I work at a christian school – so during the holidays I get the honor of teaching our youngsters about the true meaning of Christmas. I was surprised that not one child in my class could tell me why we celebrate Christmas. It was surprising because most of the children in my class learned it last year – or so I thought. I mean, I just assumed the teacher in the 3’s class had gone over this – I guess she hadn’t or they just plain forgot. I suppose I’ll never know.
Here’s how our conversation went:
Me: “Can anyone tell me what holiday is coming up?”
Various Children (yelling): “Christmas!”
Me: “That’s right! Now, can anyone tell me why we celebrate Christmas?”
Various Children (yelling out random answers all at once): “Snow!” “Presents!” “Santa!” “Candy!” You get the idea.
Me: “Okay, one at a time! Let me give you a hint: It’s someone’s birthday. Raise a quiet hand if you think you know the answer.”
Girl A (raises her hand, I call on her): You know Ms. Eliot, after Christmas it’s my baby sisters birthday and we get to have a party and she is gonna get presents and we can eat cake and we can play games and my cousins will come and my aunties…”
Me (politely interrupting): “That sounds really fun, but her birthday is after Christmas. Does anyone know whose birthday is on Christmas?”
Boy A: “My moms? I think she has a birthday!”
Me: “Everyone has a birthday, but no, it’s not your moms. It’s Jesus’ birthday!”
After this announcement they got excited and a little chaos ensued – but it’s all good. I went on to read a book about the first Christmas which we discussed afterward (and have read similar books everyday since). Working with young children always give a fresh excitement to this time of year – gotta love it! 🙂
This week was picture week. I have to say that I love, love, love the photographer our school uses! He is soooo good with the kids! Every age group – from the very small ones up to the Kindergartners – it’s doesn’t matter – he can make them smile. Not only do they smile, but many times they just burst out laughing! I love it! I noticed that even when a child started out crying or not sure, by the end they were genuinely smiling. Everybody in my class showed up for pictures – and they were all extremely excited! There was no problem getting my kids to smile!
When we went outside for our class picture, the children we super excited! Even though we had told them, I guess they still hadn’t understood that they would get a picture with ALL of their friends in it! lol At one point the photographer said he needed the most beautiful girl to sit in the front row – at first none of my girls moved an inch – then suddenly, they all rushed forward! It was so funny! Afterward he said we got an awesome shot – which made everyone even happier!
This mornings bible lesson was about angles. We learned how angels protect us and they are messengers from God. We talked about how in the Bible God would use angles to tell people special messages – like when God wanted to tell Mary about baby Jesus coming. We talked about this for awhile – the children asking questions and us answering. Then, as a review, Ms. Bennet asked the class: “What do angels do?” Most of the children shouted “Protect us!” – which of course was correct. No one remembered the other answer that could have been given so Ms. Bennet asked: “Who delivers messages from God?” No one said anything immediately, and then one little girl yelled, “Fairies!”
I’ll admit it – I lost it here. I just started laughing out loud – couldn’t control myself. It had been a rough morning and this was the comic relief I guess I needed! But I broke my No-Laughing-At-Kids-Answers Rule. I like to respect their answers even if they don’t make sense – but it just came out! I stopped as soon as I realized everyone in the room was staring at me – but I could tell Ms. Bennet was trying to hide the fact that she wanted to laugh to! I love that they can give the most random, cute answers! Just another moment in the life of a preschool teacher! 🙂
Today was chapel day. This is the time each week where all the classes gather in the church sanctuary to sing songs and hear a Bible story. The past couple of weeks we have been learning about Moses. So the children learned how the “bad king” wanted to kill all the baby boys and how Moses’ mother put him in a reed basket and floated him down the river. We also learned how the kings daughter found and raised Moses.
This week the chapel teacher was telling the story of how Moses found the burning bush and how God spoke to him through the bush. She explained to the children how God told Moses to throw his walking staff on the ground and how God turned that staff into a snake to prove to Moses it was actually God speaking. Then, to make her point, the chapel teacher asked: “So, who turned Moses’ stick into a snake?” The sanctuary was silent until a little girl in my class yelled (very loudly): “Satan!”
Yes – you read that right – Satan! All of the teachers turned and stared. There was a mix of shock and horror on their faces and at first no one knew what to say. Then the chapel teacher said, “Well, no – that’s not right. I think you might be thinking of a different Bible story.” And she continued on with the lesson.
After the shock had worn off, however, I found the entire situation quite funny! I know exactly what my little friend had been thinking! I started to laugh (as quietly as I could) and had tears in my eyes from laughing so hard! There was also a mixture of disappointment (for not listening to the story in chapel) and pride (from remembering a story we’d learned a month ago) going through me.
You see, about a month ago, we taught them all about Adam and Eve. We talked about how Satan had turned into a snake when he talked to Eve. This is what she was remembering. Her only reference of snakes in the Bible was this story. In one of my first posts (Bad Snake) I talked about how some of the children got a little confused while learning about this topic. But I was somewhat proud of her for remembering and being able to reference this fact a month after we’d learned it!
Perhaps this exact moment was not the right one…but believe me – this will be a chapel that is not soon forgotton! 🙂