An article by Andrée LOAS, missionary.
A Parisian teacher (retired today), Andrée LOAS has taken the training for instructors provided by the A.E.E. She opened a children’s club in Seine Saint Denis, taught for 13 years in Tunisia in the primary school of a Swiss mission, trained instructors in Chad for 4 years, then collaborated with a Belgian publishing house (the ELB) to rewrite and adapt a complete Sunday school material for Africa. It was not until 2000 that, led by the Lord, she began to take an interest in the biblical teaching of 2-3 year olds, and then wrote two textbooks of “biblical lessons” intended for this age:
Why aren’t the Bible taught to toddlers in churches?
Is it a language problem?
Because a toddler only blurs a few words, one imagines that he does not understand what he is taught. However, if he does not have a sufficient level of language to react to teaching, rest assured that he records everything. In fact, every parent knows that a toddler understands a lot!
Too small to understand?
Is the problem rather that we think it is too small to understand God’s things?
By the way, at what age does human beings need God? Or, formulated otherwise, at what point in his development does God consider the man he has created to possess a spirit, that is, the ability to communicate with him? If man is not a spiritual being from birth, at what age would he become a spiritual being? And how would that happen?
The Bible gives answers. John the Baptist is said to have been filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb (Luke 1:15). This fetus had a spirit to receive God’s!
The baby that comes into the world is a complete being, that is, physical, psychic and spiritual.
Every parent expects their baby’s body and intelligence to develop and does their best to contribute to it. But what does he do for his child’s spiritual development? What time is he waiting to start worrying about it? How does he respond to the Master’s order: let the “little” children come to me, the ones Jesus was able to take in his arms to bless them?
Or you think that at this age, you just have to teach it at home.
Every week, the toddler goes with his family to the church where there is usually a daycare. But the church does not have a daycare like the others. Mom doesn’t put her child there because she has errands to run or she has to go to the doctor. The whole family goes to church for a specific reason, and so does the toddler.
Why does the whole family go to church? Because it is the place where we talk about Jesus, where we sing for him, where we pray to him, where we tell him that we love him. The Bible has a great place in the church: it contains everything we know about God.
So when he goes to church with the whole family, the toddler will also find out how wonderful Jesus is. He’s going to get to know him, sing it, and thank him.
He will see the Bible, touch it, listen to what it says and learn to love it.
For him and his parents, the church will be a very special place, different from any other place. This is where those who love Jesus gather.
Lack of space?
No, you might say, the real problem is that we lack space.
We don’t already know where to put all the Sunday school classes! So, babies…
Every week you can install small chairs, a rug, books, the Bible and all the necessary equipment in a corner of the daycare before the children arrive. Biblical teaching will be done when all the children are there. The lesson will last 5 minutes the first few times, and will not exceed 20 minutes at the end of the year. After the lesson, the little ones will play as they are used to.
But who will be able to teach this confusing age group without risking making mistakes?
Because it is not easy to put yourself within reach of a toddler, the ideal would of course be a mature and experienced person. But by using suitable equipment, any person will be able to learn to teach provided:
- To let those who think aloud that she is wasting her time speak without flinching.
- To “believe” in the little one, to be certain of his openness to spiritual things and his ability to respond to God’s love.
- Not to be confused when you see your little students arrive in diapers and the softie in hand.
- To be able not to get discouraged when she sings alone for a few weeks before the children start opening their mouths to repeat a word here and there.
- To take the spiritual growth of children so seriously that she will potter her lesson, prepare her material (sometimes abundant) and pray fervently during the week.
This person will not necessarily be a nurse of the daycare. She can come and teach every Sunday while attending much of the worship. Because the toddler is fearful, it is indeed ideal if one person (or two at most) teaches the small group every week.