Nothing is tougher than when you feel you have lost all control over a group of children. You have some kids running around with excessive energy, others crying out that they’re bored or want to go home. It can make for a miserable experience for all. The good news is that 95% of the time the remedy is quite simple! And it is to make sure your lessons are hands-on and developmentally appropriate.
One of the biggest roadblocks to making a child’s (and teacher’s) classroom experience a positive one is lessons that are simply not targeting a child’s developmental ability or needs. Think of it this way – what if you were in a meeting where the main discussion was something that you learned several years ago with a slower pace and watered-down approach? Would you be able to stay completely engaged, or would your mind start to wonder or perhaps even begin to feel frustration? Or maybe the opposite happens, and you are on a conference call where the discussion is wrapped around ideas and data that you simply do not understand. The information is brand new and above your head, and you feel completely lost. How would that make you react in the moment?
When activities are above or below where they are developmentally, they have the same instinctual reaction of frustration or anxiety. But instead of a more mature, controlled response like an adult would have, kids tend to either create their own entertainment or bail out. (And that bail-out can come with all sorts of drama!)
So how do you know what is developmentally appropriate for your age group? Here are a couple simple milestones to keep in mind when you are planning your time together:
Simply taking the time to understand the basics of the age group you are teaching will help your time with them be much more fruitful and fun! It’s so much easier to engage with kids when you have a better understanding of where they are and what types of things are important and impactful to them. So take a moment to look over the lessons you have planned. Are they ones that are active, participatory, and age appropriate? Do they offer children opportunities for success, or will they potentially lead to boredom or frustration? Tinker with plans to make sure you are doing all you can to meet your students right where they are. It’s worth the time and effort because when children are engaged with meaningful, age-appropriate activities, there will be less stress, fewer unwanted behaviors, and less anxiety for both students and teachers!
Hearts Alive offers Sunday School and Children’s church curriculum that has been designed with a child’s development in mind. We would love to send you a free sample. Sign up here!
Hearts Alive Sunday School and Children's Church provide liturgical congregations a highly-anticipated children’s curriculum that combines captivating content, lectionary alignment, and Gospel focus for children ages 3-12. For those seeking to engage children in a fun, age-appropriate application to the Revised Common Lectionary, Hearts Alive is a three-year course of study to give children a strong overview of the story of salvation and how it ties to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Hearts Alive supports and elevates liturgical traditions and the church calendar while using clear, contemporary learning techniques to present the Word of God. Learn more in our online community.
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