The Program.—The program must be varied, because self control is weak, and attention will be given to one thing only so long as interest is active. Music should have a prominent place, provided it is meaningful, choice, and suggestive of the thought desired, in music as well as words. Since this is the rhythmic and imitative period of life, motion songs can be occasionally used, provided the motions are not mechanical and artificial. The foot notes which say that at I the hands should be clasped, at 2 they should wave, and at 3 be raindrops, miss the point of a motion song. Unless the child spontaneously expresses the thought which the song suggests to him, the motions have no value, aside from a rest exercise.
The entire program should be planned around the thought of leading the child into a genuine love for God. Nature is beautiful, but its place in Sunday School is subordinate to Him. The most exquisite song that ends with birds and flowers falls below the highest nurture. Love must be both aroused and expressed during the hour’s session. Music, Scripture, the enumeration of His blessings, the joy over birthdays and new scholars He has sent, the lesson, the carefully selected pictures and stories of what His love has done for other boys and girls unlike them, an atmosphere of gladness and reverence will kindle it; the offering service, the prayer, Scripture and music will express it. The suggestion from teacher, place, program and lesson combined, should be a great, wonderful God who loves little children, as well as a Christ who took the children in His arms.
The Lesson.—The course known as “The Two Years’ Course for Beginners” affords the best subject matter for the lessons for the following reasons:
1. Bible truths needed first in the life of a little child have been carefully selected and arranged in their logical order.
2. As many lessons as are needed to make each truth clear and to fix it in memory are devoted to it.
3. The setting for the truths to be taught is given in stories, not abstract statements.
4. The same Golden Text is used for all the lessons teaching one truth, is simple, intelligible and, by repetition in connection with several lessons, can be fixed.
5. The pictures accompanying the lessons are very choice both in theme and execution.
Since the only ideas the child will receive of the lesson must come through his senses and bodily activity, and since, of his senses, sight and touch make a clearer impression than hearing, large use should be made of them. Further, as this is the period of imitation of definite acts, the lesson should present forcibly and fascinatingly, an activity within his power to imitate.
The end sought, as a result of the nurture of this period, is that the child may become truly a child of God, and never know a time when he did not love Him.
This may be achieved, for the heart of a little child is open and peculiarly sensitized to the matchless story of Jesus Christ. When it is presented to him aright, he always responds in faith and love. In this response, the conditions upon which spiritual sonship is conferred are met, for, “As many as received Him, to them gave He the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on His name.”