Sometimes as a teacher, and a parent, you wonder if what you are teaching your children is sinking in. Recently the children in our VPK class showed us that they are certainly taking it all in.
During the weeks of Lent we spent time learning about Jesus and the sacrifice he made for us in many ways. We read from the Bible, we read wonderful Easter books, the children made crosses and we even painted their interpretation of heaven. As teachers we felt confident that the children understood that Jesus died on the cross to save us, and we knew they could retell the story, but were they really understanding the importance of it all?
One afternoon it was center time and we put some large sheets of tissue paper on the easel with some spring colored paint. One of our favorite authors, Eric Carle, paints this way and the children have learned this technique from his books. When the first child finished her painting she wanted to show her classmates so I held it up for them to see and she told them “It’s Jesus; he loves everybody!” The next child finished his painting and announced to the class that his was Jesus coming to Jerusalem. The third painter created Jesus on the cross. It was very moving to watch them retell the Easter story all on their own. We had not even suggested to them to paint Jesus. Now they were all talking about Jesus and Holy Week. Many little voices were saying, “I want to paint next!” Together they decided what they still wanted to paint. They created paintings of Jesus having supper with his disciples, Jesus praying in the garden, Jesus being arrested by the soldiers, Jesus carrying the cross through the streets, Jesus in the tomb, Jesus knocking on the disciples door and Jesus ascending to heaven. As they painted they told us in such detail about their paintings and why that part of the Easter story was important to them. You could truly feel the presence of God in every painting and see the children’s love for Jesus. It was such an inspired presentation of the Easter story, and all done by four and five year olds.
Children are so amazing. They have Jesus in their hearts and let that love shine in what they do. They are taking it all in and then giving it back. They can teach us so many things. Look for these masterpieces hanging in the new child development center.
--submitted by Stacey Carroll, VPK2