To Wiggle or Not to Wiggle? That is the Question!
One primary-age Sunday school curriculum I used revealed a challenge that is common in classes of children, especially younger children. This is the challenge of “wiggles.” Small children are made to move about and wiggle. Keeping them still in class is a never-ending battle.
This class of primary students consisted of about an average of ten first and second graders each week. There were also a couple of kindergartners who came to class with their older siblings because they were fearful of going to class by themselves. The older brothers would help the younger ones with the lessons. They were having fun, and it made me smile to see them helping one another.
As I began using the curriculum, the problem became apparent. Each lesson began with a memory verse and Bible story (which was good). The problem began when the materials went from one story to a fictional story to try to teach the application of the lesson. Before we finished the Bible story, the students were already restless and wiggling in their seats. I knew they would not be happy sitting through another story session. Therefore, I decided to replace the fictional story with an activity that reinforced the Bible story.
The activities allowed the students to move about some and focus on doing a project instead of sitting and listening for a long time. The children enjoyed the activities and paid better attention in class because they knew the sooner they finished the Bible lesson, the sooner they could move on to activity time.
Activity time reinforced the lesson, but it also allowed the students to talk quietly and help one another. Some of the activities created special memories for the student.
The problem with this curriculum was that the one who designed it did not make it to fit the attention span of younger children. The two story segments took so long that the students were getting bored and not wanting to come to class. The boredom also brought about more bad behavior in class.
Children need to learn to sit still at times. However, God made them with short attention spans and a need to ‘wiggle.’ If a teacher or lesson plan does not take this into consideration, the teacher will have an unhappy class that won’t want to come and learn about Jesus.
The activity time didn’t completely eliminate the ‘wiggles’ but it did make class more bearable for everyone involved!