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.