This section provides answers to some frequently asked questions. Leaders who have other questions or need other information or direction should study chapter 12 of General Handbook: Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and consult with their local priesthood leaders. The new handbook overrides all previous Primary publications.
Do we still use the Certificate of Advancement?
Children will complete Primary and progress from one class to another as age-groups, instead of on their birthdays. Leaders may give them a certificate of advancement. (See General Handbook, 12.1.3.)
How do I print the Certificate of Advancement?
The certificate is available through the Member and Leader Services (MLS) system, accessible only to specific ward leaders. Have your ward clerk click on Reports/Forms from the MLS menu bar, and then click Certificates.
Are Primary class names still the same?
Yes, class names remain the same. (See General Handbook, 12.1.3.)
Who teaches Primary classes?
Ward or branch members are called and set apart by the bishopric as Primary teachers. At least two responsible adults should be present in each Primary class. The two adults could be two men, two women, or a married couple. Where it may not be practical to have at least two adults in a classroom, leaders should consider combining classes. (See "Preventing and Responding to Abuse," First Presidency letter, Mar. 26, 2018.)
Primary teachers remain with the children during the entire Primary time on Sunday, including singing time and the transition between class time. During singing time, they sit with their class, sing the songs with the children, and help the children participate reverently. (See General Handbook, 12.3.5.)
Do we have a nursery? Has anything changed?
Nursery remains the same. The only change is that it lasts 50 minutes—as does the rest of Primary. (See ComeFollowMe.ChurchofJesusChrist.org, Instructions for Singing Time.)
How do children progress each year in Primary?
Children will complete Primary and progress from one class to another as age-groups, instead of on their birthdays. (See “Age-Group Progression for Children,” First Presidency letter, Dec. 14, 2018.)
What are the guidelines for a man serving in Primary?
“At least two teachers should be called for each nursery class. If the teachers are not husband and wife, they should be the same gender. Both teachers should be in the class during the entire Primary time” (Primary 1 , ix).
When men are assigned to teach children, at least two responsible adults should be present at all times. The two adults could be two men, a husband and wife, or two members of the same family. In small branches, if it is not practical to have two teachers in a classroom, a member of the Primary presidency frequently visits and monitors each class that a man teaches alone. (See General Handbook, 12.3.5.)
What Primary manuals should we use for the year?
They are listed in “Instructions for Curriculum 2020.” You may obtain a copy from your stake or ward clerk.
What is the policy for food in Primary?
Counsel with your priesthood leader for direction.
How often do we hold stake Primary leadership meeting?
Once a year (see General Handbook, 29.3.11).
Do we still hold ward Primary leadership meetings?
How are teacher council meetings held?
Wards and branches hold quarterly teacher council meetings for teachers to counsel together about principles of Christlike teaching. If desired, Primary teachers may meet separately from other teachers to counsel about the unique needs of teaching children. Multiple meetings may be held so that not all teachers need to leave Primary at the same time. The meeting may be best held during singing time to maintain having two teachers present during class time. For more information, see General Handbook, 17.7.
What is the role of the Primary presidency?
The Primary presidency strengthens children individually and as a group and helps them participate in Primary. They do so as they learn the children’s names and interests, minister one by one, visit classes, orient and support teachers, oversee singing time and activities, help children strengthen their faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, study the Come, Follow Me—for Primary manual each week, and seek inspiration to bless each child. See General Handbook, 12.3.2.)
Do Primary presidencies and teachers attend Relief Society, elders quorum, and Sunday School?
No, Primary presidencies and teachers attend Primary for the entire 50 minutes. If they are not engaged in teaching the entire time, they sit with the children and help them participate reverently. See General Handbook, 12.3.5.)
Can supplemental books and pictures from bookstores and the internet be used in Primary?
Counsel with your priesthood leader.
How has the Primary schedule changed?
Sunday Primary is normally held for 50 minutes. Children in the nursery stay in their nursery class for the entire time. The other children attend two sessions. In one session, children meet together for 20 minutes for singing time. In the other session, they divide into smaller classes for 25-minute lessons taught by their Primary teachers. The children and teachers who attend singing time and classes have a 5-minute break between the two sessions. (See General Handbook, 22.214.171.124.)
What is the policy regarding taking children to the restroom?
The nursery manual, Behold Your Little Ones, states: “Take care of your child’s restroom and feeding needs before taking him or her to the nursery class. A child who needs a diaper change will be taken to a parent” (7). Counsel with your priesthood leader for guidelines in taking other children to the restroom.
Children participate in service and activities with their families. In addition, children (beginning in the year they turn 8) also meet regularly for Primary activities. Generally, children are organized by age-groups, and boys and girls meet separately—although they may combine for certain activities or in locations with few children. Primary activities are generally held two to four times per month. If distance and costs, time constraints, safety, and other circumstances make this schedule impractical, Primary activities may be held less frequently.
Working with the bishopric, the Primary presidency recommends members to be called as Primary activity leaders. These leaders can be Primary teachers or other members of the ward or branch. At least two leaders attend each activity. Leaders can be two women, two men, or a married couple. Leaders complete the training at protectingchildren.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
Activity leaders plan service and activities that are fun and engaging and that build testimonies, strengthen families, and foster personal growth. Activities should be balanced among the four areas of growth: spiritual, social, physical, and intellectual.
Overnight camps are not held for children. However, local leaders may choose to hold day camps for Primary children participating in Children and Youth.
Service and activity ideas for home and church are available at childrenandyouth.ChurchofJesusChrist.org and, beginning in 2020, on the Gospel Living app.
Do we still hold sharing time?
No. Sharing time has been replaced by singing time. The focus of singing time is on learning the gospel through music. The songs that the Primary presidency and music leader choose for the children to learn in singing time reinforce the scriptures the children are learning at home and in class. See ComeFollowMe.ChurchofJesusChrist.org, Instructions for Singing Time.
How does singing time begin?
When singing time is held before class time, it begins with a prayer, a scripture or article of faith, and a talk given by a child. When singing time is held after class time, it begins with a scripture or article of faith and a talk given by a child, and the prayer is held at the close of singing time instead of at the beginning. See ComeFollowMe.ChurchofJesusChrist.org, Instructions for Singing Time.
Do we sing welcome and birthday songs during singing time?
No, the reduced time requires that the focus of singing time should reinforce the scriptures and related principles the children are learning at home and in class. See ComeFollowMe.ChurchofJesusChrist.org, Instructions for Singing Time.
What is the role of the Primary music leader?
Under the direction of the Primary presidency, the Primary music leader plans, teaches, and directs the music for singing time. He or she focuses on songs that reinforce the scriptures and related principles the children are learning at home and in class. A list of suggested songs that reinforce these principles is found online at ComeFollowMe.ChurchofJesusChrist.org under “2020 Instructions for Singing Time.”
In addition, he or she also works with the Primary presidency to prepare the annual children’s sacrament meeting presentation. (See ComeFollowMe.ChurchofJesusChrist.org, Instructions for Singing Time.)
Does the Primary music leader give a message as the Primary presidency did in sharing time?
The Primary music leader should not give a standalone message but should purposefully teach the gospel through music. The focus should be on helping the children learn the doctrine and gospel message of each song. He or she can invite children to share what they have already learned about the stories and doctrinal principles the songs teach.
The Primary presidency and music leader should review the Come, Follow Me—For Primary lessons that the children are studying in their classes. Doing so will help them become aware of the stories and principles the children are learning so they can consider how to support children’s learning with music. (See ComeFollowMe.ChurchofJesusChrist.org, Instructions for Singing Time.)
Do we alternate singing time and classes every other week?
No, both singing time and class time are held every week. Typically, singing time lasts 20 minutes and classes last 25 minutes, with 5 minutes in between for a transition.
Leaders of large Primaries may divide children into two groups and have one group in Primary classes while the other group is in singing time. Then the two groups switch places. In such cases, leaders may need to adjust the length of singing time and classes to suit their circumstances. (See ComeFollowMe.ChurchofJesusChrist.org, Instructions for Singing Time.)
What is the role of the Primary presidency during singing time?
The Primary presidency oversees singing time. They make assignments, conduct the meeting, and help assigned children with a prayer, a scripture or article of faith, and a talk.
When the Primary music leader begins his or her portion of the meeting, singing time becomes an opportunity for the Primary presidency to provide examples for the children through their own participation. They can sit with children, minister to them, sing with them, and respond to their needs. They can also support the music leader and the teachers in encouraging reverence, respect, and love for the Savior and His gospel. (See ComeFollowMe.ChurchofJesusChrist.org, Instructions for Singing Time.)
Do we still have a children’s sacrament meeting presentation? What are the guidelines?
Under the direction of the bishop, the children’s sacrament meeting presentation is typically held during the fourth quarter of the year. The Primary presidency and music leader might arrange to meet early in the year with the counselor in the bishopric who oversees Primary to begin discussing plans for the presentation. When they have completed the plans, they should obtain the bishopric’s approval for them.
The presentation should allow the children to present what they and their families have learned from Come, Follow Me at Home and in Primary, including the Primary songs they have sung during the year. Prayerfully consider which gospel principles and songs support what they have learned. Throughout the year, keep notes of children’s talks and personal experiences for possible use in the presentation. Invite children to share scriptures, stories, and their testimonies in the presentation. As leaders plan the presentation, they can think of ways to help the congregation focus on the Savior and His teachings. See additional information at comefollowme.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
Do we have a yearly Primary theme?
Each year, singing time and Primary class time focus on the book of scripture that members are studying in their homes and at church using Come, Follow Me. In 2020, the Churchwide focus is the Book of Mormon. See ComeFollowMe.ChurchofJesusChrist.org, Instructions for Singing Time.
Do we still hold Priesthood Preview?
A meeting called Temple and Priesthood Preparation is held each year for 10-year-old boys and girls and their parents. The purpose of this meeting is to help children understand the blessings of temple service, priesthood service, and making and keeping sacred covenants. (See General Handbook, 126.96.36.199.)
Do we still have Temple and Priesthood Preparation Meeting?
Yes. The meeting is held for 10-year-old girls and boys together. Their parents are also invited. The purpose of this meeting is to help these children understand the blessings of temple service, priesthood service, and making and keeping sacred covenants. For information on how to conduct the Temple and Priesthood Preparation meeting see General Handbook, 188.8.131.52 and Temple and Priesthood Preparation.
Can the Primary hold a testimony meeting?
Testimony meetings are discouraged in Primary