You’ve just been called as a Primary leader? Welcome! It’s an honor to teach the youngest Saints, these precious children whom Jesus went out of his way to love and welcome when He was on the earth. (See Luke 18:16)
Where in the world to begin? Here’s a Quick Start Kit:
The church’s official Primary website, a goldmine of ideas, videos, and resources.
From store.lds.org (many are free):
- Administrative Handbook. The foundation of the how and why of Primary. Obtain from store.lds.org or from your ward clerk.
- Sharing Time Manual. These well-constructed lessons have great ideas but also room for inspiration to match the needs of your Primary children. “Supplement the ideas provided here with some of your own.” (page 2)
- Teaching Guidebook. This slender booklet is power-packed with simple, effective suggestions for teachers and leaders.
- Children’s Songbook. Not just for music leaders! Weave a song into a Sharing Time lesson or classroom lesson to drive home the point in a memorable way and to reach children of varied learning styles. You can find a Primary song to teach any doctrinal point!
From this blog: (follow the link below, or type a topic or title into the search box on the right when you want to search for varied resources)
- “Teachers: the glue that holds Primary together”, with a downloadable orientation letter for new teachers that does double duty for all teachers as a reminder of sound gospel teaching principles. This post also has ideas for supporting teachers to get substitutes.
- “Classroom management: a few easy rules in kid language,” with downloadable poster. A must-have for every Primary class!
PHASE 2: Then, as you get your bearings in this calling, add on these terrific resources:
- Faith in God for Boys, Faith in God for Girls, free from store.lds.org. Take particular note of “My Gospel Standards” on the back. This is basically “For the Strength of Youth” for Primary children. Refer to it often as you teach related principles.
- Scouting – Primary’s Final Frontier. Demystify the Cub Scouting and 11-year-old Scouting programs in this informative post, complete with a fill-in-the-blanks orientation letter to give to parents. (Yes, Scouting will be replaced with a new Church achievement program in 2020 – but finish strong and don’t plateau!)
- Staffing – Primary’s #1 ongoing challenge. Read these ideas about effectively working with priesthood leaders to keep Primary staffed.
- Teaching to a Child’s Whole Body: Resources for reaching children of all learning styles. Solve reverence problems before they begin by keeping children engaged with a variety of teaching techniques, illustrated in this terrific post.
- Addressing special needs. Written by a Primary leader who is also a mother of special needs kids, this post shows that learning a few simple techniques can help you reach every child. “Primary is a place where every child should be welcomed, loved, nurtured, and included.” (Sharing Time manual, 29)
One last word — see this marvelous Ensign article in answer to the question, “How can we magnify our callings while at the same time following the counsel of Church leaders to reduce and simplify the work?” Particularly notice this response from Dorothy Moore in Malad, Idaho: “When I served as Primary president, I learned that fasting and praying as a presidency helped my counselors and me to serve far more effectively than spending the same amount of time planning grandiose activities and making extravagant visual aids. Not only did we receive new ideas for dealing with problems, but the Spirit touched the children in greater measure and prepared them to learn what we taught.”
What resources did you find particularly helpful as you began your Primary service?