We’ve all been there. A babies or toddlers leader calls in sick and we need to jump in and teach a session at the last minute, or we hand a leader guide to someone and say, “Go get ‘em!”
Teaching babies and toddlers the gospel is a weighty responsibility that deserves as much prep time as possible; however, life doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes we simply don’t have time to prepare for a session ahead of time.
The good news is that even if we walk into a classroom completely unprepared, our sovereign God can still use that time in amazing ways. But even in emergency situations, we usually have 10-15 minutes to prep for a session.
The following is a quick prep guide for teaching a babies or toddlers session of The Gospel Project for Preschool. In about 15 minutes, you can get the big ideas and major points of a session and know it enough to maneuver through the session with confidence and clarity.
If you are teaching BABIES:
1. Learn the story
Take a couple of minutes to read the toddlers Bible story to give the Gospel Gems context, and then make sure the gems are clear to you. Think about ways to weave these gems into the normal routine, such as while changing diapers or rocking a baby.
2. Review the activities
Review each of the four activities noting any that will not work in your context. Highlight the “Say” portion of each and consider the best time and way to do each activity.
If you are teaching TODDLERS:
3. Learn the story
Read the toddlers story and also the Gospel Gems. Although the gems are intended for babies, they will help you sure up the main take-aways of the story.
4. Plan circle time
Consider whether you want to have a more structured circle time or if talking about the story one-on-one during play time, snacks, or another regular rhythm would work better.
5. Review the activities
Review each of the activities noting any that will not work in your context. Highlight the “Say” portion of each and consider the best time and way to do each activity.
6. Review the bonus teaching hour
If needed, review the activities in the bonus teaching hour, noting any that will not work for your context and highlighting the “Say” portion of each.
Finally, remember to be flexible. Some days, even if you have all week to prepare teaching babies or toddlers the Bible story, things can still be hit or miss if you, let’s say, have a room full of colicky six-months-olds. Or three-year-olds who are still having a hard time with separation anxiety. Pray, prepare for the session, and prepare to weave the Gospel Gems into the tried and true activities or procedures that will keep you afloat on the days where things don’t go as planned.