2016 Primary Sacrament Meeting Program: Invitations, program covers and more!

proclamationpictures.blogspot.com by Tami Ray

proclamationpictures.blogspot.com by Tami Ray

Back by popular demand, the 2016 Primary Program Invitation is here! Thanks to Laura H. for putting this together, and special shout out to Tami Ray and her blog for the beautiful artwork!

Primary Program Invite 2016 (customize & print back to back, 4 invites to a page)

Matching printed program cover: Primary Printed Program 2016

Try printing out enough copies of the invitation for the Primary children and missionaries to distribute. Check out  “Children inviting neighbors, coaches and schoolteachers to Primary sacrament meeting program” about the wonderful missionary tool it can be (including a baptism that started with an invitation just like this!).

One year, my ward set up a small reception of cookies and drinks after the program to celebrate the Primary children’s hard work, and so that visitors feel welcome and have a chance to chat comfortably and ask questions. This gave visitors a chance to casually stick around and congratulate the child that they came to see, and not feel like they were obligated to go to class after, or make a hasty exit. They could stay longer and talk with others in a relaxed setting. The missionaries also joined the reception so they could talk with the investigators they brought, as well as meet other visitors who attended the program. Then everyone attended third hour classes as usual, and some hardy investigators stuck around.

If you’re planning your presentation outline, see Kim’s easy-to-follow way of putting it together at “Primary Sacrament Meeting Program outline – click, print and go!” Kim assigned each class one of the monthly themes, then interviewing each child by pulling them out of singing time to get a quote to go with the theme. The outline comes together really easily in the kids’ words that way.

Also see “Inviting Audience Comments – Primary Sacrament Meeting Presentation

-Laura S.

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Overheard in Primary: What brings you joy?

The Sharing Time lesson was about the Plan of Salvation. The Primary leader explained that everyone was there in the grand council when Heavenly Father announced the Plan of Salvation. She read Job 38:4,7: “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”

lds.org

lds.org

 

The teacher asked the children if there was a time when they had ever “shouted for joy?”

The girl with the braids from the CTR 6 class raised her hand excitedly and  answered, “The first time I tasted swiss chard!”

And she was serious.

~Michelle

 

 

 

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Children as Guest Singers in Youth or Adult Classes

Catch this revolutionary idea in the new manual “Teaching in the Savior’s Way“:

“Consider how you can make music part of your lessons; for example, you could play a recording of a hymn or invite a family or some Primary children to sing in your class.” While this probably should not happen too often, so as not to interfere with the children’s own gospel instruction, an occasional class visit gives the children the opportunity to bear their testimonies through song. Children rarely have the opportunity to share their musical testimonies besides the sacrament meeting presentation.

“Music has boundless powers for moving [us] toward greater spirituality and devotion to the gospel” (“First Presidency Preface, Hymns, x). And music sung by children, either children without sin (under age 8) or children not very good at sinning yet (ages 8+)? Even sweeter. Such a musical number could be a powerful addition to any lesson.

While you’re at it, have you seen the video of children explaining gospel principles in their own words? Like this one: The Atonement: Children’s Bible Videos

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Kids Answering Each Other’s Questions

This intriguing idea comes from the new manual “Teaching in the Savior’s Way,” page 24: “Invite learners to help answer questions. When prompted by the Spirit, you may decide to do this even if you feel that you know the answer. When you ask learners to search the scriptures and other Church resources for answers to gospel questions, you provide them with excellent learning opportunities.”

There are at least three advantages I can think of to having children answer each others’ questions:

  1. The best way to really learn something is to teach it to someone else.
  2. Children might hear a message more clearly when it comes from a peer, in kid-friendly words, than when it comes from an adult. Videos like the above, of children explaining gospel principles in their own words, can speak to a child in ways that grownup words can’t. It always astonishes me what children will do when invited by a peer that they would never do when invited by an adult. (See more Bible videos for kids by kids at https://www.mormonchannel.org/watch/collection/childrens-bible-videos/)

However, the teacher must take care to not let a few children dominate and answer every question. Open-ended questions like “What do you think about ____?” or “How have you seen this work in your life?” are questions that any child can answer, since there is no right or wrong. You may need to be more blunt to balance airtime for all: “Let’s hear from someone we haven’t heard from yet.” Or “Who hasn’t had a chance to share their thoughts yet?” You can say “Take a minute to think about this, then let’s hear your ideas” to give more time to everyone to ponder the question before someone pops up with an answer.

Besides, when you let children answer each other’s questions you just might learn something “out of the mouths of babes”! (3 Nephi 26:16 and Psalm 8:2).

-Marci

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Autism, Life Threatening Food Allergies and Primary

photo provided by author

photo provided by author

Today’s guest author is DeeDee, a wife and mother of two who loves the temple and loves to be outdoors enjoying nature with her family. See her 3 specific suggestions below about caring for her children in Primary. 

My beautiful son is four years old. He was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at age 3. My amazing eight-year-old daughter has life threatening (anaphylactic) allergies. Both of these conditions shape our children’s experience in Primary.

What is it like to have a child with autism at church? For me it is wonderfully challenging, but I recognize it’s an opportunity for growth and development, for both me and for my child. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a variable diagnosis. That means each child with ASD has unique strengths and challenges. Before my son was diagnosed he was struggling in nursery. A sentence kept going through my mind at that time, “The one matters.” I know that every child matters to the Lord and belongs in Primary, at church and in other church activities. Figuring out how to make that happen is the challenge.

What is it like having a child with life-threatening anaphylactic allergies at church? Life-threatening allergies are about safety. I want my daughter to be safe at church, in Primary and at church activities. It is scary for me to know that if my child eats a certain food it can result in a life-threatening allergic reaction. This makes church different for me than it was before I had a child with severe food allergies. My husband and I are diligent about constantly checking to see if food is involved at church. Sometimes snacks are given in class or as a reward for performances (like Primary programs). Other times food is used to make crafts, provide service or celebrate holidays. We have strict rules for our daughter about food & washing hands. She is very careful about what she touches and eats at church. My guard is always up to some degree at church because I want her to be safe and have a good experience.

What has helped our family:

1. We take responsibility for our children. My husband and I have learned that it is our responsibility to ensure our children are set up for success in Primary. Simply dropping them off doesn’t work. Our experience has been that things go best when we communicate our children’s unique needs with ward and Primary leadership so we can partner with them in helping our children do well in Primary. My 4-year-old son with autism doesn’t communicate verbally like many children his age. When he was diagnosed I notified our Primary presidency and spoke with his nursery leader about his unique challenges. His wonderful nursery leader did well with him, keeping the classroom calm and encouraging open play that doesn’t require 2-way verbal communication. She speaks to him as she does other children but also gives him gentle nudges to help him as needed. I also shared with her behavioral signs that may suggest he is having a difficult time, when it may be best to include me or my husband. Similarly, my daughter can’t eat nuts. Her life threatening allergic reactions can result in death or serious injury. My husband and I take responsibility for her condition by sharing applicable medical information with Primary leaders and our plan to help her if she has a reaction in Primary. We keep emergency medication near her at all times and ask to approve any food offered her in Primary. We hope that Primary leaders and teachers appreciate the steps we take to educate and include them so they aren’t left to interpret things on their own.

2. Have realistic expectations. We attempt to maintain realistic expectations at church. Church leaders, Primary leaders and teachers are imperfect people, volunteers at best. They make mistakes and can misinterpret things like we all do. A Primary leader may misinterpret my son’s behavior. A teacher may bring a snack my daughter is allergic to and forget to check with us first. These things can happen, and it helps to remind us to keep working with ward and Primary leaders.

3. Listen to the Spirit. Numerous times at church my husband or I have felt prompted to check on one of our children in Primary, sometimes urgently. We recognize these as promptings from Holy Ghost and are very grateful for them.

~DeeDee

 

For related posts, see Special Needs page and

Helping children accept others with special needs

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August Sharing Time or family night lesson: “My Body Is a Temple of God”

word of wisdom

 

Our #1 All-Time Favorite blog post with the most visits from the beginning is this one:

“Word of Wisdom – sharing time lesson and family night idea” with printable visuals to make a sorting game.

Also consider working in this concept: “But how can it be so bad if Aunt Susie does it?”

Check out these wonderful resources about modesty from the Friend magazine, including this maze activity about our bodies as temples.

-Marci

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Bridging Home and Church: a quick note from the teacher

timeout.com

timeout.com

Today’s guest author is Valerie, wife, mother of 7, grandmother of 13, who loves to cook, quilt, read, serve in the temple, and teach Primary!

Whether you communicate with the parents each week or just occasionally, it helps the parents reinforce the child’s learning. Here’s how Valerie does it:

Every Sunday afternoon/evening I send a group e-mail to the parents of the kids in the class.  (I know this is easy for me since I have no children at home making demands on my time!) I tell them what we talked about, maybe mention it would be a good subject for family home evening,  maybe explain the papers they brought home, tell them who said prayers and if they participated in any way in Sharing Time.  I always tell them how much my co-teacher and I love them, how reverent they are in sharing time (which is true–I think they are the most reverent class!), and if anyone said anything cute, funny, or  spiritual in class (as long as it doesn’t embarrass the parents).  Anything about individual behavior I talk to the parents separately.  The Primary presidency says that the parents really like the note.

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Overheard in Primary: a lesson that backFIRED!

lds.org - Jesus Blesses the Nephite Children, by Robert T. Barrett; GAK 322

lds.org – Jesus Blesses the Nephite Children, by Robert T. Barrett; GAK 322

Today’s guest author is Valerie, wife, mother of 7, grandmother of 13, who loves to cook, quilt, read, serve in the temple, and teach Primary! 
 
I teach 4-5 year olds in Primary — they are so cute! I taught a lesson about how Jesus loves each child and wants to bless each of us, His children. I told them the story from 3 Nephi 17 about Jesus blessing the Nephite children. My Primary kids said it did NOT sound like a good thing to be surrounded by angels and fire and they DID NOT want that to happen to them!  So funny! I told them it was a special fire that didn’t burn them and the angels were friendly but they still weren’t buying it!
Have any of your Primary children had the same reaction? Tell us how you handled it in the comments below!

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Summer special days – Pioneer Day, President Monson’s birthday, and Primary’s birthday!

Painting of the first Primary from lds.org

Painting of the first Primary from lds.org

Summer in the northern hemisphere brings Pioneer Day on July 24, President Monson’s birthday on August 21, 1927, and Primary’s birthday on August 25, 1878 (see History of Primary at lds.org).

To celebrate Pioneer Day, or illustrate any lesson about faith or courage, try this lesson: Simple Pioneer Trek for children. This is one of the favorite lessons of all time, and will stay with your children for a lifetime — guaranteed.

To celebrate President Monson’s birthday or Primary’s birthday, try this lesson: August: Celebrate birthdays of Primary, Pres. Monson. What do you think President Monson would like for his birthday? I’ll bet his favorite present would be if you served someone else.

Enjoy these special days with your Primary children!

-Marci

“Simple Pioneer Trek for Children” appeared in the book Sunday Lessons and Activities for Kids, the book that grew from this blog! Read about it hereSundayLessons_Front_RGB

 

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The Temple Is a House of God

Aba, Nigeria Temple - lds.org

Aba, Nigeria Temple – lds.org

I love this wonderful advice from the Sharing Time manual in July as you teach children about temples:

“Love those you teach: As you teach about eternal families, be sensitive to children who do not have both a mother and a father in their home. Also be sensitive to children who have parents or siblings who are less active or who are not members of the Church. Encourage all the children to live worthily and prepare so they can have eternal families of their own someday. (See TNGC, 31–32.)”

Here are some ideas and resources for teaching about various aspects of temples:

  1. About the purpose of temples, with a video which includes pictures of the inside of the temple: Primary Children Looking Toward the Temple
  2. About eternal families: Sharing Time ideas on “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”
  3. About staying worthy and preparing to enter the temple: But how can it be so bad if Aunt Susie does it?”
  4. About pictures of the temple in the home: “Let’s go get one right now!”

-Marci

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