Category Archives: baby class

Do Babies Benefit From Bible Class?

I imagine you can guess my answer to this one since I have been teaching the baby Bible class. Too many times I’ve heard people refer to the baby class as a baby sitter while mom sits in the adult class or teaches an older children’s class. I’ve heard that it’s not really an important class and can take an experienced teacher away from teaching the older kids. Well, I disagree.

I have been teaching the baby class for the past 3 months. I have 2 regular students and some semi-regular visitors. Our congregation is blessed with families that have raised their children here, their children have moved off and have families of their own but return regularly to visit home. It’s always a joy when they bring their babies to my class.

One of my regular students was 6 months old when we started so she is now just about 9 months old. She has always been fascinated with the class. When she first came to class, she would smile and be wide-eyed about everything that I presented to her. She’s fascinated with any “books” I read. I rarely ever read a book but do more flip-charts. She LOVES them. She likes the little toys I hand her as I tell the story or sing a song. She is a joy.

For the past couple of weeks, she has been joining in with some of the simple hand movements I use. The one she really likes is when she gets to choose a Bible out of the basket. Then we sing: This is the way we pat the Bible, pat the Bible, pat the Bible. This is the way we pat the Bible with our little hands. She so sweetly and gently pats her Bible with a big smile on her face. Is she learning anything important? Oh yes. She’s learning that the Bible is something special. That we are gentle with it and that it came from God. She can’t verbalize any of this yet but she’ll soon be able to.

One thing that has really helped her in Bible class is that either her mother or her grandmother comes into class with her each time. I know some people don’t like teaching a Bible class with parents in the room but I love it. In this case, the mother and grandmother have both told me that they repeat the songs and hand movements we do in class at home. If they weren’t in the class, they wouldn’t know what we were singing or doing. They don’t just come to class, they participate in the class. They sing, they keep her attention focused when it strays, they tend to her physical needs (wiping her nose, finding her paci, etc) so I can concentrate on the lesson itself. This precious little girl’s participation in class has been helped so much by having her mother and grandmother be with her.

So, do babies benefit from Bible class? Yes, they do. They learn about God and how much He has given them how He loves them. They learn the basics of the simpler Bible stories. They learn that there are those not in their family that think God is important. In this little girl’s case, she has learned that Bible class is important to her mother and grandmother too. She has benefited from the extra time spent at home teaching her about God using the same songs we use in class. The next time you think maybe you should start letting your little one go to class by his/herself, or the next time you shy away from a parent coming into your room as you teach class, think about little Stormy and the benefits she has received from having her mother/grandmother in class with her.

Teaching The Little Ones

I’ve been teaching the “baby” class again for the past month. I haven’t been in this class for several years. I have really missed teaching them. We are in a baby slump at our congregation so we just have a couple in this age range. I have 2 in class on a regular basis. We are blessed with frequent visitors in this class due to young families coming back home for a visit.

I started teaching a baby class before I ever had children. My oldest is now 25. At the time, we had 3 little boys all nearly the same age in our congregation. Their parents thought I was crazy when I said I wanted to start a class for their age. We had a great time but those poor little boys got a very novice teacher. I got to see one of them for the first time in probably 20 years this summer. It was good to hug his neck.

Not long after starting that first class, I had a baby of my own. While visiting family at Bellaire, I took him to their baby class. Kelia Ballou was the teacher. I was amazed at how she taught that class. She had 10-15 babies in that class. Each baby sat on the floor in a semi-circle with a mom or dad right behind him/her. Those babies were captivated by her teaching the entire time. I went home that day with a new enthusiasm for teaching.

Kelia was using To Toddlers With Love by Palma Smiley. I soon began using it as well. This curriculum, while not perfect, is wonderful for this age group. If you’re not familiar with it, check out their website: Early Childhood Curriculum.  This curriculum teaches one lesson for a month and has plenty of activities/songs to keep teacher and students learning the entire class time.  The lessons are independent of each other so you can use them in any order.

This last month we studied David.  I chose this lesson first mainly because I had such a nice full box of activities all ready to go.  Palma Smiley recommends that you (and anyone else you can get to help you) make the activities and store them in boxes so they are ready to use whenever they are needed.  I have my personal set of boxes that I have used over the years and at each of the congregations we’ve attended I’ve helped them get a set of boxes to keep at the building.

For years, I would scour the clearance aisles, buy the baby kids’ meals at McD’s and confiscate toys out of my kids stash to supply my boxes with.  It’s amazing the things you can find to fill these boxes.  I have really tried to stay away from toys that represented a movie character to the kids or a toy that looks too cartoony.  Even though Nemo is a real looking fish, in most kids’ minds, he is a movie character.  Some of the fast food restaurants put their best toys (at least for my boxes) in their baby kids’ meals.  You have to ask specifically for these but they are worth it.  I have had my whole family buy happy meals with the baby toys so I could get enough for my class.

There is an interesting thing I noticed years ago and it happened again just Sunday AM.  These lessons are expected to last 1 month — that’s both Sunday and Wednesday classes.  Here in Huntington, that means 7 or 8 classes a month (we have a 1st Wednesday night singing each month).   With the older kids (around 2 years old) you can always tell when it’s time to move on to the next lesson.  They will get bored.  Sunday, Luke got bored.  He started out the month a little unsure of what all these activities were I was showing him.  Then, after a couple of weeks, he was really getting into them and feeling quite confident.  Then, Sunday, he was showing a lack of interest.  Time to move on to the next box.  Seeing as that was July 31st, it was perfect timing.  Sunday, August 7th, we’ll start our Baby Jesus box.