Open Discussion Forum

Topic: Jesus Time Daycare 

1.  Jesus Time Daycare

Posted 07-17-2017 03:13 PM
I teach at a preschool through 8th grade Lutheran School. We also have a daycare onsite that cares for children from 6 weeks through 12 years. The school age group is just before/after school during the school year and full days for all school vacations.

I'm preparing a presentation about incorporating more religion into the day. Currently, they pray before snacks/lunch and sing some songs, but not much else.

I know the directors will not be very receptive to purchasing curriculum, which is what I use in my part-time preschool classes. We are two separate entities, they "rent space" and use our name, though the religious aspect is written into their by-laws.

I'm looking for ideas of things I can have them do. I can get a $250 grant to buy some materials. Looking for suggestions for each age level.

Thank you so much!

[Heather] [Finnegan]
[Preschool Teacher]
[Our Redeemer Lutheran Church with School]
[Delavan] [WI]

2.  RE: Jesus Time Daycare

Posted 07-18-2017 02:52 AM
There is so much research telling us that young children learn from concrete to abstract, not the other way around, i.e. they learn through  Play. This is the very heart of the notion of Developmentally Approrpiate Practices (DAP), and in my opinion, it applies to everything we hope to teach the children in our care.  My work as a trainer, consultant and CDA Professional Development Specialist takes me into many different kinds of Early Learning programs, including faith based programs. It disturbs me when I see a faith based program that is conscientious about developmentally appropriate practice, except when it comes to teaching the children about faith, and then they revert back to the way we taught preschool in the 1985, for example, a boring dry circle time when the teacher reads the children a story from the Bible (or Koran, Torah, etc.) and they are required to memorize and recite verses or prayers without any understanding of their meaning. In these programs faith is treated as something entirely separate from other activities during the day, for example, saying a "canned" blessing before eating and having a separate circle time for faith lessons, and perhaps a poster or a few faith based books in the classroom cozy area. I have also seen faith based programs where teachers actually avoid any kind of "God talk" for fear of being perceived as pushing religion down the children's throats. Then there are some wonderful faith based programs I have visited that infuse lessons of faith throughout the school day in gentle, loving ways that are developmentally appropriate (much like Mr. Rogers' teaching style). For example I was observing in a Moslem preschool, and a teacher approached a child who had just shared a toy with another child, and in the sweetest voice, she said to him "Oh, it was so kind of you to share the toy with your friend. I'm sure that made Allah smile."  The following Monday I visited a Christian preschool, and I heard a teacher exclaim "Oh my goodness, look!  The daffodils in our garden started blooming over the weekend!  Look how pretty they are!  I'm so happy that God created flowers to make our world beautiful!" Later that morning, the teacher put some daffodils in a vase on the table for snack time, and the blessing included thanking God for giving us flowers, and the conversations during snack included thinking of other beautiful things God created for us like rainbows and puppies, etc.  My point is that rather than purchasing a canned curriculum, I recommend continually infusing the day with God talk that is meaningful and understandable for young children, i.e., connecting concepts such as kindness, generosity, helping others, etc. to faith.

Linda Crisalli
Kirkland WA

3.  RE: Jesus Time Daycare

Posted 07-19-2017 12:24 AM
Beautifully stated!! I couldn't agree with you more. I teach in a Catholic setting and I believe that infusing life lessons about care and respect for others and the world throughout the day is so much more valuable than isolated lessons. I also want my kiddos to interact with the beautiful things they only see from afar when we go to mass... artifacts like crucifixes, candles, stained glass windows, rosaries, religious statues, etc... Several years ago I created a prayer center for the children to PLAY in and talk to Jesus and interact with and actually touch and interact with real Christian religious artifacts. I have managed to stock up on a whole collection of things. One more thing to save and scrounge around for:) Their pretend play in that center is too precious for words. They talk to Jesus. They tell him they are sorry. They write him notes and draw him pictures. They invite friends who are sad to come and pray with them. So touching and sweet. THAT is showing me that they are learning how to live their faith.

Gina Flynn
4K Professional Educator
St. Robert School
Shorewood, WI

4.  RE: Jesus Time Daycare

Posted 07-18-2017 04:27 AM
​​​I agree with much of what Linda Crisalli said.  Children learn faith through practice and us labeling it for them.  We need to verbally recognize kindness, respect, helpfulness.  We need to label their actions to help them gain understanding.  I assume the teachers of the program who rent space from you do not teach "religion" or "faith" because it is not something they practice.  Try approaching them with the idea of teaching values. Their are many children's books that teach values. The Giving Tree - unconditional love, The Empty Pot - honesty, even simplified versions of Aesops fables are helpful.  Gratitude is a foundational value, one that is promoted across all cultures. In addition to the memorized prayers they may pray, have them take time to give thinks throughout the day. It is good for the teachers to also express their thanks.  Get the families involved.  Send home construction paper leaves and ask the families to write down what they are thankful for.  Make a thanksgiving tree or wreath for all to see.
​If you want them to teach bible stories, have them use story stretcher techniques as they would with other stories.  Measure the length of the ark. If they are telling the story of Joshua and the Walls of Jericho suggest they make kazoos or other horns and march around the building. 7 times :)  If they are telling the story of Daniel and the Lions Den have them talk about a time when they were scared but God protected them.  Personally I was once protected from a pack of wild dogs and it felt like a Daniel in the Lion's Den moment for me.  Just like in bible times, God still protects us today.
There are many Sunday School curriculums online available for free, see how they might be used in the classroom.  And of course pray, ask God and He will direct your ways.

Karen Harmer

5.  RE: Jesus Time Daycare

Posted 07-18-2017 09:58 AM
I taught at a wonderful Christian School here in Minnesota which also now has preschool through 8th grade.  I don't think they have implemented Early Care yet.  Their website is:

I would highly recommend contacting them for curriculum options.

Stephanie Ponticas

6.  RE: Jesus Time Daycare

Posted 07-18-2017 10:32 AM
 Consider Abeka.


Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device

7.  RE: Jesus Time Daycare

Posted 07-19-2017 10:58 AM
​What an important discussion.  I would like to suggest that something else is taking place when we begin speaking about faith and values.  And most importantly, I believe it is a universal aspect of human development.  I am speaking about spiritual development.  In 2012 I received my PhD in early childhood education with a focus on spiritual development.  In 2002 while working in inner city Cleveland, Ohio I realized that there was really no shared language for talking about spiritual development outside of faith based educational settings and even there, the conversation would jump right to God and religion.  I also had the privilege of speaking with a group of Israeli educations in an early childhood school in Jerusalem.  I shared my research with them and one of the educators thanked me and said that here in her classroom the space where they pray is not very spiritual.  Another said that she never realized that spirituality can exist down here (and she pointed to where the children are and where the earth and children meet).  I would like to invite anyone who is interested to join the Young Children's Interest Forum where we talk about definitions of spiritual development which often includes nature (as in the daffodil story), values such as kindness and empathy, and other important human qualities. I also have a book coming out in September titled: Inspiring Wonder, Awe, and Empathy.

Deborah Schein
Minneapolis MN

8.  RE: Jesus Time Daycare

Posted 07-18-2017 07:05 PM
I have a Christian child care, and have served as a children's ministry leader in church over the past 20 years.  I have put some research into Christian-based learning for early childhood.

Keep in mind that Christianity in it's purest form is a relationship with our Creator, God.  It is not really about good moral behavior, but rather about a Savior, God, who seeks us for a relationship in spite of our shortcomings.  The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross restored the possibility of a close personal relationship with our God, and God invites everyone to take part, especially children.

DAP addresses that all children move through predictable patterns of development that are inter-related.  This is true, as well, with a child's spiritual development.  Their spiritual stage of development must also be taken into consideration when creating learning experiences.  The key task in the earliest stage of a child's life is to lay down a foundation of love.  Children need to know that they are loved, accepted, and wanted.  This is the best time to build in them the knowledge of God's reality, care, and power.  And, like all other areas of development, this is best achieved through personal experience.  As spiritual teachers and caregivers, we must be intentional about creating an environment for children's spiritual learning experiences, and helping them see God in it all.

Consider the Christian disciplines, and how they can be used in the classroom:  prayer, worship, Bible, etc.  Story stretchers based on God's Word is an excellent platform for classroom activities.  During the preschool years, the focus should be on the attributes of God, not the behavior of people.

There are a couple of places I can recommend that you look for more detailed ideas that you can implement into your classrooms. One book "Establishing Children in Prayer: a Daniel Academy Journey" by Lelonnie Hibberd is filled with ideas that have been proven successful.  Also, Group Publishing has hundreds of resources such as "Exploring God's World" designed for the preschool setting..

Elizabeth Werner
Blessed Beginnings
Cody WY

9.  RE: Jesus Time Daycare

Posted 07-20-2017 11:02 AM
Thank you for this important discussion on Faith-based early childhood centers.  I appreciate the responses of those involved in such programs!!

Sharon Culbertson
Trinity Community Preschool
Woodbridge CT

10.  RE: Jesus Time Daycare

Posted 07-20-2017 09:02 PM

Here are some resources that would be good for your DC people.  Lutheran educators have years of experience teaching the faith but also applying the learning in DAP ways in the classroom.  The greatest joy of my 20+ years in early childhood education is seeing the faith of children as they interact with me and one another with God's love and forgiveness.

Integrating the Faith

Little Lambs and Little Lambs, Too

Each Bible story in here has story stretchers and life applications:  Young Learner's Bible Storybook

These are all inexpensive and once the workers use some of them, they will see how it works and be able to come up with ideas of their own.


Julie Bedard
Collinsville IL

11.  RE: Jesus Time Daycare

Posted 07-25-2017 09:13 PM
I can't even begin to thank you all for your thoughtful responses! This all helps me tremendously! I am so used to just doing Jesus Time and incorporating this, I sometimes forget how to teach it to people who don't do this on a regular basis.

I see I wan't totally clear in my initial post. The directors are not opposed to doing Jesus Time, just to buying a curriculum. As we all know money is hard to come by. So I am trying to figure out ways to help them incorporate basic Bible stories and songs without spending a lot of money.

I loved the discussion that was had by all! This is such a great community be to a part of!

[Heather] [Finnegan]
[Preschool Teacher]
[Our Redeemer Lutheran Church with School]
[Delavan] [WI]