage or display gadgets in which to store review flashcard Bible verses, flashcard review questions, progress reports on Junior class projects–you will find many uses for it! Use heavy weight cardboard for backing and lighter weight (bendable) cardboard to make pockets.

You might even devise some method to help you with quick attendance reporting. As pupils arrive they could place their name tags in the pocket chart and the secretary could get a fast count of members
present. Absentees would be indicated by the cards which were not placed in the pocket chart.

Blackboard–Invest a few dollars and get a good board. One class made this a class project and raised money to buy a large good quality blackboard. It’s distressing to try to write on a slick homemade board,
and it also makes blackboard presentations weak.

Bulletin Board–This is a must. One can be made from a piece of cellotex wall board, framed with wood molding. Make it an appropriate size for room area, but as large as is practical. Keep clippings, magazine pictures, holiday data and pictures, posters, photos, and other items of interest changed often.

Time To Sing

Keep new songs added to a giant departmental songbook (22~ x 28~ cardboard linked together by metal rings.) Your visitors will especially appreciate seeing the words to unfamiliar songs. Too, when a hand-clapping song comes along, hands will be free to participate.

Bible-Reading Chart

Make a wall chart, allowing space for pupil’s names, and spaces to record the books of the New Testament they have read. Place their names on the chart after they have completed the book of Matthew. As each book is read, ink in that square on the chart, using a different color of felt-tip marker for each completed book, (to make the chart more colorful).

The One Hour Session Schedule:

9:30-10:00 Precession
10:00-10:20 Activity Time (Related Craft)
10:20-10:25 Cleanup
10:25-10:50 Worship, Prayer, Short Related Story, Bible Group Time
10:50-11:00 Snack and Bathroom

The Extended Session Schedule:

9:30-10:00 Precession
10:00-10:20 Activity Time (prepared craft)
10:20-10:25 Cleanup
10:25-10:50 Group Time–Worship and Bible Story
10:50-11:00 Snack Time and Bathroom
11:00-11:20 Activity Time
11:20-11:25 Cleanup
11:25-12:00 Group Time–Choir or Worship & Related Story
12:00 Dismissal

Through Personal Contact

Visit your pupils in their homes; meet their families. Make the child realize that you are his friend. Talk to him when he comes to church. At different times encourage him to seek the Lord (but be careful not to overdo it). Ask him when is he going to be baptized or when is he going to receive the Holy Ghost. Remind him in a friendly way that you sure hope he doesn’t wait too long, because Jesus is coming so soon. Help him to realize that you have a personal interest in him.

He may act indifferent, but he is human enough to appreciate your love and concern. Watch for signs of conviction during church services. Sometimes all a child needs is a slight nudge or an encouraging word
from you.

Through Prayer

The influence of our teaching and personal contacts can only reach so far–even as vital as these elements are. The Holy Ghost must make your pupils conscious of their sins-must create in them a desire to live for God. This is where prayer comes in! God expects us to do all within our power to win a soul, but He does not expect us to work independently of His power.

“The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

When was the last time you wept over the salvation of your pupils? How often do you call their names in prayer? Our teaching ministry involves more than just imparting knowledge-with God’s help, we must influence a spiritual experience.

Multi-Room Schedule

For those who have several small rooms, but desire to use Learning Centers, try this suggestion:

Make one room a Chapel, with chairs and a Worship Center. In this room put Secretary’s table and Selector Center. Students check in here upon arrival, then proceed to chosen center–(recognizing it by emblem
from selector center). The other two rooms are known as Activity Rooms, each containing as many centers as floor space will allow.