Nothing fairworthy to report about today, but I did want to share something I've been working on for the 2 & 3 year old bible class where I worship.
I am currently the teacher coordinator for the 2&3's classes. All this means is when someone volunteers to teach this age group, I am there to help them get materials, supplies, etc. to make their job easier and maybe even less intimidating. The hardest thing about getting people to teach these little ones is getting them over their fear that it will be hard. Yes, it can be hard if you go in there afraid and unprepared. I shutter at the thought of some of the bible classes I have taught with children of that age, but now with experience and the helpful hints given to me by many who have gone before me (Thanks Debbie! Thanks Susan!) I feel this age can be not only fun, but easy too!
The key to a successful 45 minute class is repetition. Too many times new teachers feel like they need to do everything different each time. Children this age on the other hand prefer to know what to expect. Even if you are bored out of your mind, they will love singing the same songs and having a predictable routine week after week.
So one of the regular activities I encourage teachers to do (and I do myself) is what I like to call "Who came to worship God with you today?" After I have greeted all the children and we have discussed which of the children are present and which are absent, I go around the table and ask each child "Who came to worship God with you today?" Notice I don't ask "Who came to church with you today?" The reason for this is I don't want the children to think of the Church as the building we are in, but rather the group that has come together to worship God. Since we have come to the building to worship God, it makes sense to ask "Who came to worship God with you today?" This activity is also nice because we can find out if anyone in the family is sick so that we might pray for them during our prayer which usually follows this activity.
This is how I run the activity:
I take some Playmobil 1-2-3 people that I have and place them before me on the table. I then ask the child "Who came to worship God with you today?" When we first start out, they may be shy or non-verbal, so I will give suggestions like, "Did your Daddy come to worship God today?" and if they say yes, then I will put out a Daddy doll. Then a mommy, brother, sister, and so forth. Then after their family is out, we then count how many people came to worship with them. We make a big deal out of the number whether it is 2 or 10. The children love it and squirm with anticipation in their seats while waiting for their turn. If I have a large class (as we do currently) I will pick out the people, but if it's small (4 or less) then I will let them pick out the people.
So why am I boring you with this information? Well maybe it will give you an idea of what to do with a bible class of youngsters (I've done this with children up to age four) and I wanted to share how I solved a problem that I've encountered with this activity.
Meet some of the people I use for this activity:
If you aren't familiar with them, they are made by Playmobil and they are their 1-2-3 series. They are for younger children. They are wonderful, sturdy and perfect for this activity. I even use them for retelling bible lessons too. They're very versatile. My problem is that I don't like to share. I don't like to share because people don't believe me when I tell them they are very expensive and some are irreplaceable.
See this box below? I spent probably close to $150.00 for this small amount of playmobil 1-2-3 people. I haunted ebay auctions and found some at teacher stores to get the amount that I have. I would be very sad to lose any of them. While some people have been very careful, others have left them lying around or let the children just play with them to keep them occupied and I have almost lost a few.
So, still wanting to encourage the activity, but not wanting to lose my batch (and to provide some that will stay in the classroom permanently), I knew that I could probably make something similar, but for a lot less money. Meet part of the newbies that cost less than $13.00 to make:
I got the idea from seeing spool dolls from this site. She has some super cute ones. I'm not as talented as what she has to show, but I'm pretty pleased with what I've produced so far.
I need to add some dolls that are a little more multi-ethnic (I have no stain at the moment) and maybe a few redheads. Here is how our family would look during this activity:
The hair colors don't match us perfectly, but the kids never seem to care that much. These are pretty small, so if I had a lot of students who put things in their mouth, I wouldn't let them handle them, but usually by the time they start our class, they've stopped doing that. I need to seal them and then they'll be done.
My children couldn't stop playing with them and accidentally knocked this one in some paint I had by the finished dolls. I couldn't get the paint off. I don't know too many babies with green hair. Ben thought it looked like she was wearing a Davy Crockett hat.
Well that's it. Thanks for letting me share. Kate's crying so I'm off to get her back to sleep and clean up the kitchen!