Egads! Baha’i Neighborhood Children’s Classes at Our Home

Have you ever wondered…

     How do I start a Bahá’í children’s class?
     How do I bring life back to a Bahá’í children’s class?     
     How do I introduce Bahá’í children’s classes to parents?  
     What do I do first?
These were the questions I asked myself not that long ago. My hubby and I were in a new neighborhood. We had some contacts. Wei had traveled to the area to help with children’s classes for three years. Now we were homefront pioneering.

First thing, we could not do it alone. Nor did we want to. We needed a team of like-minded friends to accompany us and each other to teach the children. 

It wasn’t a snap. It took more than 2 years for us to build close bonds and trusted friendships. It turned out that a serious weekly dinner-devotional would really help us. That’s where we built friendship, trust, and love.

  • The goal, rejuvenate the waning children’s class for the neighborhood. The children’s class had once been a strong magnet. But lately, it had been struggling with absent teachers, fizzling attendance, and sporadic classes. There were 2 students. 
  • More children were needed for Bahá’í neighborhood children’s classes. 

We had no idea what to do. But, we had to arise and serve to our best. “Doubt” and “worry” were the killer of our dream. We relied heavily on our trust in God. We believed that the Concourse helped us. We prayed constantly.

Something wonderful began to happen after a year of serious devotional meetings. We were all on the same page in thought and action. We were committed to making children’s classes happen on Friday nights. Friday nights were the only time the children in the neighboring community were free.

We offered a special summer break Friday night class based on virtues with arts & crafts. We opened these classes to all the children outside on the commons deck under our HDB flat building. Daily, hundreds of families walk past this open air area from the bus stop to their HDB flats. Dozens of kids walked by the commons deck from school or they played on the playground a few feet away.

Lots and lots of people were attracted to what we were doing. It seems that nearly everyone wanted better and more education for the kids in the neighboring community. Soon we were making friends. Our regular attending two students grew to ten, then twenty regular attending students. They were learning about virtues and letting virtues shine. These kids believed that the world is for everyone and we should be good to our planet and all people on it. The new parents believed that their children could make a difference and make a better world for all.

In three weeks, we had twelve regular kids (that would grow to 20 over the next few months), the time slot established, the teachers committed, and the place for the classes was up the lift to the 9th floor. It was time for the next step, introduce the concept of Bahá’í neighborhood classes and the Ruhi curriculum to the parents. 

Our home was the place for activity and all families came to meet the teachers. The program introduced the Bahá’í community, the Ruhi curriculum and demonstrate a learning scenario with a homemade 2-sided puzzle, The Gems Within
  • The teaching team took turns introducing the neighborhood children’s classes concept, the curriculum, and the teachers. Then, we demonstrated an introductory lesson of our spiritual nature: “Regard man as a mine of gems of inestimable value…”
  • Guests gathered in a circle (teachers, parents and friends). One teacher sat with the children of all ages in the middle of the circle. In the center was a puzzle. Gently and quickly, the children took turns to put the 24-piece picture side of the puzzle together. Then, a few older children took turns reading the quote.
  • They were asked: What do you think are these inestimable gems? What could these precious gems be?
  • Let’s find out! The kids, one at a time, turned over a piece of the puzzle to reveal a virtue. The 24 virtue puzzle pieces introduced the themes of the 24 lessons. 
  • Then, it was time for refreshments and conversations.
There was a good turnout. The parents left happy. The kids left happier.
If you like, you can make your own gems puzzle or buy one that is ready to use. Visit Auntie Lili’s “Shoppe” and our “video” for instructions on how to use the puzzle to build understanding and concepts. There are free downloads of accompanying coloring sheet for the Gems puzzle.
AllDoneMonkey suggests books on topics pertinent to peace, brotherhood, other kid topics, fun things to do with preschool children, and activities for Bahai holidays and Holy Days.
When I became a mother for the first time, I knew what was important, my baby.

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Thanks for stopping by and please come again.

Auntie Lili

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