Building a Team for 1 & 2 Year-Olds

As the journey to launch a 1-and-2-year old class within our church continues, we have fine-tuned the classroom schedule.

We ask the teachers and helpers to arrive 30 minutes before the service starts. This not only allows time to review that day’s teaching, but also to pray over the room and the children before the first child arrives.

Since our church services last between 75 and 90 minutes, our classroom schedule looks like this:

  • 20 minutes Free play
  • 5 minutes Prayer / snacks
  • 20 minutes Bible / lesson / singing / mirror
  • 30 minutes Guided play
  • 15 minutes Clean up / parent pick up

Beginning with free play time helps the children get acquainted and settle into the classroom. It also allows time for late-comers to join without missing out on any of the teaching. During this time, one of the adults prepares sippy cups of water and small disposable cups of cereal with each child’s name.

Table Time

Around the 20-minute mark, we begin singing “Jesus Loves Me” while we invite the children to the table. The veterans are always first to get there, eager for their snack and teaching time.

  1. We pray a simple prayer and then place the snacks in front of each child. As they eat, we follow these regular steps.

  2. We hold up the “classroom Bible” and ask the children what it is. (It’s not pretty, but it’s the same Bible every week. It’s a true Bible versus a Bible storybook.) Then we invite each child to pat the Bible gently. We show them all the “Bible words” inside and remind them that the Bible is God’s book that tells us about Him.

  3. We share a simple Bible story based on that week’s curriculum, often using a Bible storybook.

  4. Most weeks we add a new picture to the bulletin board as part of the lesson time. Pointing out the pictures that have previously been posted makes a quick and simple review of what we’ve studied up to that point. Each study section (a month or two at the most) includes a specific bulletin board which is easily seen from the table.

  5. We sing several songs while we are at the table. Some songs, like “Jesus Loves Me” and “God Is so Good” can be sung year-round. Others are more lesson-specific, like pairing the familiar tune of Old McDonald with simple lyrics about Noah and his animals.

  6. No lesson can officially wrap-up without the mirror. We have a sturdy, foam-encased mirror that we hold up in front of each child while singing a simple song about God making them and loving them. At the end of the simple chorus, I always try to reach out and touch the child on the forearm as I remind them that God loves them. Some kids are super silly when it’s their time to be spotlighted, others are shy. Even though it takes a little time to sing to every single child, we have been pleased that the other children watch and quietly wait their turn.

  7. After the lesson time is complete, we dismiss the children individually (lifting them out of the table and returning them to the play area) when they finish their snack. Some children want a refill or two—and as long as they use “please” and “thank you” we are happy to give them more. We plan for one adult to linger at the table with them while the other helpers play with the children who have finished.

Guided play time varies, depending on the study. During the Moses month, we have a pop-up tunnel and “ark” they are encouraged to climb around in. In December we work with each child individually to add nativity stickers to their personal page each week. (We will send their completed nativity page home at the end of the month.) Sometimes the children are “restless” and we don’t truly guide their play, but allow free play until the parents come to pick them up.

Our church has a strict check-in, drop-off, and pick-up policy. When the parents come to the classroom for their child, the sticker on the back of the child is to be compared with the sticker the parent presents. If the parent doesn’t have their sticker, we are to keep the child while the parent retrieves it and returns for their child.

After every child has been picked up, we clean up the toys, wipe down the table, toss the disposable cups with any leftover treats, and gather the sippy cups. As the lead teacher I firmly believe the cups need more than a casual wipe down, so I take them home and run them through my dishwasher to sterilize them. As the first hour team leaves, the second hour team is arriving, ready to repeat the process all over again.

Things I’ve learned about our schedule:

  • It gives security to the children to know that we do everything in a predictable order, and at approximately the same time.

  • Flexibility is the key!

  • This is SO much more than childcare!

You can access this entire magazine for free here: Edition 41

Publicación más antigua Publicación más reciente