Tag Archives: Primary Training

Primary Teacher Information Night 2005

Do you find you have old notes you jotted down during training sessions or conferences?  I’m not sure why I’ve kept so many, but I dug up some notes I took from a Primary Teacher Information night that we held when I was the Primary Secretary in 2005.

As they’re still relevant for teachers and for use in Sharing/Singing Time, I have included them below.

Sis Shamala Madison said…

Be positive when you teach.  Use positive language when talking to the children such as “happy”.  “I’m happy because you’re being sensible.  Praise them when they are doing the right thing.

Use “I messages…”

“I” messages usually consist of three parts:

  1. letting the child know which behaviours are unacceptable without blaming or judging
  2. letting the child know how the behaviour is affecting others and/or the adult
  3. letting the child know how the adult (or others) are feeling

e.g. “it scared me (adults feeling)

when I see you running inside (what’s happening)

because you may slip over and hurt yourself (the reason)

*these can be used in any order.

“I” messages focus the child’s attention on the consequence of their behaviour without making them feel bad/worse.

Sis Libby Allen provided the following information:-

Check the environment.  Is the lighting good?  Is there too much background noise?  Do a mental check…is everything okay?

Have a positive attitude.  Be cheerful.  Aim to make every lesson be the best one ever.

Be firm, friendly and fair.  Have boundaries.  Be their friend without losing their respect.  Be childlike, not childish.

Pitch the lesson to the right level of the children.

Pay attention to your voice level.  Are you too loud?  Too high pitched?  Too soft?

Use a variety of teaching methods.

Be an example for the children.  Be polite, never sarcastic.

If the children know the boundaries, they will take greater care.

Have class rules.  “Listen to others, treat others with respect, treat Heavenly Father’s house as we should” etc.

Music in Primary according to the Handbook

Someone asked me (just for curiosity’s sake) if I had read the Primary Handbook of Instructions.  I had read the old one, but wasn’t aware that the new one was available online.  From what I recall, not much has changed really since the old one, except for the breaks in between, and apparently the removal of Opening/Closing exercises.  Our Primary still does Opening Exercises in the chapel prior to splitting up for classes and Sharing Time.  I guess that is the Ward Presidency and Bishopric’s decision.
…and here are all the relevant bits to the Music Leader calling:

Ward Primary Music Leader(s) and Pianist(s)

Under the direction of the Primary presidency, Primary music leaders and pianists have the following responsibilities:
They plan, teach, and direct the music for sharing time, including songs that will be part of the children’s sacrament meeting presentation.
They help with music for the nursery class and other Primary classes as requested.
They may organize and direct a children’s choir as requested.
Members of the Primary presidency help the ward Primary music leaders and pianists understand how music contributes to Primary. The melodies, words, and messages of Primary songs can teach children the doctrines of the gospel and stay in their hearts throughout their lives.
Music in Primary should invite reverence, teach the gospel, and help children feel the influence of the Holy Ghost and the joy that comes through singing. While the children sing some songs, music leaders give them opportunities to move physically and stretch appropriately.
The Children’s Songbook and the current sharing time outline are the basic resources for music in Primary. Hymns from the hymnbook and songs from the Friend and Liahona are also appropriate. Occasionally children may sing patriotic or holiday songs that are suitable for Sunday and for the children’s ages. The use of any other music in Primary must be approved by the bishopric.
For information about teaching music to children, see the Children’s Songbook, pages 300–304. See also chapter 14 in this handbook, the current outline for sharing time, and “Music Callings and Resources” in the Serving in the Church section of LDS.org
This bit is also relevant:-

Sharing Time

Sharing time provides opportunities for children to learn the gospel of Jesus Christ and feel the influence of the Holy Ghost. The Primary presidency follows the outline for sharing time, which is sent to the ward each year. Additional copies are available from Church Distribution Services and under “Primary” in the Serving in the Church section of LDS.org.

Members of the presidency take turns conducting sharing time. This time normally includes the following elements:

  1. 1.Prelude music, a reverent song or hymn that the children know, and an opening prayer by one of the children.
  2. 2.One or more of the following: a scripture passage chosen and read by one of the children, memorization of an article of faith, a brief message by a member of the bishopric, one or two activity songs, and children’s talks that are related to the month’s theme.
  3. 3.Gospel instruction by the Primary presidency. This portion lasts about 15 minutes. Members of the presidency use the scriptures and follow the current outline for sharing time as they prepare and teach.
  4. 4.Singing time conducted by a music leader. This portion lasts about 20 minutes (see the current outline for sharing time).
  5. 5.A closing prayer by one of the children, followed by postlude music.


And this bit:-

Children’s Sacrament Meeting Presentation

The annual children’s sacrament meeting presentation gives children an opportunity to share what they have learned in Primary. It is normally presented during the fourth quarter of the year.

The Primary presidency and music leader(s) prepare the presentation under the direction of the bishopric. They follow the guidelines in the current outline for sharing time, adapting it as needed to fit the circumstances of the children.

In the sacrament meeting, the presentation comes after the administration of the sacrament and may take all or part of the remaining time. All Primary children ages 3 through 11 sing songs they have learned in sharing time. Children may also participate by reading or reciting scripture passages, giving talks, singing in small groups, and sharing their testimonies. An adult leader in Primary may also share a brief message.

In keeping with the sacredness of sacrament meeting, the presentation should not include visuals, costumes, or media presentations.

And I’ll add this bit because it’s interesting:-

Stake Primary Music Leader

Under the direction of the stake Primary presidency, a stake Primary music leader may help give instruction in stake Primary leadership meetings. He or she may also give individual instruction to Primary presidencies, music leaders, and pianists. When requested, the stake Primary music leader organizes and directs a stake children’s choir.

Instruction should include demonstrating effective ways to teach the gospel to children through music. Resources include the Children’s Songbook, pages 300–304. See also chapter 14 in this handbook, the current outline for sharing time, and “Music Callings and Resources” in the Serving in the Church section of LDS.org.

Sometimes the Stake Music Leader provides training at the Stake Leadership Training Meeting. (If you’re told about it…but that’s a whole ‘nother story). ;D

Anyways, that’s a bit of a refresher (in my mind) of what I should be doing in Singing Time/Primary.

Note from Leadership Training with Sis Lifferth, First Counsellor Primary General Board 2005

I was digging through some ‘stuff’, and came across some notes I had taken from Leadership Training we had on Saturday 11th June 2005.  I have re-typed them because they are still very relevant today:-

What is the purpose of Primary?

  • “Suffer the children to come unto me”.  To teach the children about the Gospel.
  • Parents have the primary responsibility to teach their children.
  • To strengthen families.

How does Primary strengthen families?

This question was put to Priesthood leaders (members of the Bishopric in attendance) – “What do you hope to happen?

  • YM to prepare to receive the Priesthood and go on missions
  • To build testimonies
  • To reinforce the Gospel being taught in the home
  • To receive an appreciation for good music
  • To lead toward the Temple
  • To be good fathers and good leaders

Elder Ballard gave a talk about raising the bar.  Does that apply in Primary?  It starts at home.  We raise the bar ourselves in terms of preparation etc.

We have the opportunity to teach the children to prepare for the two most important covenants: Baptismal and Temple covenants.  The children are capable and anxious to learn about the Gospel.

As you lead and guide the Primaries, what problems do you need to solve?

  • We need good teaching
  • Reverence
  • Managing appropriate behaviour and respect
  • Motivating teachers to be prepared (and show up)
  • Helping the children feel the spirit.

Define what the foundation for Primary is:

  •  Support of Priesthood leaders – work well with them
  • When we are staffed
  • Having people, quality people, in Primary
  • We need to love the children
  • Encourage children to read the scriptures

We need to mentor children to need to see a functional family.  We give children the hope that that’s what they can have.  The Primary Board received a lot of feedback (a lot of negative) about last years’ theme, as a lot of Primary children come from broken homes, but we want to give them hope that they can have a forever family of their own, even if they don’t necessarily come from one.

How do we work together?  We all want the same vision.  We need to help each other achieve the vision (Primary Presidencies and Bishoprics).  There are several places we go to receive counselling:-

  • From Heavenly Father when called and set apart, and when we pray
  • From the Church Handbook
  • Scripture Study
  • Ward/Stake Council
  • Visiting/Home teachers can help with inactives
  • Primary Presidencies
  • Ward Mission Leaders
  • Youth leaders (for upcoming youth still in Primary

BUDDY BEES- activation program for less actives – ‘borrowed’ from a Ward in Queensland.  It was on their noticeboard.  I hope they haven’t missed it yet! (tee hee)

This was their plan:-

– Invite the less actives to activities

– Teacher to visit and befriend

– Welcome the child/children in Primary

– Choose a less active child in class (for teachers to do)

Correlate with other Auxiliaries.

Counsel with Priesthood Brethren – The Primary Bishopric member should be invited every now and then to attend a primary meeting.

Meet.  Think.  Get solutions.  Write them down and say “Brother…we have thought of solutions.  Would you review and provide counsel and get back to us?” Instead of bombarding Priesthood leaders with problems, we need to be prepared.

Building faith and spiritual self-reliance.

Priesthood focus: How can we build faith in our children?

We need to share our successes with our Priesthood leaders.  Let them know we support them and we are having successes.

Practical application

Having Primaries well staffed and having teachers well prepared.

(Priesthood brethren who extend the call to serve are asked to stand) What is involved?

  • Expectations of what’s involved in the calling
  • Who are they going to report to
  • Reliability to attend classes and form a bond with the children
  • Give them tools/materials
  • What it takes – being committed
  • Let them know how important the calling is.
  • Give them the Primary vision

This makes all the difference.  Express appreciation to accept the call.  Don’t make assumptions of the person’s circumstances.

Who should be called?

  • The person Heavenly Father wants
  • The best
  • Primary can be a good place to start.  Children are very loving.  We need good mentors as well.
  • Remember some people can be mentored (re-activated members) but also remember to stick with the manual and Primary provided materials so only the correct doctrine is being taught.

Consistency to the children is important.  They need to have the same teacher for a full year.  It takes a while for the teacher to gain the student’s trust.

We need an adequately staffed Primary.  Let the teacher stay long enough.

We need to change the perception of serving in Primary – we’re not being ‘left’ in Primary (like a dark hole).

We need to ensure our own spiritual nourishment.  It is part of every one’s callings.

Fellowshipping and sustaining our Primary.  it can be possible to feel neglected because sisters need sisters (and the need to feel like “belonging” in Relief Society)

Primary Orientation

We watched a video of a Primary Orientation.

  • Build and give vision in the Primary orientation (with a new teacher)
  • Define system of support
  • The presidency member was prepared with a class list, materials, calendar
  • The Presidency member shared the Primary vision
  • Reinforce that the calling came from Heavenly Father
  • Support and encourage the Primary teacher
  • Express confidence in the teacher and acknowledge you are praying for the teacher

Use the materials provided by the church.  Use visuals, music and testimony.

Singing Time

  • Talk about the things to listen for
  • Use pitch leading when trying to teach a melody.  Children can pitch lead too.
  • Visual signals/actions
  • Use “listen for this”
  • Understand what the words are saying
  • Memorise the music
  • Get the words and music into the hearts and minds of the children
  • Invite the children to listen
  • How and when can you tech this to your teachers and music personnel
  • Sharing Time – model teaching skills
  • All of us are teachers, all the time!

Activity Days/Faith in God Program

  • Primary Presidency and Faith in God leaders gives the books to the children
  • A time when the children meet with their parents and leaders -twice a year at an activity for the Faith in God program
  • The most important reward is a testimony – the process of living the Gospel
  • Priesthood Preview – explain to the YM the purpose of the Priesthood
  • Bishop is in charge of the Priesthood Preview.  Primary leaders can assist.
  • The child is the person responsible for tracking his progress however it is of minimal importance overall.  They will however learn accountability, responsibility and they need to learn these skills if they can.
  • There are two activities in each section
  • Ideas for activities come from Teaching – No Greater Call, The Friend Magazine, the children invite a mother or father to come, the Internet…
  • There are five extra activities for the 11 year old boys and girls.

There will never be another time when we have stewardship over an open heart.

The Saviour is welcoming the children in to his open arms.

Bring the children to Christ as we work together and prepare ourselves so we can teach with the spirit.

Primary children remember three things: the music, that their teacher loved them (even if they don’t remember their teacher’s name) and if they have felt the spirit.

We will not know the extent of our influence.  We have a profound opportunity to teach and strengthen.