Does Teaching Babies and Toddlers at Church Matter?

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For several years I served as the “baby wing” coordinator at my local church and oversaw the infant through one-year-old rooms on Sunday mornings. Part of my responsibility was to ensure my volunteers were teaching the curriculum provided. I found that most of my volunteers, upon entering the job, assumed that these rooms just provided childcare, and that one could only baby-sit these ages during the Sunday school and church service hours. One of my goals was to help my volunteers see the impact they could have on the spiritual development of these little ones.
With the one year olds, everything would go quite smoothly as the volunteers helped the preschoolers with crayons, glue sticks, and colored construction paper provided each week. The Bible story would go along with the craft project, and I would hear the volunteers telling the children about God’s creation, or how much He loved each one of them. In addition to a couple of crafts, they would also have a bear puppet that they could use to help teach the children the Bible lesson as well as a c.d. that would accompany the theme of the lessons.
While the one year olds were being taught a Bible lesson each week, the baby and toddler rooms were a different story. I constantly struggled to get my volunteers to see that they could have an impact on their babies and teach them spiritual truths even at this early age. The curriculum we used provided a sheet for babies and toddlers that encouraged the volunteers to teach them things such as patting the Bible or telling them how much God loved them. A c.d. accompanied the material and it would play comforting music that would tell of God’s love or sing of His praises. A take-home handout was provided each week to stick in diaper bags that would encourage parents, as well as give them helpful ideas on how to teach their children about God’s Word. On several occasions, I had volunteers stop and ask me why I provided curriculum or handouts at this early age. Often times they would not make it a priority to play the music or go through the “lesson” of showing them the Bible.
But God is faithful and one week one of my volunteers had a break through during our Sunday school hour. She excitedly called me over to her room full of toddlers and asked me to listen to one of the chubby-cheeked little girls sitting in a high chair stuffing her mouth with Cheerios. The teacher pulled out the Bible and showed it to the little girl, who promptly pronounced, “Bible.” The volunteer looked at me in amazement and told me that week in and week out she taught the lesson to the toddlers and never thought it was making an impact until today. She got teary eyed as she related that she realized that she could make a difference in their tiny lives.
That Sunday served as a reminder to me about the importance of guiding our volunteers to teach God’s Word even to the tiniest of our church members. It is vital that in ministering to preschoolers and their families that we provide them with material to teach, even if it is just a song or a simple instruction to “pat the Bible.” For more helpful tips on teaching young preschoolers, Children’s Development From Age 0-3, is a great article to check out to give you more ideas on how to teach these little ones.

Need More Encouragement? Read how the church nursery can be real ministry. You may also enjoy our this note to encourage church nursery volunteers.

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