Weekly Thoughts and Tips

February 2014


Helping Primary Children with Disabilities

By Bryce and Laurie Fifield
February 28, 2014

Primary leaders play a vital role in welcoming children with disabilities and helping them develop a love for the Savior. They also support parents and teachers in helping children with disabilities enjoy Primary. Here are three ways leaders can make a big difference:

Working with Parents – Talk with parents about what supports are working at school or at home. A ward disability specialist can help develop support strategies for specific children and families.

Preparation – Ensure that activities are well organized. Confusion resulting from lack of preparation can cause anxiety or acting out in children with disabilities.

Supporting Teachers – While some Primary teachers have experience dealing with disabilities, others feel inadequate to teach a class that includes a child with a disability. Leaders can help teachers set up chairs, get materials, and welcome the children as class starts. During class, leaders can act as an “aide” and be available if a child needs help. Between classes, leaders can help walk children down the hallway, find their seats, and tell them what will happen next.

More ideas can be found at ChurchofJesusChrist.org/disability.

A Helpful Index

By Jenn Wilks
February 21, 2014

Stories are a great way to help children understand and remember a family home evening or Primary lesson, but sometimes it's hard to find a good story that goes along with the topic you're trying to teach. Next time you have a lesson to teach, try going to the May and November issues of the Ensign and look for the "Conference Story Index” near the end. Each list highlights stories from general conference. Some even list the doctrines or principles each story helps teach.

There are great stories from recent conference talks that I know my children would enjoy hearing again. For example, when President Thomas S. Monson learned obedience at the age of eight after lighting a field on fire. Or when President Dieter F. Uchtdorf fell down while skiing; he was encouraged and strengthened by his 12-year-old grandson. The indexes are full of story treasures!

A Rockin’ Family Night

By Marissa Widdison
February 14, 2014

A couple of friends told me recently that their children love acting out Friend stories for family home evening. What a great idea! Thumbing through this month's magazine, "Pockets Full of Rocks" on page 24 jumped out at me as something that would be especially fun to act out. All you'd need is a star actor to play Malcolm Tent, a bunch of small rocks, and perhaps a fake puddle (I'm thinking aluminum foil surrounded by a blue scarf would do the trick?). You could even use this flower craft from the April 2010 Friend to replicate Malcolm's feel-good garden.

“The best class ever!”

By Reyna Aburto, Primary general board
February 7, 2014

One day my daughter said, “Something amazing happened in seminary today! The teacher hadn’t even started class when a boy raised his hand and asked a question. Then, someone else asked another question, and we kept asking question after question. Everyone participated in trying to find the answers and the Spirit was very strong. It was the best class ever!”

As I have reflected on that experience, I have asked myself: Do we realize how eager our children are to learn? What can we do to help them feel comfortable asking questions? How can we listen to their questions with an open heart? How can we follow the Lord’s example of teaching and help our children find the answers by themselves? What would encourage the students in our class to teach each other?

Lesson 14 of Teaching, No Greater Call counsels us: “Your main concern should be helping others learn the gospel, not making an impressive presentation. This includes providing opportunities for learners to teach one another. When an individual asks a question, consider inviting others to answer it instead of answering it yourself. For example, you could say, ‘That’s an interesting question. What do the rest of you think?’ or ‘Can anyone help with this question?’”

If we allow the Spirit to guide us as we teach our children, we will find ways to help them learn the truths of the Gospel, “for when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men” (2 Nephi 33:1).