The Primary Department
by Pastor Jack Hyles
(Chapter 14 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, The Hyles Sunday School Manual)
(Written by Mrs. Johnny Colsten, Director of
Primary Work at the First Baptist Church, Hammond, Indiana)
At the time of this writing we have two primary departments in the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana. We have a separate department for all boys and girls in the first grade and another for those in the second grade. I have the privilege and responsibility of being the superintendent of the Primary I Department, which consists of first-grade boys and girls. On Promotion Day at the close of the Spring Program each year every boy and girl in our Sunday school who has completed kindergarten and is being promoted to first grade in public school is promoted to Primary I. He is assigned to my department. All boys and girls whom I have had the past year who are being promoted to second grade in the public schools are assigned to Primary II Department. After the first Sunday in the new department, each department may get their visitors and prospects from three grade levels--the grade level of the department, one grade level below, and one grade level above. Consequently, during the course of the year, Primary I Department consists mainly of first graders, but also has boys and girls in kindergarten and in second grade.
1. Send a congratulatory card home with each graduating kindergarten child on Promotion Day. In our Sunday school the department for the kindergarten children is called Beginner II. On Promotion Day I give their superintendent a supply of congratulatory cards from me. The purpose of this card is not only to congratulate the child who is going to enter school, but also to inform him of the location of his new department. An example of the card we give to the incoming first graders is shown below.
2. The Primary I superintendent should make a brief visit to the Beginner II Department on Promotion Day. Each year I arrange with the Beginner II superintendent to make this brief visit. She introduces me to the boys and girls as their new superintendent. I welcome them to Primary I and also remind them of the location of Primary I so they will know without a shadow of a doubt where to come the next Sunday. This visit to the Beginner II Department by the Primary I superintendent is of great benefit in giving the children the confidence that they will see someone they know when they come to the new department the following Sunday. Of course, this is advisable for every age department, but particularly so with the very young boys and girls.
3. The new first graders should receive a
welcome letter early in the week following Promotion Day. This will help the
boys and girls to be reminded of the name and location of their new
department. It will also serve as good public relations between the new
department and the parents of the new boys and girls. After all, the
children have been comfortably situated in a department for one entire year.
Making changes is never easy for young children. Every effort should be made
to make the transition a happy one. The welcome letter sent this year to the
boys and girls coming to Primary I Department is shown below.
4. Later in the week following Promotion Day, each first grader should receive another letter with his personalized name tag enclosed. Boys and girls need to see that they are wanted in a personal sort of way, not just as a mass of children. For this reason I have found it very helpful to use the personalized name tag each year at promotion time. There is another good reason for this. The individualized name tags greatly assist the new children in finding their new classes. You see, in Primary I the children are in small classes for the first time in their lives. Prior to this they have had large departmental teaching for the entire hour. This will be their first experience in a departmental setup--an opening assembly and divisions of small classes.
Some years I have used a particular theme such
as animals, cowboys subjects, etc. This year I used simply different colors
for the name tags. Most years I have used an object because all I wanted to
put on the name tag was the child’s name. However, this year, because of our
new building, the boys and girls coming into my department have to enter a
different building and go up three extra stories. Consequently, I felt it
wise to print upon the name tag more than just the child’s name. An example
is shown below.
The little poem on the name tag was a help to bus drivers and other adults who assisted boys and girls in coming to Sunday school and finding their new departments. If a child had difficulty finding Primary I and all his name tag said was his own name, then anyone who wanted to help him would not be able to assist him at all. This way anyone finding a child looking for Primary I could help him find the department because of the information on the tag.
5. Coordinate the colors of the teacher’s name tag, the teacher’s chair, and the classroom doors with the color of the name tags of the children assigned to that particular class. Currently we have thirteen classes in Primary I. This means that each class was assigned a different color. For example, let us take the color “red.” The teacher wore a red name tag on the first Sunday the boys and girls came to Primary I. Each child who was assigned to that teacher was sent a red name tag. The teacher’s chair had a red sign on the back of that chair. The classroom door was also labeled with a red sign. These signs are helpful for the entire year. Any boy or girl who comes the first Sunday, of course, is helped by the labeling of the chairs, classrooms, etc.; however, the class retains its color name throughout the entire year. This is helpful for children returning from vacation. They may not remember exactly where their class met, but they normally remember the color of their name tag or the sign on the classroom door, etc.
6. On the first Sunday in the new department the superintendent should be certain that plenty of assistants are on hand early so that each new first grader can be personally greeted and assisted in meeting his new teacher. No child should arrive in a new department and be left to find his place by himself. Each child should be warmly greeted. The assistant should greet the child that comes up the stairs with statements such as these: “Hi, there, Bobby. I am so glad that you are in Primary I. Let’s see, you have an orange name tag. That means that you will be in Mr. Gifford’s class. Come this way and I will take you to Mr. Gifford. I will show you where he sits and where his class of boys will sit. I will introduce him to you. My, you look fine this morning. Here he is. Mr. Gifford, this is Bobby Jones. Bobby, this is Mr. Gifford. He has an orange name tag on just like yours.”
The secretary or the assistant then leaves Bobby with Mr. Gifford and quickly goes back to the entrance of the department to greet another child.
7. The opening assembly on that first Sunday in the new department should be very simple and clear. New procedures must be explained, for as we have said, this is the first time these boys and girls have been in a departmental setup. The children before have had the security of entering one large room and staying altogether in that one room until the entire morning is completed. Now, things are different. The more simple and clear the procedure can be, the more confident the children will feel in their new location. This is vital! Many boys and girls are not encouraged by their parents to come to Sunday school. They come only if they are happy and comfortably situated.
The superintendent should lead the boys and girls in singing some songs with which they are familiar. She could teach them perhaps one new song, but no more on this first Sunday. In our case I taught the boys and girls our own welcome song and we sang it to ourselves. All the boys and girls were new in our department, and this way we could welcome ourselves to Primary I. This way we also learned our welcome song so that on the fifty-one succeeding Sundays we could welcome the boys and girls who would be new to our department.
Although the superintendent should be careful to make that first Sunday in Primary I interesting and exciting, she should never allow chaos to develop. Children should never feel that they have become free to misbehave in any way. Of course, a very well-planned opening assembly will prevent any such problems. Another prevention of problems is the simple stating of rules. Boys and girls who are going to be six years old are coming to a stage where they enjoy the feeling of belonging to a group with special rules. Organization has an appeal for them. So we call ourselves first graders immediately. Even though the boys and girls will not become first graders until September, throughout June, July, and August we refer to ourselves as first-grade boys and girls.
On the first Sunday in Primary I we practice saying the name of our new department and the name of our new superintendent. I tell the boys and girls, “Let’s open the windows and tell all the city of Hammond what department we are.” So we open a few windows a little higher than they already were opened, and we put our hands around our mouths. Very loudly we all say, “Primary I.”
I reply, “Do you think they heard us three blocks up the street or just one? Maybe they didn’t hear us. Let’s try again.”
This time they say, “PRIMARY I!”
Team spirit is important, and it must be developed from the start so that boys and girls will have a sense of truly belonging to the department.
8. Dismiss the classes by the color of the name tag. The superintendent should close the opening assembly early enough to allow time for orderly dismissal of classes. The boys and girls should never be permitted to leave altogether. The superintendent should observe that all are sitting very straight and keeping their rows very neat. She should call the name of the teacher and the name of the class color and ask them to leave in a straight line and walk to their class areas. She could say something like this: “Now we will excuse the girls in Mrs. Springel’s class. Mrs. Springel and all of her girls have lavender name tags. The lavender class may go now. Boys and girls, do you hear any sound? I do not. They are not bumping their chairs. The girls have not left their wraps or their purses or Bibles on their chairs. They have taken everything with them. See how nicely they are going to their class. That is wonderful, isn’t it?” With statements such as those the superintendent is likewise encouraging everyone else to be just as neat and just as careful about leaving the departmental assembly room. Also, every boy and girl in that class is being reminded again of their class color and their teacher’s name.
9. The transitions from the kindergarten to the first grade department should not be made too abruptly. Some activities should be planned which are very similar to those enjoyed in the previous department. For example, if during the course of a Sunday morning, the kindergartners are used to having light refreshments (perhaps milk and cookies), then occasionally this should be done in the early weeks in the first-grade department. Some of the same songs should be sung in the new department. If the previous department had any pet characters, such as puppets, perhaps one of those characters could visit the Sunday school department and this will enable the children to feel less strange.
All of the children have to learn to grow up.
The leaders of the new department should certainly plan each Sunday’s
activities so that the changes will not be such that will drive the children
away, but will rather interest them in continuing to attend the new
Division of Classes
1. Boys meet together in classes and are taught by Christian gentlemen. It is very wise to begin early in the grading of the Sunday school with men teachers for boys. In the First Baptist Church of Hammond a boy has a man teacher when he enters first grade, and from then on he is taught by men. No lady teaches a man or a boy the Word of God after he becomes a first grader. It is not our intention to raise sissies for God. It is our desire to raise men for God. The men who teach these boys should dress, act, live, and teach in a way that the boys can hope and plan to become just like their teacher.
2. Girls meet together in classes and are taught by fine Christian ladies.
It is important at this age level to give the girls an opportunity to have a lady who teaches just girls and who cares about their problems. The lady teachers should dress, live, teach, and conduct themselves in a way that they can be examples for the girls to follow.
3. The classes are divided by areas for the sake of convenience in visitation. Because we are located in the downtown area of Hammond, Indiana, most of our people live some distance from our church property. Consequently, it would be possible for a teacher to have boys in his class that live many, many miles from each other. For this reason we find it wise to divide our classes by areas so that within a given number of hours a teacher is able to accomplish more visiting. Also, the boys who bring friends from their neighborhood will have the privilege of having their visitors in the same class with them. Children who come on their own are more likely to find someone in the class they already know from school, the neighborhood playground, etc., if the classes are divided by areas.
4. The superintendent should carefully and prayerfully select the teacher for each class after dividing them by gender and by areas. She should consider what the needs of the boys and girls in that area may be and what teacher could best meet these needs.
It is often helpful if a teacher can teach a
class whose area includes her own home. This will enable her to do much more
calling and also will make it easier to plan social activities for the
children in her class. The children are also more likely to see their
teacher in everyday life--on the street, at the neighborhood stores, etc.
The teacher can have a good influence on his class throughout the week.
1. Our staff consists of a superintendent, two secretaries, two general teachers (one lady and one man), and thirteen regular teachers. This is our staff at the time of this writing.
2. We are located on the top floor of Miller
Hall. Our room arrangement is shown below.
The seven teachers who have classrooms are rotated annually with the six teachers who meet in the assembly room divisions. Divisions for these classes are made after the opening assembly period by pulling accordion doors.
The Opening Assembly
1. Begin on time. If Sunday school is announced to begin at 9:40, the opening assembly should not begin at 9:41. It should begin at 9:40. Lateness in beginning the hour not only wastes the time of the people who come on time, but it encourages people to come late all the time.
2. The opening assembly should last no more than twenty minutes. This includes the dismissal of classes. Promptly at ten o’clock our classes should be in session for the remainder of the Sunday school hour.
3. Have a well-planned opening assembly. My outline has usually been as follows: Sing a little. Teach a little. Promote a lot!
4. Sing a little. Boys and girls love to sing,
especially if most of the songs are familiar to them. We sing several
familiar choruses, and we also sing a welcome song to our visitors. Each
visitor stands and the boys and girls join in singing for them:
There’s a welcome here, a welcome here,
There’s a Christian welcome here.
There’s a welcome here, a welcome here,
There’s a Christian welcome here!
We also recognize those who have had birthdays the past week. We sing our birthday song to them. We use the traditional tune and sing the following words:
Happy birthday to you
Only one will not do;
Take Christ as your Saviour
And then you’ll have two.
Each child who stands in honor of his birthday is privileged to tell how old he became that week. Personal attention is given to these boys and girls, and the song is sung for them.
The singing of songs in the Primary I Department should be both delightful and spiritual. For example, instead of simply announcing, “Now we will sing ‘Jesus Loves Me.’” it would be well for the superintendent to ask first of all, “How many of you boys and girls love Jesus?” After they have raised their hands, she could say, “You love Him because He loves you. I know a song that tells us that Jesus loves us. Do you know one? Let’s sing it. Let’s sing, ‘Jesus Loves Me, This I Know.’”
In turn, the superintendent could encourage the
children to let Jesus know they love Him. The words of the chorus could be
changed very slightly and the children could join their hearts and voices in
Yes, I love Jesus,
Yes, I love Jesus,
Yes, I love Jesus,
I love to tell Him so.
Every effort should be made to make the singing in Primary I meaningful but also full of praise and delight.
5. Teach a little. The superintendent should have clearly in mind what new concept, song, Bible verse, lesson, etc., she intends to teach the boys and girls during each Sunday morning’s opening assembly. She should not try to teach them so many things that they cannot remember any of them. One main point should be well taught and well learned. For this reason I use the phrase “teach little.”
It may be that the superintendent may want to teach a new song. If this is what she has planned for the particular Sunday morning, then she should teach it well and teach it thoroughly. She should teach it early in the twenty-minute period. Then after recognizing the visitors and honoring those who have had birthdays, she could have the children sing the new song again. She could continue her opening assembly by having her usual time of promotion, and just before the children go to their classes, she could have them sing the new song again. In other words, if it is her purpose to teach a new song, she should capitalize upon this purpose and do it thoroughly and right.
If the superintendent has prepared an object lesson for presentation in the opening assembly, she should be careful not to make too many applications. Boys and girls will not remember any of them if too many are taught. It would be best to present a brief, interesting object lesson which makes clear a scriptural truth and let it go at that. It is far better to teach one truth well than to make so many applications and have those poorly taught.
Boys and girls love to hear stories, and from time to time the superintendent may choose to tell a short story during the opening assembly time. If she does, she must be careful to watch the clock. Stories are fun and exciting to tell, and a good storyteller may get so involved with her story that she fails to realize that time is slipping by. Regardless of how effective a superintendent is with boys and girls, she should not be delinquent about obeying the rule of holding the opening assembly time to twenty minutes at a maximum.
Re-emphasizing our rule “teach a little,” may I suggest that only one of the following teaching techniques be used per Sunday: the giving of an object lesson, the teaching of a new song, the telling of a short story, the teaching of an extra Bible memory verse, etc.
6. Promote a lot. Here is perhaps the greatest responsibility of the departmental superintendent. It is her job to create a departmental team spirit within her department. She must develop enthusiasm for growth. Departmental esprit de corps is vital for growth in any age department, but especially for boys and girls of young age.
Departmental spirit is very important when the boys and girls are first new in a particular department. They are used to calling the name of their previous department, and they must become very familiar with the name of the new department. In order to accomplish this, in the opening assembly of the first three or four Sundays with my new boys and girls, I spend a few moments each time helping the boys and girls learn to say “Primary I.” First of all I tell them the name of our new department. Then I ask them to repeat it to me. I then ask them to tell each other. Then I ask them to tell the teacher. Then I ask them to hold up on finger and point that finger at me as they say each syllable of Primary I. I suggest to them they invite their friends who are going to be in first grade as well as their neighbor friends who will be in kindergarten or second grade. Then very abruptly in the midst of my conversation I say, “To what department will you invite them?”
They all respond enthusiastically, “Pri-ma-ry I,” shaking their fingers at me just as I had taught them to do. Anything that can indelibly and effectively place the name of the new department in their minds is important to do.
During the opening assembly, big days, departmental drives, contests, etc., should be announced enthusiastically. The superintendent could use posters, puppets, surprise guests, secret codes, etc., to announce big days. She should never simply say, “Next Sunday will be very important. We want everyone here.”
Rather, she should say, “Do you know what day next Sunday is? It is June 23. Say that with me, boys and girls. Ready?”
“Can the teachers say it?”
“What day is next Sunday, boys and girls?”
The boys and girls will get the idea that on the twenty-third of June something wonderful is going to happen. The superintendent can then further explain what will happen on June 23 by telling it with much expression of by having some object or picture there to describe what will happen. Using the appropriate articles, she could say something like this: “O-o-o-oh, this sunbonnet will help keep the sun out of my eyes. The sun is so hot this summer, but it will not make me miss Sunday school! I do not want you to miss Sunday school either. Next Sunday, June 23, might be a hot day. Just because it might be hot, we are going to do something special for you. See this package of Kool-aid? See this ice-cube tray? See this package of cookies? Every teacher is going to bring cookies and Kool-aid next Sunday. What day?”
“Oh, I see. February 10.”
“No, June 23.”
“Oh, I see. We are going to have cookies and Kool-aid on July 19.”
“Well, what day is it?”
“Oh, I see. December 15.”
“Well, boys and girls, you must tell me once more. Mrs. Colsten just doesn’t seem to learn. What day?”
“Oh, yes, and we are having snowballs.”
“What are we having?”
“Kool-aid and cookies.”
You can readily see that the boys and girls will not forget that on the 23rd of June they will have cookies and Kool-aid. All of that may seem a bit juvenile to the adult reader of this book, but aren’t we teaching juveniles? Aren’t we teaching little boys and girls? Why shouldn’t we teach and lead in such a way that we will get children as excited about Sunday school and church as they are about the average television program?
In planning the presentation of promotional activities by means of posters and charts, the superintendent should be conscious of the reading level of her Primary I boys and girls. As the school year progresses, she can use more words, of course, because they will have learned to read better. In the days preceding their days in public school first grade and in the early days of their firs-grade experiences, she would utilize many pictures and repeat simple words on her charts. It would be very wise for the superintendent of Primary I boys and girls to secure a vocabulary list from the basic readers used in the local school so that she may utilize a great many of the same words that the boys and girls are learning in public school. She should also make use of these words in departmental mailings that she sends to the boys and girls as well as on the charts, posters, etc., that she uses in the departmental assembly.
7. Dismissal to classes. At the close of the opening assembly time I call upon one of the gentlemen to lead in prayer. Of course, all of the boys and girls are very quiet and very settled. With this attentiveness still intact the superintendent may dismiss the classes by colors (according to their name tags). Each class files out of the assembly room in orderly fashion. Those classes which remain in the divided assembly room for their class sessions are instructed to wait to close the accordion doors until I give the signal.
Boys and girls love discipline and need it.
Children who do not get discipline and act in a rowdy manner may appear to
be enjoying the chaos, but they really do not. Boys and girls want and need
1. Each teacher has a small packet in which he keeps his attendance cards. A blue card is made for each child on his roll. This card is made in our church office. An example is shown below.
You can see that an entire year’s attendance record can be kept on this card.
2. Each visitor who comes to our department is registered. The secretaries take down his name, address, and any other information that he may know about himself such as phone number, birthdate, etc. They make a carbon copy of this and retain the carbon copy for my use as superintendent. They send the original copy with the child as they introduce him to his teacher and show him where he may sit. As the teacher becomes acquainted with the child, he puts this visitor’s registration slip in his packet. When this packet is returned to the secretaries after attendance is taken, the secretaries make a blue attendance card so that every time thereafter that child attends Primary I he does not feel like a visitor, but rather he feels that he belongs.
3. As soon as each teacher has taken attendance
he fills out the attendance slip shown below.
One child is chosen from the class to bring the slip and the packet to the departmental desk. There one of the secretaries tallies the information on a sheet which is made in triplicate. One sheet is retained in the departmental records; one sheet is turned into the church office for the church records; and one sheet is given to me personally as superintendent.
4. It is the responsibility of the superintendent to keep an up-to-date mailing list of the boys and girls in her department. Initially she has a mailing list from the list of names and addresses given to her by the previous department on Promotion Day. From time to time she can use the words “Return Requested” on her mailings to the boys and girls. This way she can receive from the post office any available forwarding addresses. Her teachers should also be very prompt in reporting to her any changes of address or any situations where the family has moved far away. The teachers, of course, find these bits of information as they do their visiting, and they should inform their superintendent of the same. The superintendent must also be prompt in adding visitors’ names and addresses to her current mailing list each week so that the new boys and girls get in the mailings from the department.
5. Each teacher should have a complete
up-to-date list of his own class available at home. He should not have to
have his packet at home in order to be aware of the boys in his class. Often
the packet is needed by the superintendent and secretaries to keep
information up-to-date. For this reason the teacher should have at home a
complete list of the children in his class. He can use this for visitation
purposes as well as in his daily prayer time.
1. Though the teacher will endeavor to be a pal to his boys, he must remember that firm discipline is essential. An orderly-conducted class is vital. Even roll call should be conducted in a businesslike manner. The rules the teacher would like followed in the class procedure should be made simple and clear. You see, first graders are easily taught, but they need the security of consistent leadership.
2. It should be obvious to the boys and girls
in each teacher’s class that they are loved deeply, prayed for sincerely,
and cared about by their teachers.
3. The teacher should visit in the home of every pupil on his roll as soon as possible. Immediately upon receiving a class list the teacher should begin visiting the children in his class. He should not wait for a child to be an absentee. He should be careful to make calls on children of faithful church members as well. Many times the children of faithful families are overlooked because a visit is not considered essential to the child’s attendance. However, every Sunday school teacher makes an impression on the child, and this impression should be a good, lasting one.
4. The teacher should be an example to whom the child can look for guidance, love, and Christian leadership. The manner of attire and conduct on the part of the teacher should not only be above reproach, but should be the very best.
5. Learn and keep a written record of each child’s birthday, phone number, vacation plans, pets, favorite foods and colors, and family members. Yes, a teacher should get to know his child well!
6. The teacher should pray regularly for each child by name. Each child should be prayed for at least once a week. In some cases, the class is small enough for each teacher to pray for each child every day if he will discipline himself to do so. In an extremely large class the teacher could follow a cycle and pray perhaps for five or ten names each day of the week.
7. The teacher should have planned social activities regularly. He may do this in any number of ways. He may do some of this on an individual basis. Depending on the size of the class he may choose to have a personal social activity for each child in his class one time during the year. For example, he may take one boy out for pitch and catch each Saturday until he has an “appointment” with each boy. In the case of a lady teacher, she may choose to have a different girl from her class home with her for Sunday dinner each week. Of course, many ideas along this line could be suggested, but the important thing is that the teacher should spend time with the pupils individually as well as in a group.
If the teacher’s class area is rather large, perhaps covering several suburbs, he may have a social time with the boys in one area one Saturday and those from another area the next, etc. The complete class, however, should have something planned all together with the teacher at least once each quarter. A class should have more to remember than a mere Christmas party after they have left our departments. There should be much feeling of unity.
8. The teacher should take his class members on visitation with him. For example, Mr. Gifford could call and make arrangements to meet Bobby at his home at three o’clock on Saturday afternoon. He could stop by for Bobby and take him along to visit three or four of the class members in the same general area. After making the visits he may stop by a refreshment stand and purchase an ice cream cone or some sort of refreshment for Bobby and himself. This would give the teacher and the boy a feeling of comradeship. The boy has not only been able to visit prospective class members with his teacher, but he has learned to go soul winning. This is vital. In the little social time following the visitation, the boy has had an opportunity to spend a few minutes chatting with his teacher, and, of course, the teacher has become better acquainted with the boy and his needs. Of course, the teacher should always have the boy back home at the time agreed upon with his parents. This could be a highly valuable time for the boys and girls and one to which they would look forward with anticipation. After all, an appointment with a Sunday school teacher is something very big!
9. The teacher should be alert to the spiritual needs of his children. He should observe the children with special care. He should observe the children’s progress spiritually. He should be aware of the decisions they make in the public church services. For example, when a man sees a boy in his class is under conviction and ready to accept Christ as Saviour, he should be prompt to lead him to the Lord. If the family is unchurched, he should make a visit promptly and encourage baptism. When the child is baptized, he should make mention of this in the class. He should tell the other boys, “Jack was baptized. Isn’t that fine? He obeyed the Lord. After we are saved we should be baptized immediately.”
The teacher should watch closely to see other times when a child has indicated spiritual progress. Perhaps in a Sunday evening service at invitation time the child has gone to the altar to pray privately. If the teacher is alert to this sort of thing, he can speak to the child after the service and simple encourage him to stay close to the Lord and always be willing to pray at the altar. Perhaps the teacher and the boy could be seated in one of the church pews and have a brief word of prayer for the child to continue to grow in grace.
10. The teacher should send personal Christmas cards and other special occasion cards. Each teacher should plan to send each child in his class a card on his birthday. If any child has won any particular honor, the teacher should be alert to send him a word of congratulations.
11. When the teacher takes a summer vacation, he should send each child in his class a note or a picture postcard while he is gone. This will help to keep the class attendance up and will also assure the children that the teacher is thinking of them.
12. In case of a child’s illness, the teacher should visit, write, or phone the child regularly. Many a child has been lost to the Sunday school because during a prolonged illness there was no contact with the Sunday school and when he got well he did not care about coming back. No one encouraged him and no one showed any interest. This is very sad!
13. At the close of the year the teacher should write each child a personal note. The teacher should express what a wonderful privilege it was to have him in his class, encourage him to grow spiritually, remind him to be faithful to the next class and teacher, and reassure him of the teacher’s continued love, prayers, and interest as the child grows older.
This may seem needless to say, but nevertheless it is true: Every person who is now doing a work for God was at one time six years old. Someone influenced his life at that early age. It is a very impressionable age. It is a vital age! The very best of teaching should occur in the early years of childhood. No teacher should regard carelessly the privilege and responsibility of teaching first-grade boys and girls.
Of course, every age is important, and each teacher makes his impression for bad or good, mediocrity or excellence, faithfulness or carelessness in the life of each child. May every Primary I teacher and superintendent around the world determine to do his best to accomplish the most for Christ in the life of each precious little first grader.
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