This is the start of the summer Sunday school season and many Churches are transitioning to a different organization and schedule. And as usual this summer I am hearing about the nightmares at some Churches concerning their summer children’s programs. For various reasons, many Churches seek to reduce the burden of staff, resources, and etc. As a result, children, leaders, and parents all get short changed. It is almost inevitable that those Churches that reduce staff in the summer end up combining classes of vastly different age needs, producing oversized classes, stressed out leaders and the dread of summer - upset people who pick up and leave for another Church.
Traditionally, the summer is the time when people move and/or visit other Churches seeking to find something better. If these migrants come to visit your Church, will they find unbalanced children’s classes and overcrowded classrooms with stressed out leaders? Does this sound familiar?
I just heard of a case where the 2-3 year old class was combined with the 4-5 year old class, the result was that two leaders were teaching 20+ children aged 2-5 years old with only one helper. What never ceases to amaze me is the lack of knowledge of the age difference problem.
Children who are 2 years old do not interact the same as a 3 three year old. A 2 year old is learning to interact with other children and usually require a short one-on-one teaching session. Sometime between 2 and 3 years old they progress enough to interact in the class with each other.
There is a huge maturity progresses as the 2 year old matures during the year. He or she moves from the nursery to a classroom environment, from being held and playing in the nursery to individual play and instruction to group play and instruction.
If you are in the position to make these kinds of decisions, I encourage you not to make this common mistake.
If you are in this situation in your Church, it is not too late to change the organization. Make sure your classrooms are sized correctly, leaders are trained, and the littlest in your Church are taken care of. If the smallest are taken care of then people will notice and God will be glorified.
-- Dr. John Pappas