As spring is nearing closer every day, it's time to take inventory: of our Primary. We recently had a stake meeting for all the Primary Choristers in the Puyallup Stake to attend. It was really nice to meet the other choristers and hear their ideas! We obtained a lot of very helpful information, and I'd like to share it with you. Some of the information is geared toward Primary as a whole.
- If you see a reverence/respect problem, things to try:
- Remember to praise in public and reprove in private. Take them out for a walk in the hall.
- A teacher or leader can sit close to them.
- Separate disruptive children from each other.
- 15 minute Sharing Time, 20 minute Singing Time. Either one can go first, just leave time for the other. Experiment with 5 minute segments of time alternating between Sharing and Singing Time. This "combined" method can really hold their attention well.
- Hold Junior Sharing Time first to avoid 12 year olds come to any part of Primary.
- The Handbook explains that Prayer, Scripture, and Talks are part of Sharing Time. Have your Prayer, Scripture, and Talks in Junior Primary AND in Senior Primary.
- Avoid games that have competition between groups.
- When teaching the entire Primary, try to avoid calling them "You guys."
- If people are available in your ward, consider separate Senior/Junior/Nursery assistant choristers.
- Try to eliminate announcements that don't involve the children. There are other ways to communicate to the teachers. Primary should be about the children from the beginning. Greet them as they come in. Carry the reverence of Sacrament Meeting over into Primary.
- Choristers - as you're teaching and singing with the children, watch and listen to see if they are actually singing. With all of the fun activities to use, make sure focus is on the music and the doctrine they are learning.
- Some wards are having problems with staffing Primary and with teachers not showing up on Sundays. Personal phone calls may feel uncomfortable, but I don't know of any other way to check in with them if they aren't coming.
Some other things we discussed include:
- KEEP ALL RECEIPTS, AND TURN THEM IN! This is especially important in wards that are newly formed or have been split up into 2 or more wards. It helps the Bishopric to establish a more reasonable budget.
- ATTEND PRESIDENCY MEETINGS. I've never been invited to attend the primary presidency meetings, but I also figured I simply wasn't a part of them. Not true. Coordinating the music with the Sharing Time lesson, discussing Primary Program planning and details, and brainstorming on ideas for fun reverence and learning Gospel topics is essential to a successful, spiritual Sunday, and it's about ALL of the leaders working together. Sometimes that may include all the Primary and Nursery teachers, too.
- LOCAL LIBRARY CARDS. Our next-door-county library system offers 75 free black & white print copies and 25 color print copies PER WEEK. This is something I'll take advantage of when I teach "Praise to the Man" using homemade coloring booklets with the words to the verses we're learning.
- REACH OUT. Whether you are finding substitutes or need an issue resolved, reach out to the stake auxiliaries. They can help you make stuff, hear and help resolve your complaints, find last-minute and planned-out substitutes, etc. Use the "chain of command." It's there to help!
- Two sites that were mentioned at the meeting for Primary help included PrimaryNotes29.blogspot.com and GrandmaMusic.blogspot.com. I've also found Camille's Primary Ideas and Lesson Plans of an OCD Primary Chorister to be especially helpful!
Have you had a stake primary choristers meeting? What would you add to this list?