Teaching Elementary Age Children?


When teaching elementary age children, we could be impacting the lives of those in grades one to six. They’re becoming more and more independent and developing a greater sense of self which can be affected by peer and a need to feel competent. This must be taken into consideration in the kind of learning environment we foster in our grade school classes.

An Acrostic to Help with Teaching Elementary Age Children

Here are some suggestions for Bible teachers of grade school children that address some of their age level needs and abilities.

E – Enlist their help.

Giving them responsibilities can help them feel more like this is their class and they are valued.

L – Listen to their concerns.

Being attentive lets them know you care about them and that their opinions matter.

E – Engage in Bible learning activities.

Keeping them active not only helps them learn better but also helps prevent discipline problems.

M – Motivate them by making learning relevant and interesting.

Building a desire to learn won’t happen if they’re bored or frustrated.

E – Encourage them.

Feeling incompetent does little to motivate them to learn so positively affirming them can help to spur them on.

N – Nurture a biblical worldview.

Seeing life from God’s viewpoint will help them navigate a dysfunctional world that wants them to conform.

T – Target the heart not just behavior.

Developing personal convictions is necessary if children are going to rise above peer pressure and live for the Lord.

A – Address issues relevant to their lives.

Dealing with peer pressure, bullying, and other challenges of this age can affect their spiritual fervor so shouldn’t be ignored.

R – Relate to them with unconditional love.

Experiencing God’s love through their teacher will go a long way to helping them better understand God’s heart for them.

Y – Yield them to the Lord.

Praying for them and trusting God to work in their hearts must be an integral part of reaching and teaching them if we want to make a lasting impact in their lives.

Check Out This Resource for More Help: Age Level Characteristics: Grade School Module


Engage Grade School Students in Bible Learning


The grade school age division in churches can range from a primary age child (grades 1-2) to a pre-teen (grades 5-6). While there’s a big difference between a primary age child and a pre-teen, one reality holds true for both of them. They all need to be actively engaged in Bible learning.

For the Primary Age Student: Bible learning activities should be predominately physical with some mental. Remember, they are in the early stages of reading, writing, and reasoning.

For the Junior and Pre-teen Ages: The older this age group, the more the activities should include mental engagement with some physical activity, in contrast to primary age students. Their logical, reasoning power is developing.

Importance of Engaging Grade School Children in Accordance with their Age Level Abilities

Here are two reasons we need to constantly engage grade school students:

  • If not engaged in the lesson, students will likely be engaged in something else which usually spells trouble.
  • If the activity is not in keeping with their age developmental characteristics, students could get frustrated or bored which can lead to discipline problems.

Grade School Age Level Characteristics
The Age Level Characteristics: Grade School Module, available through the Ministry Tools Resource Center store, includes handouts on age developmental characteristics of grade school children as well as a couple of articles about them. This module, which can be ordered separately, is part of a larger resource that also includes Early Childhood, Youth, and Adults age divisions.

For additional help, go to: Grade School Age Level Teacher Training Resources Resources


Teaching Nursery Age Children?


Nursery Teachers Babysitters or Foundation BuildersAges of children in the nursery of a church can vary from infancy to age two or three. Depending on how your church structures age levels, you could than have a wide range of developmental traits to accommodate. The key, no matter the age, is that the nursery becomes more than a place for parents to drop off their children for us to babysit while they go to their own class or worship service. This is a time to lay a foundation in these young children’s lives that can affect their attitudes about God for years to come.

Acrostic to Help with Teaching Nursery Age Children

The following suggestions apply to all young children, no matter the age span in your church nursery.

N Nurture their Sense of Wonder

We have a powerful, creative God who made the heavens and earth.

U Understand their Age Level Abilities

Having a good understanding of developmental traits will help manage your expectations, eliminating a lot of frustration. It will also help you determine ways to reach them, guiding your methodology.

R Reinforce Truths with Repetition

Theirs is an age when repetition is not only necessary but welcomed.

S Set High Enough, Yet Realistic, Expectations

If we don’t expect these children to learn much, we probably won’t put much into teaching them. While there are things they can’t do because of their age developmental abilities, there are many ways we can engage with them.

E – Engage their Senses

They’re learning about the world around them through their various senses. It only makes sense we teach in accordance with the way they learn.

R – Redirect rather than Reprimand

They will not sit still. They will get distracted. Expect it and learn how to redirect their attention.

Y – Yield to God’s Power to Make a Difference

God can use you to impact their lives, laying a foundation to be built upon. You may not see it now but can trust that God is indeed using you in the nursery.


Teach Infants and Toddlers?


When it comes to teaching infants and toddlers, some may wonder if it’s worth the effort. Those serving in the church nursery may ask, “What difference can I make?” We might recall that Jesus told His disciples, “Let the little children come to me” (Matt. 19:14). Yet, some may ask, “Didn’t Jesus know that toddlers are the ‘terrible two’s’ and ‘horrible three’s’?”

Early Childhood Module for Teaching Infants and Toddlers
The above questions are titles of two articles in the Early Childhood Age Level Characteristics Resource which also includes developmental traits and their implications for teachers.

Are Infants and Toddler Too Young to Learn?

Very short attention spans? Limited vocabulary? — Yes.

Ability to learn? — Absolutely.

These precious little ones actively learn whether intentionally being taught or not. Further, what they’re learning lays the foundation for future attitudes toward God and His Word.

The Key is How We Try to Teach Young Children

The question we should be asking isn’t if we should teach infants and toddlers but rather how. Certainly we shouldn’t overly structure our time with them, in keeping with their developmental abilities, but we can and should purposefully use whatever time we have to point them to our wonderful Lord. We can …

Pray aloud over them. Sing about the Lord. Tell them short snippets of Bible stories. Repeat short phrases from Scripture verses. Look at pictures and other visuals that provide opportunity to talk about God and His role in their lives. While they play, talk about how God made them and loves them. Etc.

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