Ella, my 2 year old.
Her face basically summarizes how I felt when I was first called to be Nursery Leader.
Just keepin' it real.
In August our Sparks Stake split because of new growth. We didn't move, but we were reorganized into a new ward. We love it!! Tons of awesome people. I was in Relief Society as a teacher for 3 months. I was worried about how I would do teaching adults, but I enjoyed it.
And then..... drumroll.... back to primary!! I gotta say, I did cry when they called me to Nursery. And not out of joy (collective gasp). This year has been the hardest year of my life. I'm hoping one day that I can write about my experience, but it's still ongoing. A tad too fresh still. All I can say is that loving a person with depression is a whole different level of life. Hence the hard day, hence the tears.
But, of course I accepted. God is the only way I live. And as I prayed for direction, it was quick to come. I knew that once I was organized that all would be well.
So, to the drawing board, prayerfully I went!! It helps that my mom owned her own preschool for 20 years.
Here is the Nursery Schedule I've used one week and will probably tweak as needed. Everything went by super fast!!!
2:15- 2:30 Gathering Activity of play dough & puzzles.
Welcome in all little friends by name.
2:30 - 2:40 Attendance & Books
We sing to the tune of Here We are Together -Here we are in Nursery, Nursery, Nursery, Here we are in Nursery with all our friends... there's Ella, and then we sing everyone's names including the adults in the room.
Children will be able to put a happy face by their picture to show they are here. Who is missing? Review names of friends.
I bring in 4 books, short and simple!! Always read with pages facing towards children and don't be afraid to move around so all the children can see. You can spread out a blanket or have carpet pads for friends to sit on.
2:40 - 3:00 Free Time with toys & clean up
3:00- 3:15 Healthy Snack
Count how many friends are at the snack table. Encourage good manners, please and thank you!
I'm hoping to get parent participation and get some good fruits and veggies (no carrots!) going.
Once a month I'm going to try "Chefs in Training", having them stir some fruit and yogurt or spoon hummus on a wrap then roll. We'll see, the possibility of fun is there.
3:15- 3:20 Lesson
5 minutes? Yup.
3:20- 3:30 Art
We take the time to do a craft that reinforces the lesson theme or something seasonal/holiday.
3:30- 3:40 Picture Walk
Using the rope we stop by pictures in the hall and go through High Priests class to wave. One, because the old men can't hear if we make noise, and two because grandpas (most) are just plain friendly and kind. We make sure to wave!
3:40- 3:50 Singing Time
3:50- 4:00 End with a bang!!
We end with something extra fun like bubbles, crawl through tunnels, scarves, bean bag toss or games.
We all wave goodbye to our friends who leave nursery and by name say, "See you next week!"
We are at a hard time for toddlers!! Many have missed nap and are tired. I'm going to have a couple small pillows and rolls for anyone that would like quiet time. No forced naps!! Some do just like to lie down!!
This is a really great time to work on vocal skills. Learning and using words. Not every child is going to vocalize with words right away, but it doesn't mean that we can't teach them! And, use different languages!! They are little sponges at this age!!
There are so many opportunities to teach about Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the gospel. While the lesson may be 5 minutes, nursery really is the first learning opportunity at church and should be utilized. It doesn't have to be about babysitting, surviving biting, or rabid scream sessions. Get the proper help you need and divide and conquer your time. Use moments to integrate gospel vocabulary or stories or principles throughout the entire 2 hours.
I may have been hesitant when I accepted, but of course, the very first week I felt the spirit so strongly. These children are close to the veil. They see and talk with angels. I'm so grateful for this opportunity to serve.