I wouldn’t have believed it, but I think I like Sunbeams even more than Nursery. There’s less crying (but still some), fewer messy diapers (none, yay!), fewer toys to clean up (by about 3000%), and fewer clingy parents to pacify. Most of the children can talk fairly well now and because they can express their feelings better, there’s less frustration when they are feeling sad or hurt.
The most difficult part, based on our one week of experience, is Sharing Time. Our ward has an excessively long Sharing Time. Junior Primary attends Sharing Time right after Sacrament. When the first hour ends, the Senior Primary comes in and there’s a combined birthday/visitor/spotlight segment which lasts another 15 minutes. Well, the Sunbeams can only sit still for about the first 5 minutes of Sharing Time, so the rest of the time is spent trying to get them up off the floor and engaged in the lesson or songs. I just don’t think their Nursery teacher did a very good job of teaching them to sit quietly in their seats last year. Darn her! I shake my fist at…uhhh… myself.
When it’s all over, we have seven restless little souls trying their hardest to walk with their arms folded to the classroom just so they can dance and flail and bang their heads into walls to their hearts’ content.
I was most worried about the lesson time. Our lessons in Nursery were, well, to put it kindly, quite brief. It we were lucky, we could have a prayer, say 3 sentences about the topic during snack time and then color an appropriate picture. Now we have about 40 minutes for class time, 20 minutes for playing and 20 minutes for the lesson and related activities.
So our lesson last week was “I Am Thankful for Birds and Insects.” We talked about birds and butterflies, spiders and crickets. We talked about how Heavenly Father had made them all and they each had a purpose, even if they were scary. (Thank goodness there’s no lesson called “I Am Thankful for Snakes” because I might go inactive.) Then we played every single game and sang every single song, and did every single poem suggested by the lesson. Three times.
We ended right on time and even though there weren’t coloring pages to bring home, I felt like we all had a good time.
I asked Brett what he thought about the lesson. He patted my head and said, “Through the whole thing, all I could think about is what a cute platypus you are.” (Usually when he dodges the question by telling me what a cute platypus I am, it’s because he thinks I suck and he doesn’t want to tell me.) I pressed him further for his opinion. He wisely replied, “At this age, I don’t think kids really remember what they learn. They only remember how they feel.”
If that’s true, then all my class went home feeling like beeeeaaaauuuutiful butterflies.