Monday, December 06, 2010

The Nuts and Bolts Nativity

The little church we went to when our kids were preschoolers had very limited resources. Looking back, we probably didn’t need that much, to start with... We just had one class of babies, one class of one year olds, one class of two year olds, and so on. So maxxing out at about 5 preschool classes, we just didn’t need THAT many resources. Except in December. Except at Christmas.

It really was a challenge to share the one Nativity puzzle we owned among all the Sunday School rooms when everyone ultimately needed it the same day. We decided that when one teacher finished using it, they could run it down the hall to the next room so the next class could take a turn.

I’ll never forget the day it happened. My friend Emily was teaching the four year old class. She set up the block corner and added the one container we had with all the various sized nuts and bolts in it. Nuts and bolts are a great “manipulative” and a wonderful home made puzzle, as the kids can spend a lot of time matching the correct sized nuts to the correct sized bolts. Promotes cognitive thinking skills as kids match the sizes, fine motor coordination as they screw and unscrew all the nuts, and all that preschool developmental jazz.

But in the middle of Sunday School, in the block center, the most astonishing thing happened in the four year old class that long ago December day. As I was delivering the puzzle to Emily’s room, she waved me off. “We don’t need it today. Look.” It was there on the floor in the block center .

The biggest nut and bolt had become Joseph. The medium nut and bolt had become Mary. The itty bitty one was, of course, the baby Jesus. And all the other nuts and bolts were gathered around in worship.

The kids had figured it out as they played in the center and Emily told them the Bible story.

Teachable moment…. Especially for me.

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