It’s been a few weeks now since Sunday school began. You’re getting to know the kids and getting comfortable with the curriculum. Now is just the right time to pause and consider what’s going well, and what could go better. A little course correction early on could mean smoother sailing for the rest of the season.
Grab a piece of paper and make a list of the kids in your group (the ones that usually attend). Next to their names write all the things you’ve learned about them: likes to move around, enjoys singing, always volunteers to read, doesn’t like to answer questions, prefers to work alone, loves to make jokes, etc. Keep that paper around while planning, and add to it as the weeks go by. Use it to anticipate how kids will respond to different parts of the lesson, and choose options based on what you know about your kids.
Now consider how your kids interact with you and each other. Last year I had a girl in my class who was eager for attention and would act out to get it. I found that if I greeted her by name as she arrived and said something kind to her, she felt affirmed. Then she wasn’t as inclined to cause commotion during the session. Is there something small you can do to help kids get along better or stay engaged longer?
Your space can serve you well or cause strife. Two weeks we sat on the floor as I told the story of the birth of Jesus. But the table was right behind us and the chairs were a little too close. Partway through the story one of the girls reached back and grabbed a chair with her arms and scooted it close enough to become a distraction. Where do you sit or stand as you share the story or work together on projects? Is there a way your tables, chairs, or empty space could be arranged to serve you better?
Lessons usually begin with a way of hooking kid’s attention. Then there’s the story, followed by activities that help explore the story in personal and relevant ways. We want to work all the way through the session so that kids can hear the story and discover how to live their faith. But it’s easy to get sidetracked along the way. If you’ve noticed that you’re often crunched for time, consider ways to get the session started sooner, and keep it moving swiftly. Can you start the opening activity as kids arrive? Perhaps you can make transitions more fluid by setting up stations around the room, or placing supplies in specific locations. Maybe you can shorten group discussion by asking kids to talk to the person sitting next to them rather than sharing with the whole group. A little creative thinking can cut down on time and keep your session on track.
What advice would you offer to help things go more smoothly for the rest of the season?