Here are 10 things to keep in mind when teaching ages eight through eleven:
1. They want to be busy doing productive things. They enjoy projects. They learn best by touching and doing and seeing visual aids. Plan your lessons to include lots of activities.
2. They like to show their skills and abilities and want to feel like a valued member of the group. Delegate tasks to them when possible. Trust them to get the job done.
3. They are becoming spiritually sensitive and are beginning to see their need for God. Plan your content to address this need.
4. They want to see how God is real and how he relates to everyday life. They want to hear adults’ testimonies about how God is working in their lives, and they want to tell about what God is doing in their own lives. Invite adults to come in and share. Provide times for the children to share, too.
5. They continue to understand the flow of time. Even if your curriculum is topically oriented, explain the historical context of the Biblical passages used.
6. They easily feel inferior if they are put down or if they feel incapable. Use encouraging words as you coach them. Choose classroom activities that are age-appropriate.
7. They have a growing understanding of symbolism. They are increasingly able to understand deeper dimensions of faith, like lordship, stewardship and peacemaking.
8. They are able to sit still longer, but are still inclined to wiggle. Trust that they are listening even if they are not sitting still.
9. They are concerned about what’s fair and just and are more consistent about discerning right from wrong. Listen to them when they want to express their observations about justice in current events or in their personal lives. Be careful not to “correct” them, but accept their observations at face value. Honor their assessments.
10. They memorize more easily. Age nine is often called the “Golden Age of Memory”. These are the perfect years to ramp up the memory work. For scripture memory ideas see my Sword Fighting book.
May God bless your relationships with the 8 through 11 year olds in your life!
(Originally posted 5/8/14. photo courtesy morguefile.com)