PRIMARY DEPARTMENT 8’S AND 9’S TIME TO REACH
BY J.O. AND MARY WALLACE RONALD AND EDNA NATION
No matter what the weather–cold, rainy, or if the sun is shining, the Primary child loves to come to Sunday school. He is all smiles as he enters the classroom, for he knows his teacher loves boys and girls and has prepared all of this “just for him.”
As the eight or nine-year-old enters his classroom, he takes a swift look around. Things look different somehow, and he can hardly contain his exuberance. “Let’s get the show on the road!” his attitude seems to say. “We’ve waited too long already!”
Then he notices the older, gray-haired teacher who looks eagerly at him, then at the gathering group of boys and girls.
Feed My Lambs
by Mary Wallace
. . .already in his late 50’s. . .years since he had taught young children. . .continuing failing health. . .Still, if no one else would (volunteer). . .”
“Boys and girls, let’s pretend we are all shepherds,” reminded the Primary teacher as her wiggling, squirming youngsters finally settled around a simulated campfire.
“It’s dark on the hillside near Bethlehem. It’s cold, too! Let’s scoot up close to the fire where we can keep warm. Remember, we are all shepherds watching our sheep near the fields of Bethlehem.”
“Look who has come to our fire, boys and girls. Here is Simeon, an old shepherd friend of ours.”
An older, gray-haired, slightly bald teacher dressed as an Israelite shepherd came slowly forward. Carefully, he eased himself down and sat among the children. Little Celia Greene moved over so she could have her cherished spot right next to her “shepherd” teacher.
How he had aged since last I saw him. How the ravages of his heart disease had wrecked him. Slowly, he began to tell the lovely age-old Christian story. My heart was full as I listened. Haltingly he spoke, often stopping to catch his breath. My eyes filled with tears as I thought about Cleatus Wallace teaching a Primary class.
For more than forty years he had been involved actively in Christian education. Back in 1928, when he was just a teenager, he had first served as a teacher of a small children’s class. In fact, he was appointed to the church board when he was only nineteen.
Generations of boys and girls had been taught the ways of the Lord through the Bemis Pentecostal Church, and for a long time, Cleatus had been involved, absorbed with this teaching ministry.
When Cleatus was twenty-six years old, he had a severe attack of rheumatic fever which left him with an impaired, enlarged heart. Despite this handicap, he had supported his family and faithfully served his God and his fellow man. Recently, he had become vitally interested in better Sunday school teaching methods.
His brother (my husband) J. O. Wallace, and I had been active in Christian Education with the United Pentecostal Church on a national level. Brother J. O. Wallace had advocated Learning Center teaching,
and Cleatus wanted the very best teaching methods for Bemis United Pentecostal Church.
However, this kind of teaching required extra teachers. It also advocated using men Sunday school teachers, even on Nursery, Kindergarten, Beginner, Primary, and Junior levels.
The teacher training sessions were planned, and all went well until they tried to recruit a man for the Primary Department. Not one man volunteered.
At last, although he was the Director of Christian Education, Cleatus offered himself. He was already in his late 50’s, and it had been years since he had taught young children. Due to his continuing failing health, he had retired from his work on full disability about a year previously. Still, if no one else would….
And so it was he began to plan classroom learning activities, decorate the Primary Department, plan colorful bulletin boards, and all the other duties of an active Primary Sunday school teacher.
“He was keenly interested in the Nature Center, and spent much time looking for interesting, different examples of intriguing, God-made, nature items,” recalled Geneva Medlin Stanfill, superintendent of the Primary Department.
“Do you remember how he always shared some of his best items with me?” asked Stella Pillips, handicapped coworker who taught in the Primary Department each Sunday from her wheel chair.
“But his finest practical story was the story he made up about ‘Helpful Hamburger, The Cow.’ How those children loved Hamburger! Brother Wallace had their total attention that Sunday,” reminisced Sister Stanfill, departmental superintendent.
Cleatus continued to teach for several months, pouring out the last strength of a long life of Christian service teaching small boys and girls.
This was the Christmas lesson, and it was his turn to tell the story. My husband and I were visiting in the Bemis Pentecostal Church that day and were observing in the Primary Department. Anxiously I watched Brother Cleatus struggle for enough breath to finish the story.In Paul’s great letter to the Romans, chapter 12, we are instructed:
“. . .present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. ”
How often do we actually do this in our Sunday schools?
Cleatus Wallace went on to be with the Good Shepherd before another Christmas season. The boys and girls who sat around that pretend fire have grown up now. Will past sacrifices, early childhood teaching actually bear fruit? Cleatus can no longer teach…not even a Primary class, but the challenge remains, “Go ye into all the world and teach!” Do you have heart enough to start even in a Nursery, Beginner or Primary class?
What a legacy Cleatus Wallace left! And there are others who have given of themselves so that Primaries can enjoy solid Bible teachings. Nell Moorman was another of those unforgetable teachers who made such
an indelible mark on her students, they wondered aloud what they would do without her. Nell, a remarkable teacher, died two days after childbirth in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Primary children asked me,
“Sister Nation, Sister Nell was our best teacher! Now, what in the world are we going to do?”
Teacher, you are making your mark. Your learners are sensitive and know whether they are loved and appreciated. When you love them, you win their hearts for life. Love is a must and is the first prerequisite for every Sunday school age level.
Does your room and its atmosphere invite the child to learn? Are you capturing his interests? How does he feel when he enters the room? Does he know that he is important, and that everything done during the
session will contribute to his learning set?
“What is a Modified Learning Center?” “Aren’t the terms ‘Learning Centers’ somewhat outdated?” Can you tell me how I can adopt Learning Center teaching to my own classroom? We have a small church and don’t
have room for the total program.” “Learning Centers aren’t working for us. We’ve gotten bogged down, and the whole situation has turned into a free-for-all. What can we do?”
These and countless other questions have been asked about the Learning Center teaching method. In response to these questions, and others, this chapter is being presented.
Is Learning Center a new term, 60’s term, or an old term? The answer lies in the third category. Interest Centers have been around for a long time. They were used thousands of years ago as philosophers gathered their students around their knees and taught them. The premise was, and still is, find the interest of the learner, a known interest, and then add to his knowledge. The learner’s interest first must be captivated before real learning. takes place.
Jesus Christ, the Master Teacher, used Learning Centers. For example, He used the “sandbox” as the “nature center” and began to write in the sand. No one knows for sure what He wrote but we can be
assured, He had everyone’s attention. The interest of the accusers was aroused before the Master Teacher ever started teaching. He wrote in the sand and one-by-one, the accusers sneaked away.
Jesus used many examples of concrete objects in order to teach His followers about deeper things of the Spirit. For example on one occasion, He was hungry and saw a fig tree which bore no fruit. Then He proceeded to teach His followers the value of bearing fruit and the subsequent consequences if followers are not fruitful.
On another occasion, Jesus took a child upon His knee and said “Unless you become as one of these, you cannot enter the kingdom. . .” After holding the child, Jesus taught His followers the importance of non-offensive behavior and warned them of consequences, should they offend one of the little ones. This incident serves to remind us of the importance of the child and of protecting the human spirit. Jesus used
the child as a point of interest and taught His followers many things after gaining their attention.
Just what is a Learning Center? It is a workable idea in which teachers develop centers which correlate with the lesson. It has been recognized for years that the classroom and equipment either motivates
or stymies learning. Creating an interesting, stimulating, challenging learning environment leads to a faster rate of learning with longer retention.
Learning centers are used to capture the child’s interest. From there, the teacher teaches the unknown from the known. Concreteness (known things the learner can see and touch) is used to build the bridge to abstractness (intangible things the learner cannot touch or see, such as God, faith, or love).
It is important for the child in early childhood to be taught with concreteness. Loving role models are important, too. In the Housekeeping Center, for example the three-year-old learns the love of God (abstract) by observing the role model of his teacher (concrete).
Following is a brief list of interest centers and a summary of each center used in the classroom:
Worship Center–This is the most important of the centers and should have a Bible which the learners can touch and read. Teaching aids such as a chalkboard and teaching picture rail should be in this center.
Nature Center–Children are encouraged to bring God’s handiwork to share with the class. Always have items which relate to the lesson, such as honey, when teaching about John the Baptist.
Book Center–Collect a group of good books. Encourage learners to “write” books and share with others.
Activity Tables–Bible-learning activities which reinforce lesson aims are created at the activity tables.
Housekeeping Center–Children are taught the sanctity of the home, importance of daily prayer and devotion in the housekeeping center. 3’s, 4’s, and 5’s enjoy this center.
A general rule to follow is: have one worker for each six or seven children; one worker for each Activity table; one master teacher per classroom. Of course, every situation is different, so adapt the ideas to your own environment. Also, in team teaching, utilize the skills and strengths of your personnel to best advantage for all concerned.
Let us take a look at the characteristics of the Primary child:
Characteristics of Eights And Nines
1. They are loyal.
2. They are expressive.
3. They are observant.
4. They are eager to learn.
5. They are tenderhearted and feel their need of God.
6. They recognize right from wrong.
7. They are very active. They are created with the “wigale built in” It is impossible for them to be quiet for longer than a short period.
8. They respond quickly to influence.
9. They forgive easily.
These are only a few of the many characteristics of Primaries. Every teacher should make a careful study of the characteristics of her age group so that she can fully understand the learners she is teaching. Know the characteristics of the Primary child. Primaries should show signs of growth. Are your Primaries growing? Has Billy begun to work better, and is he now able to finish his work? Maybe Mary shows more self-control; is more considerate of others. And Jerry listens more attentively to the Bible story. Susan and Joe join in with the singing and worship. When you see these qualities developing in your pupils, you know they are learning and it is very rewarding.
For years we have said that we must reach the Juniors before they become involved in the sinful things of this world. Now we hear among our Christian Educators that we must reach the children with the Gospel
in the Primary Department and win them to the Lord there. In the society in which we live today, children are being enticed by sin at a much earlier age than in years past. By the time they become Juniors, many of them have already begun to smoke, use profane language, dance, and many other sinful things. They learn these things in non-Christian homes, in the school classroom, from television, or from the children just across the street. Primary teachers, you have a golden opportunity as you work with Primaries. Do your best to present the plan of salvation to them, and lead them to a firm and lasting decision to live for the Lord.
The Primary With Learning Center Teaching
Learning Center teaching affords more opportunities of learning than regular classroom teaching. The pupils learn all they would in regular classroom teaching, plus many additives. It also makes recruiting both workers and pupils easier. Workers enjoy it more, and with the discipline problem practically removed, they are more willing to work in the department. Too long we have had pupils come one or two
Sundays, and then perhaps never return. With the pressures of evil increasing, and the darkness of sin closing in even on our children, there’s no price or effort too great to provide the very best in Christian Education. Learning Centers teaching is a step forward. You will need a large room–about 20 x 30′. This size room will take care of 35 easily, and, of course, you can put more in if necessary. If space will permit, it is wise to keep each age separate.
Preventing Primary Discipline Problems
Never humiliate a child. Such remarks as, “What! A big girl like you still sucking her thumb!” even though spoken in a jovial manner, can cripple a child’s needed confidence in your approval and love.
Never threaten a child with loss of your affection because of his behavior, or the loss of the Lord’s love (“Jesus won’t love you.”)
Never compare children. Do not say, “See how nicely Johnny acts.” This will not teach the child to behave, but will teach him to dislike Johnny.
Never threaten or bribe a child. Promising him something he likes, in return for good behavior, clouds the issue involved. We too often like to take the easy way out!
Do not take it out on the child if you are nervous, worried or ill. Be honest about your own emotions. Try cultivating a sense of humor.
Avoid situations which encourage competition. Trying to be the “first one through” (or painting the best picture) is poor procedure. It is better to have them do their best at all times.
The Primary Teacher
The worker in the Primary Department must believe in the importance of her hour (or two) on Sunday morning. Theoretically, she knows that the couple of hours on Sunday are worthy of many hours of
preparation, reading, prayer, and study. And yet, there are times when she allows preparation to be crowded out until Saturday night. How sad, but true!
It is of great importance that superintendents and teachers make special preparations for the class session with the children. First impressions may at times seem superficial, yet their influence lingers. Often the first hour is filled with routine matters with no opportunity for the true personality of the teacher to shine through. Yet, all the time children are drawing conclusions which linger! They may decide, “That teacher is an old grouch!” or “I sure don’t like Sister Mary K. She never smiles.”
It is true as mentioned earlier that Sister Nell was an outstanding teacher. She took her responsibilities as a teacher seriously. She loved children and they could not help but know it. She possessed a rare gift–the ability to communicate with children. And now she has left a lasting impression on many lives.
A teacher once said, “I always feel terribly conscience stricken when a child whom I have taught goes wrong.”
“Isn’t that attaching a good deal of importance to the brief contacts you have with your children?” asked her friend.
And yet, the teacher was right. The one thing that will give significance to your class sessions on Sunday morning is the conviction that what you are doing is important–that you are shaping destinies. In many cases, the superintendent and teachers are the only ones who have a chance at the direct religious training of a child in the Primary Department. If you have really come to feel that your sessions with the children are shaping eternal destinies, then your preparations for Sunday morning will claim a large portion of your time and thought through the week.
The teacher of Primary children should know the Bible story in every detail so that she can tell it without the Teacher’s Manual. The Bible should be used as the basic visual during the telling of the Bible story. The Bible is the center of all our teaching material and nothing is suggested to take its place, for nothing can take its place.
If the lessons are made to “come alive” through well chosen visuals, and according to the child’s needs, the child will have a better understanding of God’s Word and will feel the influence of spiritual training when temptations and problems come.
There are many ways of improving teaching. The magnetic, Spirit-filled teacher will employ many methods to accomplish her purposes. She will be alert and on the “lookout” for insights into interests of her pupils, and how to apply spiritual truths to their daily lives.
Teachers sometimes become so intent about teaching the “lesson” that they forget their real purpose, which is to teach Primaries. When the pupil’s needs are forgotten, all sorts of problems arise. But, a wise teacher acquaints herself with the characteristics of the Primary. What are his needs? What are his problems? How can these needs best be met?
One of the most important needs of Primaries is for a teacher who is excited and challenged by the opportunity to teach Primaries. The enthusiastic, dedicated teacher will equip herself for her task. Her
enthusiasm is contagious. She does not expect them to listen to her for 30 minutes without moving. Instead, she knows that God made Primaries with a “built in” wiggle. She utilizes this characteristic by having them move around, constructively, by “story play” or dramatizations. She uses “action” songs during worship. She uses thrilling games during review. She also motivates and encourages her pupils to “relate” to Biblical experiences by stimulating and guiding class discussions. She knows that to teach and to learn effectively, pupils must participate in the learning process.
Teacher, remember the application of the lesson. Are your learners responding to your teaching? Are they applying truths and concepts to their own lives? In short, are they becoming Christians? How about checking your altars to see if you have any Primaries there. If so, be sure that you pray with them, encouraging them until they find peace, joy, and satisfaction for their souls. They will receive the baptism of the Spirit. As their teacher, you have the unique privilege of watching them grow in spiritual matters. As they develop Christian graces, train them to be soul winners. Joyfully participate in their spiritual maturation. There is nothing quite so satisfying as observing your learners mature in Christ, developing Christ-like attributes.
Teachers for the Learning Centers. One teacher for each center–one teacher for any extra tables needed to take care of pupils (In the Primary Department you need one teacher for 6 to 7 pupils).
Responsibilities of Each Staff Member
Department Superintendent. Supervises the department. Is on hand to greet children, meet new parents as they bring their children. His main responsibility on Sunday morning is the first group time. He is responsible for the main Bible Lesson. Conducts weekly planning sessions (thirty minutes before Wednesday night service is ideal). Conducts monthly planning sessions (preferably in the last week of each
month, to make plans for the next month). Makes assignments of Learning Centers the workers will be in for the coming month (it is better for them to rotate in the different centers, then they are familiar with
the entire department, and the children can be influenced by all workers, even if they go to the same center every week). Makes assignment for workers to rotate attending morning worship. Makes assignment of pupils and prospects to the workers. (The children are divided equally among all the workers in the department. This lightens the load for all. They are assigned geographically). Plans visitation, and sees that contacts are made.
Outline For Monthly Planning Session
1. Assignment of Learning Centers for the month.
2. Schedule workers to attend morning worship.
3. Assignment of story time in Extended Session.
4. Discuss promotional plans or any special days or events coming during the month.
5. If you are going to take the class to morning worship one Sunday, decide on the date. (Be sure to discuss this with pastor and superintendent).
Assign pupils and prospective pupils to teachers. Do this geographically. (In rotating these each month, it provides the workers the opportunity of visiting in each home).
Outline For Weekly Planning Session
1. Superintendent in charge
A. Encourage teachers to contact absentees and make follow-up contacts on all prospective members on their monthly assignment list.
B. Mention: Learning Centers must be changed and ready for Sunday morning.
C. Urge all to be on time.
2. Discuss the aim of Sunday’s lesson.
3. Lay the foundation for the Bible truth.
4. Discuss points for personal application of the lesson.
5. Superintendent: List plans for review–presentation and activities from teachers. (Teachers should have plans made for their activity by mid-week.)
6. Pray and ask God to bless the department and help us His servants.
Associate Superintendent. Assists the superintendent in his duties. Acts as superintendent in his absence. Has a Learning Center assigned to him. Is responsible for Selector Center. Asks different workers to assist in making new ones. Is in charge of children making their selection of activities in First Activity Time, and what Learning Center they choose to participate in during Extended Session. Is in charge of last group time (Practical Story Time). This story is rotated among the workers for experience; this also makes it work smoothly for the workers to rotate attending morning worship. It also lightens the load of the superintendent.
Teachers. All teachers are expected to attend the monthly and weekly planning sessions, and be ready to discuss their plans for the following Sunday, in the weekly sessions. They should have their activity planned for the first activity time. (This activity should be related to either the Bible Story, Lesson Aim, Bible Verse or review, if needed. This should be planned so the children can finish without rushing. They should never feel rushed, or have to leave with something unfinished). The teachers should know how they are going to review and present this Sunday’s lesson in their Center. They should prepare their lesson as if they were responsible for the main Bible lesson. Make contacts of absentees and prospects. Prepare their Center each week to teach the theme of the lesson. (Use some things from previous lesson for review.) The room should never look the same on two successive Sundays. Take turns telling the story in the Extended Session period. All teachers should have a knowledge of the characteristics of the Primary. Above all, they should love God and children.
Secretary. Keeps all records. Receives the love offering, gets names and addresses of new ones. Explains why and how we give to God. After records are posted and taken to General Sunday School Office, she
returns to assist in the department. She should help in the extended session, as an alternate worker, to relieve someone to go to morning worship.
Learning Centers and Equipment
Book Center–Book rack, table and chairs, good supply of books on the child’s level. (Bible stories, also nature and practical themes.)
Paint Center–Painting easel, table and chairs. Tempera paint (powdered is less expensive), plain newsprint for both the easel and the colored chalk. It is also good to supply smocks to protect their clothes. You can make them by taking the collars off men’s white shirts (smaller the better), cutting the sleeves off some, and buttoning them in the back. For decoration you can add decals on front.
Nature Center–Open shelves and nature materials, table and chairs.
Puzzle Center–Table, chairs, wooden puzzles or heavy cardboard (practical, nature, animal, and Bible subjects).
Activity Tables–Plan your equipment so you will have one table to every six or seven pupils. You will have four tables for Learning Centers, so add one or two more if needed to take care of your department. Your tables should be 10 inches higher than your chairs. 30 x 48 is a good size. 30×24 for the teaching table. One round, 48″ diameter table adds to the looks of the room, and you can seat more children at round tables when you have an extra large number. You might consider making 2 round tables.
Teaching Center–Teaching table, picture rail, small picture easel, removable Bible stand for large Bible, chair for teacher.
Secretary Desk and Chair
Children’s Chairs–One for each person present, including workers. Everyone sits in a small chair. Size 13-14 inches.
Selector Center–A decorative scene mounted on wall to which the children go to make their selection of activities for the day.
Tack Board–Eighteen to 24 inches wide, and five to six feet long.
Record Player and Table
Coat Rack–One for children and one for adults.
Open Shelf Storage–For supplies that the children need and can reach, such as scissors, paste and crayolas.
Storage Cabinet For Workers
Supplies To Have On Hand
Nature materials–leaves, rocks, shells, nuts, bird nest, wasp nest, hornet nest, potted plant flowers, fish and fish bowl, etc. Records on level of child Thumb tacks Molding clay View masters and reels Paper paste Colored chalk Tempera paint (powdered) Liquid starch to mix with paint Spatter mop Plastic pail Waste baskets Good selection of books Newsprint Crayolas Plasti-Tak Brads Paint brushes Sponge Smocks Scissors Staple machine Pencils Paper–construction paper
A good supply of pictures is a necessity. The workers should have access to these for their centers. If you do not have an abundant supply, file them all together, then all the departments may have access to them. Keep a good file in the following categories: worship, nature, children, practical, food, birds, Old and New Testament Bible pictures (these can be separated according to your needs), animals, and missionary.
A good source of pictures, in addition to the Bible pictures you receive with your material, is the “Ideal” magazine; also calendars.
A good way to preserve your pictures is to back them with poster paper, bind them with colored plastic tape, and spray them with Acrylic Spray for pictures. They will last for years, under proper care.
Learners Choose Their Activity
The Selector Center is a colorful, eye-catching scene on the wall near the entrance to the classroom. This scene is usually changed each month. Its subject is often in keeping with the current Sunday school
lessons, although there may be seasonal or another good basic subject of interest to your pupil’s age level. We find a progressive scene very interesting to the pupils, and it is not so demanding on the person or
persons building the selector scene. All the work would not have to be completed at once; it could be spread out over two weeks instead. On a progressive scene, all the basic figures are placed the first Sunday.
Each week something new is added. One example: when studying the Christmas story, have the stable, Mary and Joseph, baby Jesus, and the animals. Each week add the portion of the Christmas story that your
Sunday school lesson covers that week–the shepherds and wise men. Strive to keep your selector related to your Sunday school lessons or some spiritual truths, such as a large church with boys and girls walking to church.
The scene is usually constructed out of construction paper or poster paper. Most scenes or figures used to build a scene are small pictures from activity books, coloring books, or hand craft books, blown up by a projector, traced over with pencil, painted or colored and cut out and placed on the wall with Plasti-Tak. Sometimes the background of grass or sky is formed, with crepe paper. The scenes need not be extravagant, but, rather simple and clear and colorful. Actually, this is not so much work when you realize how much future use you will receive from each scene. One is taken down and saved for the following year, when you will have a new group of pupils, or it can be interchanged with the other departments.
In each Selector Center you will have a selector for each center in your room. One for the Book Center, one for the Puzzle Center, Paint, Books and Activity Center; each center represented by a different color. For instance, the selector of the children going to church. Each child will be carrying a different colored Bible, the Bibles being used as the selectors. In this instance, there would be a large red Bible over the Book Center. Then a smaller red Bible in the selector which represents the activity that will be made at the Book
Center the first activity time. The activity written on the smaller Bible will change every Sunday, in relation to the lesson that week.
In our class, the first activity is represented by the smaller Bible, and the center by the larger Bible, each being pinned on the child at one time, the smaller off balance over the larger Bible. The pupils each find the center with the small color they have chosen at the Selector Center.
Meanwhile, the teachers move from center to center as the pupils do, not settling at any particular table until 9:45, when all pupils are asked to go to their chosen activity table. Then the teachers go to their assigned table. This method keeps the pupils from choosing teachers (which could become a problem, as usually a child will have a favorite teacher). This way, the teacher’s popularity is not allowed to show, and the student does not have the same teacher week after week. This creates a much-more favorable relationship between teacher and pupils, for all the teachers become better acquainted with all pupils,
and the pupils glean a greater variety of teaching methods and personalities. Too, the pupils have that many more to love and be interested in them.
During the monthly meeting each teacher is assigned a center for the month, for which he is responsible. He is at that center the second hour of the class. The first hour he rotates forward one center each Sunday, from the center he had the first hour the Sunday before. The pupils seem to be completely unaware of the rotating method during first activity, and never have any idea which teacher will be at any specific table when they choose activities. This way they are definitely choosing activities, not teachers.
After the Bible Lesson, the pupils are asked to take their chairs and go to their Learning Center, which they easily recognize by matching the color of their largest Bible, pinned on to its color on the wall over that center. We find that the Selector Center has part in keeping order in the class (keeps out confusion, as the child knows exactly where he is to go by his own choice). It also allows the pupils a sense of importance, as they have a definite choice, and are, therefore, much more cooperative, for they are doing what they want to do, not what a teacher demands that they do. Thus, putting the pupil on a different level and cooperative frame of mind, the class begins, from the first minute, in the right spirit. All are happy, and looking forward to getting settled to making just what they would like most to make.
The pupil is important, isn’t he? Make him feel that way, and you will accomplish much in all respects.
9:20- All teachers arrive.
9:20-9:45 Pre-session. At the Learning Centers.
9:45-10:20 Activity Time. Do a Bible-learning activity which correlates with the lesson aim.
10:20-10:30 Finish up and clean up.
10:30-11:00 Group time. Worship, prayer, singing, Bible Story, child participation.
11:00-11:10 Snack time. Punch and cookies.
11:10-11:20 Activity time. Workbooks, use of Bible Learning Centers
11:20-11:25 Clean up time.
11:25-11:45 Practical Story Time. Reinforce aims.
11:45-11:55 Unified dismissal. Sharing time. Pupil participation.
Everything is in order, and all teachers are on hand as the children arrive. You are all set for a Sunday morning with good results.
As the children arrive, the superintendent is near the door to greet them. The secretary is seated at the desk near the door. The teachers are at the Learning Centers they have been assigned to for this month. The children are greeted and welcomed. They fill out their attendance slips, give their offering, hang up coats, and put purses on shelf. Now they go to the Selector Center where the Associate Superintendent is seated to assist them in choosing an activity, and the center they want to work in during the second hour. A different activity will be going on at all of the tables in the first activity time. At one table they may make a touch and feel picture; at another they may paint a mural, make a poster on the subject of the lesson,
make a booklet, make scrolls, crowns, or other activities. They also make a selection of what Learning Center they want to be in the Activity Time during Extended Session. After they make their selection,
they are free to go to any Learning Center as they are free to move about the room in precession time.
Sunday School In Action
9:20 Arrival Time. Pre-Session. Some may want to observe nature. They can learn much about God from nature. Others may want to paint. This is free art, when he has the privilege of expressing his own ideas.
Many children like books. The books are attractive with reading on the level with the child. All good stories.
The puzzles are interesting and educational. They also provide a place for some to learn more about working together. View Masters are also good to have, with a good supply of pictures on hand.
9:45 Activity Time. Bell rings, and it’s time for the pupils to go to the table that is designated by the same color that has been pinned on them for their activity, at the Selector Center. The workers now take their place at the table that was assigned to them in the weekly planning session. They greet the children, make them feel at ease and welcome.
First, review last Sunday’s lesson and Bible verse. Have a picture, an activity, or something to use in review.
Now it is time to begin the activity that was planned. The activity must be in relation to the lesson (choosing your lesson). As the children work, you learn today’s Bible Verse and lay the foundation for today’s lesson. This is not a time of lecture. You talk with the pupils; pupils share ideas. Never tell a child what he can tell you. He will remember it longer if he says it. Remember to speak in a soft voice. This helps the children to speak softly also.
10:20 Cleanup Time. The soft music begins. It’s time to finish the activity. Put crayolas, scissors, etc., in place. Put scrap paper in wastebasket (each table needs one). As the children complete their share of cleaning, they pick up their chairs and go to group time.
10:30 Group Time. The superintendent is seated by the teaching table, ready for a time of worship. Visitors are recognized and welcomed. Now it’s time for prayer. Receive prayer requests. Sing songs on Primary
level–motion choruses. Workers sit among the children, joining in the worship. The children will need to be taken to the bathroom a few at a time.
11:00 Extended Session. The children pick up their chairs and go to the Learning Center they have chosen. They are now seated at the table and served punch and cookies (let children serve.)
11:10 Activity Time. This time it’s different. Three things take place.
1. Workbooks are done.
The Bible story has been given and the teachers can easily review the lesson and memory verse as they do their workbooks.
2. Learn to use the Bible.
Have them read lesson Scripture or Bible verse.
3. Learning Center.
Now they can go to the Learning Center they have chosen to paint, observe nature, or read a book. This works out very well for the fast pupils. They are kept busy. They don’t have to just sit and wait for the others to finish. They don’t get bored, and cause discipline problems.
11:20 Cleanup Time. Music begins and it’s cleanup time again. After everything is in order, children pick up chairs and again form semi-circle around teaching center.
11:25 Group Time. Once again they worship. They sing. You can even plan special singing among Primaries. The workers are sitting among them participating in action songs and worship. The worker who has been assigned for the story on this Sunday tells a good practical story, applying truths to the lives of the
learners. Make the story come alive in the life of the Primaries. Character building stories are excellent, as are stories stressing values. The practical stories which are provided in the Teacher’s Manual, were designed to reinforce lesson aims. They are also strong on character building and development of Christian values. Utilize these stories if at all possible. Primaries like to dramatize. This period could be used to
dramatize today’s lesson for variety. Watch your pupils–know them, then plan to meet their needs.Stress salvation. Win them early. Pray for them and with them. At the close, give them a warm welcome back. Make them know you love them. Your reward will come in eternity. “The effective teacher teaches from the overflow of a full life.”
11:45-11:55 Unified dismissal.
Remember, parting words are usually the ones pupils remember best.
Bible Learning Activities
Chalkboard: Major Points to be Covered
Murals for group projects
Write a Prayer, Pray a Prayer
Writing and Painting
Make a Chart
Paraphrase a Psalm
Paraphrase a Hymn
Visualize a Song: Make a rebus
To Know, To Feel, and To Respond
Your Primary lessons are designed with a purpose in mind. Skilled writers have “zeroed in” on Bible doctrines. Eights and nines should be rooted and grounded in the Apostles’ doctrines. With your help, and
with the help of Almighty God, Primaries can be “grounded” in truth.
Your Bible stories have been thoroughly researched by a skilled writer and a dedicated teacher. You can make your stories “live” for your students. Make good use of these stories.
A practical application story is also provided, which will make it easy for you to apply truths to your learners’ lives. Please make good use of all the materials provided for your use.
Learning centers are planned for your open classroom situation. Use your imagination. Always adapt the lesson to your learners and the available facilities. Make the learning centers relevant to the lesson.
Remember that although the centers are fun, they are mainly designed for learning. Use as many of the senses as possible–the eyegate, the ears, touching, tasting, or whatever you as the teacher decide–to “set
the learning” for the Primary.
The Primary Student Handbook was designed to further “set the learning” and to reinforce lesson aims. This item contains an abstract of the Bible lesson which has been written in simple concrete terminology so that Primaries can read and re-read the Bible story.
Extra features of the Primary literature includes a Take Home Paper, Standing Tall, complete with practical application stories with which Primaries can easily identify, and which further re-inforce
lesson aims. Doctrinal features are included in Standing Tall.
Lesson aims of the Primary literature are built around three levels of cognitive functioning: (1) to know, (2) to feel, and (3) to respond. During level one, learners are taught solid Bible truths. Knowledge is important. During the second stage of development, learners “feel” the lesson. They can understand how Daniel “felt” when thrown into the hungry lion’s den. Or they can “feel” sorrow for their sins, which leads them to the third stage, “to respond.” When the learner “knows” what is right, “feels” his need and is sorry for sinning, he is ready to “respond, ” or make practical application of what he has just learned. “To teach” or “to know” are not enough. You must inspire your learners “to respond” with a personal application to Bible truths.
Relate the Bible stories to your learners. You may have some young Elijahs in your class. Instill in them so much faith that they can believe God for anything they ask. Guide and mold them to be bold Christians as they ask for miracles in their everyday lives. Ahead of them are their futures, faith, and destinies. Ask God to give you wisdom as you handle your responsibility toward your students wisely. Ask Him to help you never to hurt the human spirit, but to nurture it. You are molding the lives and character of preachers, preachers’ wives, teachers, missionaries, and the victorious marching church of tomorrow. As you assume your opportunities to train these young minds and hearts, may wisdom and strength come as you lean on God for assistance.
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY WORD AFLAME PRESS, 1967, PAGES 97-125. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.