Children’s classes are a core activity in Baha’i community life. Find all our children’s class related posts by clicking here.
As there are no specific curricula recommended for children under five (when children begin the lessons from Ruhi Book 3), this page will simply list resources that may be helpful for teaching children 0-4 years old.
Many teachers of children’s classes for under fives still use the Ruhi Book 3 class sequence including:
These elements can be made as simple and short as needed, and should also include age appropriate elements to tailor to the attention span of the children such as putting motions to songs.
Example of a class:
For example, a possible class focused on “Love” may be:
- Sing “O God! Guide me” together as a group, using hand motions or pictures to direct attention
- Repeat “In the garden of thy heart, plant naught but the rose of love” three times
- Tell a story about a girl who planted many roses in her garden for all her friends
- Sing “The Magic Penny”
- Hand out flowers to everyone and at the whistle, ask everyone to get up and give their flower to someone else
- Glue dried flower petals on a paper flower cut out of construction paper
If the classes are made up of children who are very young, some teachers choose to have more of a “Music and Movement” class using songs with virtue related lyrics.
Here are some quotations for reflection that may be helpful when planning to teach a children’s class:
“Every child is potentially the light of the world — and at the same time its darkness; wherefore must the question of education be accounted as of primary importance. From his infancy, the child must be nursed at the breast of God’s love, and nurtured in the embrace of His knowledge, that he may radiate light, grow in spirituality, be filled with wisdom and learning, and take on the characteristics of the angelic host.”
(Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 130)
“A degree of joy was attained that is beyond words or writing that, praise be to God, the power of the Kingdom of God hath trained such children who, from their early childhood, eagerly wish to acquire Bahá’í education that they may, from the period of their childhood, engage in service to the world of humanity.
My highest wish and desire is that ye who are my children may be educated according to the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh and may receive a Bahá’í training; that ye may each become a lighted candle in the world of humanity, may be devoted to the service of all mankind, may give up your rest and comfort, so that ye may become the cause of the tranquillity of the world of creation.
Such is my hope for you and I trust that ye may become the cause of my joy and gladness in the Kingdom of God.”
(Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 141
Quotations from 12 December 2011 Message from Universal House of Justice:
“In all such matters, those serving as teachers and animators alike are called upon to exercise discretion. Education is a vast field, and educational theories abound. Surely many have considerable merit, but it should be remembered that none is free of assumptions about the nature of the human being and society. An educational process should, for example, create in a child awareness of his or her potentialities, but the glorification of self has to be scrupulously avoided. So often in the name of building confidence the ego is bolstered. Similarly, play has its place in the education of the young. Children and junior youth, however, have proven time and again their capacity to engage in discussions on abstract subjects, undertaken at a level appropriate to their age, and derive great joy from the serious pursuit of understanding. ” (page 5)
“In light of the foregoing paragraphs, the question of educational materials specifically as they pertain to children’s classes and to junior youth groups has to be considered. With regard to the former, we explained in our Ridvan 2010 message that the lessons prepared by the Ruhi Institute would constitute the core of a programme for the spiritual education of children, around which secondary elements could be organized. Whether or not any additional elements are required to reinforce the educational process for each grade would generally be determined by teachers themselves, on the basis of specific circumstances, not infrequently in consultation with the institute coordinator at the cluster level. It is assumed that, if found to be appropriate, any additional items would be selected from resources readily available. There will seldom be cause to formalize the use of such items, whether directly through their adoption by training institutes or indirectly through their widespread systematic promotion.” (page 5)
“An educational process that dilutes content in a mesmerizing sea of entertainment does them no service. We trust that, in studying the institute courses, teachers and animators will find themselves increasingly equipped to make judicious decisions in selecting any materials or activities necessary, whether from traditional educational sources or from the wealth of items, such as songs, stories, and games, that are sure to be developed for the young in the Baha’i community in the years to come. ” (page 6)