“Parents and Primary: Partners in Teaching Children the Gospel,” Ensign, Mar. 1986, 45
Parents have the major responsibility for teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to their children. (See D&C 68:25–28.) The Primary is a great resource to parents in this responsibility.
How can the Primary help? First, it offers children a systematic study of gospel principles. Second, it gives children the opportunity to develop wholesome friendships in a gospel context.
For Primary to be most helpful, however, parents must be aware of what their children are learning in Primary and help the Primary leaders understand what their children need. As parents and Primary leaders talk together and learn to understand the needs of each child, Primary will become more effective in reinforcing the gospel teachings the children receive at home.
Here are some things the Primary can do:
1. Near the beginning of each year, the Primary can conduct a parent orientation to the year’s program. This orientation may include the class purpose and outline of lessons to be taught; songs that will be taught in Primary during the year; activities and programs planned; and the scriptures to be emphasized and the Articles of Faith to be learned. Primary teachers can also discuss lesson outlines for the year one-on-one with the parents and suggest ways parents might help the child live the principles that will be taught.
2. Early in the year, Primary teachers can visit the home of each child to discover the interests and abilities of each class member and to discuss ways to support parents in teaching the gospel to their child.
3. The Primary can invite parents to attend Primary on a rotation basis with their children at least once during the year. Parents can also be invited to participate in the presentation of the lesson, in sharing experiences, or in giving their testimony.
4. Primary teachers can give children opportunities in Primary to share special home experiences, such as the birth of a new baby or the call of a new missionary.
5. Before teaching a particular gospel principle, the teacher could sometimes ask the parents about how well their children are living the principle. This information can help the teacher structure the lessons to meet the needs of the children.
6. Having obtained the information from parents in advance, the teacher can share examples of children in the class living a gospel principle being taught in the lesson.
7. Primary leaders can include parents in incentive programs (Gospel in Action) and in helping the children learn the Articles of Faith, memorize scriptures, and keep a journal.
8. Children or teachers could send occasional reports home on things the child has learned and done in Primary.
9. Teachers can alert parents of assignments for prayers, talks, scripture recitations, or parts on programs two weeks in advance. Clearly written expectations will help parents prepare the child to fulfill the assignment.
10. Primary leaders can talk to parents of children who don’t attend regularly and help them recognize what Primary has to offer their family.
Here are some suggestions for parents:
1. Parents can spend a few minutes each Sunday discussing with the child what he has experienced in Primary.
2. Parents can help the child practice living a gospel principle taught in Primary that week.
3. Parents can tell the teacher about special events in the child’s life that could be shared in Primary.
4. Parents can visit the class from time to time (informing the teacher of their coming, of course) and offer to help.
5. Parents can help the child write a letter of appreciation to the teacher for a special lesson or activity he enjoyed.
6. The family can sing songs in the home that the children learn in Primary.
7. Parents can let the child tell a story or experience from Primary for family home evening.
8. Parents can help the child prepare for assignments in Primary far enough in advance so that he feels secure and ready.