In my last post, I described how school classrooms are prepared for children. They are colorful, fresh, and attractive for students. Then I described how all too often, much less thought is put into our Bible classrooms. So what can I do to make my Bible classroom the best it can be?
Let’s start with space. Physical facilities should be appropriate for the age group you are teaching. Make sure you have enough space to adequately accommodate the age of your students. Smaller children need to have enough room to move around. They shouldn’t be expected to stay in a chair for 45 minutes. You may need enough spaces set up for a story corner, a work table, and a learning center.
Now this one should be obvious, however I know from experience that it isn’t always practiced. Things should be clean. I’m not just talking about using a vacuum cleaner and taking out the trash. Make sure the room is deep down clean. Does it need a fresh coat of paint? Keep everything bright & light. Is the carpet stained and filthy? Ask the elders if it can be replaced or at least, have it cleaned. Clean your windows, your desks, tables, anything else that can be.
Several years ago on a Saturday, several teachers in our congregation got together to clean classrooms. I couldn’t believe some of the things I found. It turned out to be something like a bad episode of the TV show, “Hoarders-Buried Alive”! When we opened some of the classroom storage cabinets, things were falling out all over the floor. There were old workbooks with kids names from 5 years before. There were broken crayons, materials that should have been kept in the resource room for sharing, and lots of random trash. Please clean out everything in your classrooms at least every year.
What about the furniture? Is it the correct size & type for the age child you are teaching? I think the ideal furniture for cradle roll class is the semi-circular table where the babies fit into the seats and the teacher is in the center where she can easily reach each baby. For toddlers and preschool children, use tables that low enough to the ground for the children’s feet to reach the floor. For elementary age children, desks or tables can work just fine as long as they are the appropriate size.
Bulletin boards should be changed regularly. I think quarterly is a good rule of thumb. I’ll be having another posts on specifics about bulletin boards, but for now keep in mind that they should be colorful, appropriate to the age you are teaching, and neat. There’s no need to make them labor intensive or complicated. If you do, you’ll be far less enthusiastic about changing them regularly.
Door decorations are a great addition. I like to have every child’s name or picture on the door. For example in the fall, you could have a decoration of a bushel basket with apples inside and all around. In the center of each apple you could put the names or pictures of your students and have some catchy words to welcome them. In the spring you could have flowers with a picture or name of the child in the center of the flower. Whether you put it on the door, bulletin board, or on the desks, you need to have a picture or name written for each child in the class. This lets the child know that they belong here and gives them ownership in the space.
Now for supplies. I have a major pet peeve. Why can we not spring for a new box of crayons for each child each year? Instead, we save them year after year in an old coffee can that is full of nubby crayons. Just go to Walmart in August when the back to school sales are going on. Buy those new boxes for 20-25 cents a box and have a new box for each child. You can buy new glue sticks and pencils for around that price, too. As for those old crayons, let kids take home the old ones when the new boxes come in. If they don’t want them, just throw them away! Do it and don’t look back! I know there are some who just have a terrible time throwing anything away. If this is you, look for someone who can help you in this area.
Take pride in the appearance of your Bible class. We should put forth our best efforts in everything we do that represents the Lord and His work!