Children begin to absorb values and to learn even before they are two years of age. Nursery department assistants have the privilege of being among children's first teachers to instill these values. You see, nursery workers do more than babysit.
When parents leave their precious little one with a nursery assistant, the child experiences trust. They trust their parents to return and they trust in the assistant's care. It is a warm and caring attitude that the young child senses. The nursery assistant's arms become the arms of Jesus for that child. Important elements of care for infants are:
- A soft-spoken voice
- Soothing music
- Kindness in playing
- Hearing the name of Jesus
Studies indicate that two-year-olds enjoy learning new skills, such as coloring and cutting. They are gaining control of their hands and fingers. They enjoy playing with and manipulating objects. What an opportunity for the nursery worker! Once again, he or she is making an impact on the life of a young child. So, get out those rounded-tip scissors and the big crayons to 'cut and color for Jesus.' Children this age may enjoy:
- Coloring pictures that go with the Bible story
- Learning to cut
- Playing with large puzzle pieces
- Using hands and fingers to perform action rhymes
The process of learning in children progresses quickly. Social scientists indicate that a child's moral foundation is generally determined by the age of nine. | I believe that age to be much younger. Nevertheless, to impact a child's life for Jesus, we must begin when the child is quite young.
Three-year-olds happen to be my passion. They enjoy routine and structure during their time in Sunday School. Parents are enthusiastic and pleased when a three-year-old class is more than a playtime. In Sunday School, this age is learning to:
- Sing of Jesus
- Take turns
- Be kind
- Follow directions
- Enjoy coming to church
A nursery assistant works with the young-whether newborns or three year olds. It can be an awesome experience. It is a priceless privilege. And, it is more than babysitting.
Carol Foor Watson is a third generation Nazarene and former kindergarten teacher living in Bourbonnais, Illinois, where she teaches a Sunday School class for three-year-olds.
Holiness Today, January/February 2010.