Although some choose to simply provide basic creche or nursery care for this age group there is also real opportunity for guided spiritual growth in a classroom setting. Infants and toddlers can learn lessons such as “God Made the World” “God Made Me” and “God Loves Me”.
Age Appropriate Teaching Methods
- Repetitive activities and routines: Knowing what to expect and being able to use skills are both comforting and confidence-building at the same time. Children of this age rarely get “bored”. Infants and toddlers have a great time when teachers sing the same songs over and over and bring out familiar teaching objects one-by-one.
- Sensory experiences: Everything is learned through the senses of touch, taste, smell, hearing and seeing. Use all of these in your teaching to connect children to God and His Word.
- Special Note: Most of the teaching material on this website relates to children aged three and older but infants and toddlers (ages 0-2) will need some special attention specifically relating to their learning needs. For resources relating to children under age 3 refer to the following:
- Teachers who teach this age group should be loving and able to make their students feel secure. They should create a safe space in which the child can explore and move around.
- When young infants begin attending Bible class they are likely to simply observe what is going on around them. Involvement increases with age.
- Infants are centred on themselves and their own physical needs. They crave security and are unable to control their emotions. In fact, emotions are often controlled by physical needs.
- Some of the first ways infants participate in Bible class are patting a Bible, ringing a welcome bell and looking in the mirror.
- You will probably need at least one adult helper in this class.
- Teachers who teach toddlers should centre activities around things the toddlers can touch and see. They should model patience and understanding and provide calm interactions and safe boundaries for this sometimes very energetic age group. The rhythm of song and poem will help set a tone for the class.
- As they approach their third birthday toddlers are mastering new skills such as drawing, puzzles and imaginary play. They still have struggle to control their emotions and have genuine difficulty understanding concepts such as sharing.
- Toilet training is usually going on at this stage so ask parents to take their child to the toilet before class starts.
Relating to the Bible at this Age
- Allow the infants and toddlers to hold small Bibles. These should be inexpensive because they will inevitably, at one time or another, be chewed and pulled apart and the pages torn.
- Show them how to hold the Bible carefully and how to turn pages.
- Place a sticker of Jesus inside the front cover so the children can “find Jesus” when they hold their bibles.
- Hold the Bible in front of each child, in turn, and slide your finger along as you “read” from it. I usually read, “God Loves Suzy.” (inserting the child’s name) Or “God loves Mummy.” “God loves Daddy.”
Other Helpful Online Resources
- The ABC’s of Spiritual Growth
- How to Sing With Toddlers
- Free Tunes for Many Children’s Songs (adapt words to fit your Bible class)
- Baby Growth and Development
- Toddler Growth and Development
- Child Development
- Play and Developmental Stages