Remember the old song, To Know You is to Love You? To know Primaries is to love them! Their enjoyment of small pleasures, enthusiasm for learning, and eagerness to please make teaching them a delight. By keeping Primaries’ unique qualities in mind in your lesson planning and as your interact with them, you will become a more effective teacher. Consider the following facts and instructional tips:
- Primaries like to help. Recruit their assistance in holding signs, distributing materials, placing flannel graph, and cleaning-up after activities. The act of helping directs their excess energy and boosts their confidence.
- Primaries like to be noticed.They love to talk about their lives. Ask about their special interests, pets, and family members. Try to give praise to each child every Sunday. Even the shy ones enjoy special attention.
- Primaries love to sing. Introduce fun songs that point them toward Christ. The songs they learn will stay with them for life. Don’t be alarmed if they want to sing certain songs repeatedly. This is an age of having favorites!
- Primaries enjoy playing games. Capitalize on their love of having fun. Use games for learning and recalling Bible lessons and memory verses. Nothing fancy needed—any game thrills them!
- Primaries are not perfectionists. Accept their attempts at completing crafts and learning activities. Don’t over-emphasize neatness or exactness. Provide projects that allow them to use their creativity and express their individuality.
- Primaries are eager to learn. Take advantage of their ripe minds for memorizing and learning God’s Word. Spend time working on scripture memory. Relate Bible truths to familiar events in their world. Remember that they learn much by conversing with you and by observing you.
- Primaries have a wide variety of abilities. Ask those students who have reading and writing ability to help the younger students. If you have adult helpers, place students of similar abilities into small groups to complete learning activities. To help non-readers’ comprehension, have students read together orally as much as possible.
- Primaries need breaks. By organizing your lesson to have several shorter teaching times rather than one long block of time, primaries will learn more. Give students opportunities to move and be actively involved.
- Primaries prefer same sex friends. Don’t pair girls with boys. Accept the fact that primary boys often want nothing to do with girls.
- Primaries identify with Bible characters. Practice telling the Bible stories with drama and expression. Relate characters’ emotions and life experiences to your students’ lives. When dilemmas arise in the classroom, discuss how godly Bible characters would respond.
Knowing and using these ten characteristics will enhance your teaching. When you design your Sunday School sessions with the primaries’ mindset in mind, they will love to come to church. You will have a special place in their lives even as they grow older.
Jeanie Augsburger, pastor’s wife and primary teacher
First Baptist Church
Arlington Heights, Illinois
Check out RBP’s children’s ministries website for helpful teaching tips!