Category Archives: Primary Presidency Administration

What about children without gospel instruction in the home?

I know what you’re thinking. “As we move towards home-centered, church-supported curriculum, what about those children who don’t have families who are active in the church? How can we make sure they are not left behind?”

Good question. As always, we follow Pres. Thomas S. Monson’s counsel, “Never let a problem to be solved [or, I might add, a program to be implemented] become more important than a person to be loved” (from “Finding Joy in the Journey,” Oct 2008). This curriculum change lovingly embraces children without gospel instruction in the home as well.

The video above, “Introduction to Come Follow Me for Primary,” addresses this question head-on.

Minute 3:36: a Primary teacher says, “We obviously want the children to be reading every week with their family, but the reality is that not everyone is going to get that. So it is still our job as teachers to teach them that: to introduce that topic, to introduce the scripture, to share our own personal testimony. Then we open it up to the children, and they go off of what you taught and shared initially.”

Minute 4:30: another Primary teacher says, “We can’t underestimate the power of children to be a positive force for change in their own homes. So even if your parents aren’t the ones leading out in scripture study, children can be the one to lead out in scripture study. I think we need to be particularly sensitive and show them some of the resources and the ways that they could do that.”

Also see Preparing for January 2019: what does it mean for Primary?

Personally, I think it is no accident that we begin our study together this year in the New Testament, learning about Jesus’ life so we can follow Him better.

-Marci

 

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Filed under Primary Presidency Administration, Teacher Support, Transitions

Preparing for January 2019: what does it mean for Primary?

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What an exciting moment! To think of children, youth and adults studying the same scriptures each week, learning together at home, and having harmonized classroom experiences that “support, build upon, and encourage meaningful gospel learning outside of Primary” (Sister Joy D. Jones, Primary General President, video).

What does the new Sunday schedule mean for Primary? Here’s the complete answer from the Church Newsroom. Here are the highlights to help you plan for Sunday, January 6, 2019.

“Primary will follow the schedule (above). If a Primary is large enough to separate into junior and senior Primary, leaders should reverse the schedule for half of the children and adjust the time as necessary.”

Classes will use the manual Come Follow Me — For Primary, downloadable here. Nursery will continue to use the same manual Behold Your Little Ones, downloadable here.

Opening exercises (5 minutes) may look about the same as you are doing now: prayer, scripture or Article of Faith, talk.

Singing time: music that supports the scriptures studied in class. This means that the music leader will be following the weekly lessons in Come Follow Me — For Primary, looking for songs that support the lesson. Read these instructions including exciting ideas for adding variety and solid doctrinal learning while you sing and have fun.

NO SHARING TIME. 

Also see What about children without gospel instruction in the home?

Thinking ahead to the sacrament meeting presentation? Scroll down in these instructions for ideas about how to plan for the 4th quarter presentation.

We hope you will be guided by the Spirit as you consider how these changes impact the children in your Primary. Finally, this caution from Elder David A. Bednar bears repeating, to not “focus primarily upon the logistical aspects of what has been announced.” [He knows me so well.] “We must not allow procedural details to obscure the overarching spiritual reasons these changes now are being made.”

May these changes lead you and your children closer to Jesus.

-Marci

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Staffing, Training, Behavior Management, and more!

Calling all Primary leaders! Here are some ideas for making your Primary the best it can be.

LEADERS:

CHILDREN’S BEHAVIOR MANAGEMENT:

God bless the faithful Primary leaders who work so hard to lead God’s children back to Him.

-Marci

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Filed under Discipline, Primary Presidency Administration, Special Needs

Tracking baptismal clothing made easy

Thanks to guest Jen H. for this great idea! Jen H. is mom to 3 children, loves reading, organizing and good food.  She loves serving in Primary and sharing good ideas. 

The Primary presidency is part of the team managing baptismal clothing. It’s not a glamour job, keeping track of wet baptismal clothes. But it’s one of the important tasks behind the scenes, to make this sacred day go smoothly for each Primary child.  Here’s one way to do it.

Tape a brightly colored label to an ordinary gallon-sized ziploc bag with the following text.

(Click here for the ready-to-print label, 6 on a page: Baptismal clothing plastic bag label )

Baptismal Clothing Bag

After getting baptized, please wring out the jumpsuit in the sink and place it in this bag. Please give this bag to your Primary president before leaving the church. Please do not put any personal belongings in this bag. Please do not take this clothing home to wash.

It’s the little things that keep the kingdom running smoothly.

-Marci

For more great ideas from Jen H, see

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Primary Secretaries – try “You’ve Got Mail” and indestructible assignment slips

Today’s guest idea is from Cathleen. She decorated an inexpensive mailbox for Primary, and put slips of paper inside inviting children to do the talk, prayer or scripture for the following week. When it’s time to pass out the slips of paper, she dramatically announces, “You’ve got mail!” She opens the mailbox and passes out the slips of paper.

Another idea is to use indestructible paper bracelets to put on the child’s wrist, to make sure the notice makes it home! Search online for “paper event bracelets” — they cost as little as 5c each and are made of Tyvek, a thin, strong paper.

Here’s more ideas for secretaries:

We appreciate our Primary secretaries for all their good work!

-Marci

 

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Filed under Opening Exercises, Primary Presidency Administration

Primary Assessment: Children

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In a previous post Primary Assessment: Adults, we talked about ways of obtaining useful feedback from adults. What about the children themselves? What might you learn from a kid’s-eye view of Primary?

Consider taking a few minutes at the end of class or Sharing Time to ask the children a few questions. For younger children, it can be as simple as “Draw a picture of your favorite part of Primary (or our class).” Children may draw a picture of their teacher or friend, Singing Time, using scriptures, being greeted at the door, etc.

For older children, you may want to be more specific. “Tell about the Sharing Time (or lesson) that you remember most. It could be recently, or long ago” or “What three things do you like best about Primary (or our class)?”

You might NOT want to solicit suggestions for improvement. Children usually don’t have a lot of practice in constructive criticism, and might make pointless suggestions like “more treats!” or “shorter time!” or make hurtful remarks about a peer.

You might be surprised at what stands out for them, and they may be pleased that you were interested in what they think and wanted to ask for their opinion.

-Marci

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Priesthood Authority (men and women) and Priesthood Keys (men only)

Guest author Christanne loves all the church auxiliaries but has spent most of her adult life in Relief Society callings. She is mother of three very different but amazing kids. Their family loves to be outside as much as possible.

Click here for the ready-to-use lesson plan: Priesthood keys and authority lesson outline

With 5 Sundays in October, you may have time for a lesson to supplement the excellent lessons in the Sharing Time manual for October 2017: “Blessings of the Priesthood Are Available to All.” This Sharing Time Lesson can be given anytime after week 1, to teach children the vital principle taught by Elder Oaks:

“We are not accustomed to speaking of women having the authority of the priesthood in their Church callings, but what other authority can it be? When a woman—young or old—is set apart to preach the gospel as a full-time missionary, she is given priesthood authority to perform a priesthood function. The same is true when a woman is set apart to function as an officer or teacher in a Church organization under the direction of one who holds the keys of the priesthood. Whoever functions in an office or calling received from one who holds priesthood keys exercises priesthood authority in performing her or his assigned duties.” (emphasis added) Dallin H. Oaks, “The Keys and Authority of the Priesthood,” April 2014 General Conference.

Click here for the ready-to-use lesson plan: Priesthood keys and authority lesson outline

For a 1-minute synopsis of Elder Oak’s talk, click the video link above.

To see the full 16 minute talk, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1KOFWmZl8k

To read the text, visit The Keys and Authority of the Priesthood

For a related idea, see Women and Service in the Kingdom

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Filed under Lesson, Life Lessons, Primary Presidency Administration

Primary Mad Libs (for leaders and teachers)

Got a training meeting coming up? In the previous post “Working Together: Strength in Unity,” we noted Elder Joe J. Christensen’s suggestion of occasional Primary worker gatherings “to build unity and team spirit.” In such a gathering, you might like to try the classic Mad Libs game with a Primary twist!

If you haven’t played the game Mad Libs in a while (or never), here’s how it works: “Mad Libs consist of a book that has a short story with many key words replaced with blanks. Beneath each blank is specified a category, such as “noun”, “verb”, “place”, or “part of the body”. One player asks the other players, in turn, to contribute some word for the specified type for each blank, but without revealing the context for that word. Finally, the completed story is read aloud. The result is usually somewhat nonsensical.” Click here to refresh your memory about the difference between adjectives and adverbs!

If you have more participants than blanks in the story, feel free to extend the Mad Libs by adding a few story detours. Naturally, if you have fewer participants, each person can take several turns. Then read the result out loud and enjoy the laughs!

Download this blank version for you to use in Primary (with a short sample included at the top): Primary Mad Libs for teachers and leaders

By the way, if your family enjoys Mad Libs, feel free to write your own! Start with your last vacation or dentist visit or perhaps a minor catastrophe. Write it out, leaving blanks here and there — and let the fun begin!

For other training or Primary gathering ideas, try this hilarious 5-minute skit (just print and read): “Lovable Rascals” – a skit for Primary training meetings about dealing with behavior challenges”

And we can’t talk about this enough: Primary’s #1 ongoing challenge – staffing!

-Marci

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Primary Assessment: Adults

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Whether you are a leader or teacher, your Primary or class may benefit from pausing a moment and taking stock. In professional settings, it’s standard organizational practice to periodically conduct “360 degree” evaluations with all sectors of the organization, in order to figure out what’s working well and what could use adjustment. As always, different points of view may have different insights that might not be as visible to the leaders or teachers themselves.

“No one of us is as smart as many of us together. Each of us brings a unique perspective and set of experiences and insights,” said Jakob R. Jones, Ensign, 9/16, 46). Presidency members may already be conducting personal stewardship interviews with teachers and other Primary leaders. Ideally these interviews would happen after a few weeks in the calling, to see how things are working out at first, and then periodically thereafter. In these interviews, leaders can learn much by listening as well as instructing and training.

Or you may want to invite comments from all the teachers at once, either by survey (paper, electronic or both) or interview (phone or in-person). Questions might include:

  • 3 strengths of our Primary as a whole from your point of view,
  • 3 areas for growth for our Primary as a whole,
  • your 3 greatest challenges as you serve in your position,
  • comments.

Leaders may want to visit classes or co-teach occasionally for additional support of teachers, especially if the teacher has a particular concern.

Also see Working Together: Strength in Unity

It’s a joy to work together in unity in this grand kingdom-building work, one child at a time.

-Marci

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Working Together: Strength in Unity

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Like a one-legged stool, working alone in Primary is not as strong or steady as working together. “No one of us is as smart as many of us together. Each of us brings a unique perspective and set of experiences and insights.” (Jakob R. Jones, Ensign, 9/16, 46). In a landmark address, Elder Joe J. Christensen, former president of Ricks College and member of the presidency of the Seventy, said, “Fewer mistakes are made when a leader counsels effectively.” Ensign, 3/01, 18

Notice he doesn’t say “no mistakes” but “fewer mistakes.” Even when one seeks the Spirit and counsels together, each of us is still imperfect and in need of constant improvement. Elder Christensen then quotes an unnamed counselor in a presidency who said, ““If this were not the Church, I would resign. We do not function as a presidency. The president makes all of the decisions. We don’t meet and counsel together regularly. As counselors, we are more like errand boys and are just expected to do as we are told.” Clearly this is a presidency that has room for growth in their effectiveness as a council.

Elder Christensen adds, “The concept of lay leadership, which involves all of us as active members, provides us with many opportunities to serve and develop.” He makes these suggestions, among others:

  • Counsel together.
  • Avoid interminable meetings through better time management.
  • Develop a feeling of fellowship. “Occasional informal gatherings . . .  can contribute much to building a unity and team spirit.”

“Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” Proverbs 11:14

ACTION STEP: Did the Spirit bring anything specific to your mind as you read this? What challenge are you struggling with right now that may benefit from counsel? Might you gain insight or support by counseling with a member of the Primary presidency, a teacher, bishopric member or parents?

MORE RESOURCES: Read more about Teacher Councils in Primary and new manual: Teaching in the Savior’s Way

Also see Support and Unity: Primary Appreciation Dessert Night

Read the classic book Counseling With Our Councils: Learning to Minister Together in the Church and in the Family by M. Russell Ballard

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