Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Stressful Sundays

I was under the impression that the sabbath day was supposed to be full of peace and rest. Not true if you are a Mormon in charge of primary kids. 

I currently team teach five year olds with Chuck. They are cute and sweet yada yada yada BUT they seem to have an attention span of about 2 minutes... so you can imagine that after an hour being quiet in sacrament meeting, listening to talks that don't make any sense to them they are not ready to sit quiet and still in a huge room with all their friends. Despite my best efforts to maintain some sort of classroom order (because that is what the primary presidency and other teachers expect of me), they just wanted to jump around, laugh and talk about belly buttons.

If we are going to make them stay at church for that long they should be able to run around and play. I am sure some would consider that breaking the sabbath day.... I remember getting yelled at as a kid for running in the gym when church was over. People would say "No running in God's house." I wonder if God would have a problem with little kids running and being happy and playing in His house. I submit that he would not. I mean Jesus told us to be like little children. So why do we spend so much time each week trying to make them act like little adults? Someone gave a lesson in sharing time a few weeks ago about being good... she noted that "wiggling your feet in church was BAD" Are we seriously trying to shame kids for having the wiggles. Movement is important for young kids growth and development.

I seriously want to bring a bag full of toys and games next week... have a two minute lesson and then just play. 


The Atomic Mom said...

Do you have any quite transistion activites you could do when you first get them into your class room? Like puzzels or coloring? That's what they do in nursery and it kinda-sorta-works-every-fourth-Sunday...haha!

I saw a cute puzzle idea that you could make at home. 5x7 picutre cards of Pres Monson, Christ or similar. Then glue them onto big craft sticks (popsicle sticks) and then cut the picture along the edges of the sticks and there is your puzzle. Each goes in it's own ziplock bag. Or if you can find those temple cards and do a matching game. I also have a matching game that I drew I can send you a copy of if you want.

But the struggle for reverence never ends. We teach the 12/13 year olds and they are worse than the nursery kids sometimes. It's a good fight though, gotta fight it, so they all don't turn out to be total creeps.

Toni Call said...

i feel ya. i taught the sunbeams (3-4 year olds) for the past year and it was ROUGH. cutest kids ever, but yes, a bit much for them (and me!) to handle.

The Atomic Mom said...

Ok, I know it's been a few days, but I still keep thinking about your predicament...

What I've found that works with school kids, primary kids, all kids, is a class room routine. And since you're getting a new group in a week, you can start fresh. Make a schedule of sorts that you do in your classroom. 1-- come in, do a transistion activity 2-- Have a prayer 3--Have the lesson etc etc etc....oh and I would totally have assigned seats. But don't call them that, call them, something like, "your own special chair". Also, if they start out at 5yo, they should know how to read by mid year, which will be very helpful in what you can do with them. Ask them what they are learning in school, so you can take those skills and use them in your class.

The Atomic Mom said...

Oh...oh...oh...good idea just popped into my head (hi, I'm a nerd)

Do the 12 Apostles matching. Just make copies out of the Ensign, then make a few sets of the game so they can work in 2s or 3s...there you go. I think I'm going to do that for the 13 yos!!

plwordsmith said...

I so totally get where you're coming from. I think God would approve of kids being kids and getting their wiggles out as long as it doesn't get too rowdy to upset everyone else. There's a fine line there and me and the kids often stepped over it in music time. That being said some get your wiggles out and musical activities at the start of class may work, but you'll always need to change it up a bit.

When I taught the CTR 6 class, I could restore reverence with a timer. When things got too rowdy I'd announce and set the timer and things would be quiet for a few minutes. Sometimes the kids asked for the timer cuz they realized their classmates were getting out of control. I also bribed with treats - which I now is discouraged - but being a kid at heart...I just sort of rebelled.

Mommadriver said...

Speaking from YEARS of Primary experience, I think the above suggestions are good. AND, IF you are going to give treats, talk with the parents ahead of time to determine alergies, etc. Crackers, fruit, etc. Something like Jello Jigglers is usually safe. But do ask first. Structure IS KEY. As you establish a routine in your classroom, they know what to expect. Let them be squirrelly for the first few moments while you set up. Not too wild, though. There have to be rules about touching or bothering others. If the chairs are metal, make cute name tags (your mom can help you with this) with magnets on them. Be sure to add a few "guest" tags to the pile. Have music sometime during the lesson. Keep the lesson short. Plan a game that relates to the lesson. Games keep them engaged! It's important to have "helpers", too. Holding pictures, or answering questions. Try not to keep them confined to the chairs for too long. If you have time left at the end of the session, have a few games to play that help them enjoy coming to Primary. They don't care as much about what you teach as they do about how they feel about being there.