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Teaching children about Jesus' childhood will capture children's imaginations and encourage them to relate to Him in a way they wouldn't otherwise. Children just love stories about children! This lesson plan is based on the story narrated in Luke 2:40-51, the boy in the temple.
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Jesus Grew preschool lessons will primarily aim to enhance a child's religious and cultural knowledge; however, the variety of activities suggested here will be geared toward having children progress in all areas of development. By the end of the lesson, children will know the story The Boy in the Temple, be able to answer questions about it, or even retell parts or the whole story. They will have acquired an understanding of the importance of Jesus' early relationship with God and will be able to recognize the quality 'obedience' in their own personal behavior and that of others.
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Resources and Activities
The following resources and activities suggested will cater to a child's whole development.
The Boy in the Temple
An introductory activity should familiarize the children with the story The Boy in the Temple as it is narrated in Luke 2:40-51. A first activity could be reading it from a children's Bible-story-and-picture book or The Boy in the Temple by Enid Blyton. The latter could be followed by a short discussion. You could ask questions to help recapitulate the series of events, which occur in the story. Some questions to ask could be:
- "How old was Jesus when He disappeared in Jerusalem?"
- "Why were they going to Jerusalem?"
- "Where was Jesus found?"
Emphasize the positive aspects of the story, such as how Jesus was obedient to his parents when they went back for him and how Jesus' relationship with God is linked to Him staying behind in the temple. This activity will reinforce children's speech and language as well as early literacy skills.
Sequential Sorting Activity
Organize a group table activity with different picture cards or laminated colored print-outs representing some of the events narrated in Luke 2:40-51 or 'The Boy in the Temple.' Ask the children to sort the events by placing them on the table in the correct order as they unfold in the story. Have the children count the cards or some of the things on each card, like the people, so as to reinforce children's number skills.
Making a Temple
Materials: Tissue boxes, other pieces of cardboard, glue, scissors, decorations such as fancy or colorful paper, feathers, pompoms, glitter, etc.
Use the tissue box as the base for the temple, cut out a roof with the random pieces of cardboard, cut some geometrical shapes out of the fancy paper such as circles or squares for the windows, rectangles for the doors, etc, and let the children decorate their temple as they wish. This activity will enhance children's creative and mathematical skills through their recognition of shapes. Also, have at hand pictures of churches to inspire children's creativity.
Role Play on Obedience
Have some pictures of parent(s)-child or teacher-child situations showing children's reluctance or compliance. Each picture should be accompanied by a short scenario. With a few relevant prompts, pick children to volunteer in pairs and role play each scenario. Have the children who are watching draw conclusions on the behaviors of the child in each scene. Have them compare their conclusions to Jesus' obedient behavior when Joseph and Mary went back for Him and find Him in the temple. This activity will develop children's social, emotional, personal and moral development while increasing their concrete understanding of the concept of obedience as a moral virtue.
Potential scenes showing obedience or disobedience for role play activity:
- A child screaming for an item in a shop
- A child tidying up his bedroom
- A child pulling away from a parent or on the contrary holding his parent's hand.
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Assessment for Jesus Grew Preschool Lessons
Assess children during each activity by interacting with them and asking them questions about what they are doing and why. Also, in a plenary session at the end of the lesson, ask children about their own behavior at home and identify occasions when they have been obedient and when they might not be. Tell the children how praying and having a relationship with God in the way Jesus did as a child, could help them.