I teach the nursery at church. It's really hard work. Yesterday I didn't have any helpers in my class of 14 four year olds. Luckily they are old enough to write their names on their paperwork. They helped me clean up. Every Sunday after nursery I collapse on the couch and take a nap. It is so exhausting. But it so rewarding.
I usually teach the 3 year olds but yesterday we were short on help and spread very thin. The 2's class was also short on help. Both teachers in the 4's class was sick. Since I taught all of those kids last year, it was an easy transition for me to jump on in.
Ages 2-4 meet in large group for about a half an hour. The teacher of 2's class was very overwhelmed. She had 2 kids on her lap and one just started screaming. I waited a couple of minutes and then walked over to her & picked up the kid. He screamed in my ears as I carried him to the check in counter where the "supervisor" calls for the parents to come. The supervisor took the little boy and helped. As soon as I returned to the large group, one of my 3 year old boys came over to me. I think he is autistic. I work with him one on one most Sundays. He saw me take out the other little boy and he thought I would do the same for him. He came over to me and points to the door whining "GO, GO, GO!!" I sat him down on my lap and said "no, we're staying in here." Again he pointed to the door and whined "GO!!!" It took a few minutes but I was stern with my NO and calmed him down. When the music played I held him as I danced and whirled him around a little. The next thing I know he's laughing.
The very first Sunday of this semester this little shy 3 year old is brought into the nursery by her mother. She's SCREAMING!! She did not want to stay in the nursery. I tried the usual girly toys and nothing calmed her down. I tried the stickers, puzzles, drawing and it just didn't work. Finally I grabbed a book. She is sitting on my lap still screaming in my ear as I read the book. At first she isn't interested. So I had to change tactics. Quickly thinking on my feet, instead of reading the story I pointed out the funny characters on the page and switched to a dramatic voice while I asked her questions. She calmed down. She wanted to tell me who all of the characters are. Winnie is the pooh bear and Tigger is the orange & white tiger who bounces. She wanted to teach me.
The 2 kids have made it all worth it. They make it worth waking up early on Sunday morning to attend the 9:30 service and teach them in the 11:00 service. They make it worth it to study the story the day before. It's exhausting, but every minute is worth it. To see their smiling faces and to turn a screaming child into a calm child.