17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Tiniest Sunbeam of Them All

[Photo courtesy of Happy Nanny]

My Asher will be a Sunbeam this coming January. He is in the 25th percentile for his age in height and weight and will be 3-years old for only two weeks before he enters Primary. Last week they brought in the prospective Sunbeams to Sharing Time. Asher was beaming from ear to ear as the other kids sang him the Welcome Song. He looked so adorable up there.....and so little!

We dealt with a similar situation with our oldest son, Noe. His birthday is just a couple of days before January 1 and he is also in the approximate height and weight percentile as Asher. With the Primary President's blessing, our solution then was to hold him back a year (Noe also was born 7 weeks premature and has an autism diagnosis). It sounds so horrible, holding back your kid from Primary.....but it was the correct decision for Noe. Noe is really thriving in Primary this year as a Sunbeam and most all the kids in his class are only a month or two younger than him.

We don't feel the same need to hold Asher back a year, but I would love some suggestions on how to prepare him for the transition from Nursery to Primary. I want him to have a really great experience in Primary and I think he will adjust quickly, but I feel like I should be doing some things now to help prepare him for the structure of Primary.

Have you done anything with your own children to help prepare them for Primary that you felt was helpful? If so, just consider this Sharing Time at Tales.....


  • Although my son isn't tiny (he's tall actually) he is the youngest in his nursery class (his b-day is today). Our ward does a good job in preparing the kids for Primary. Starting in December, they don't get snacks any more, no more play-doh, and the kids come into sharing time just for music time which is about 15 minutes. The leaders talk to the kids about being big kids and not neading snacks and how much fun Primary will be. Some kids may need a snack but the parents handle that.
    As a parent, I plan on reinforcing the same things they do in nursery to prep my son. Some kids aren't potty trained yet when they go to primary, but don't worry if your son isn't.
    Being in the Primary presidency, I applaud your effort for wanting to make sure your son is a good Sunbeam. My experience has been that the sunbeams are the most reverant. They don't sit perfectly still but they still do a great job. And with anything, there is a learning curve and adjustment time.
    posted by Anonymous WendyH at 11/15/2007 05:38:00 AM  

  • Try introducing him to more Primary songs. Primary is much more fun when you know what is going on.
    posted by Blogger a spectator at 11/15/2007 06:00:00 AM  

  • I would talk about it a lot with your son - maybe a few times a week. Just casual, let him know what's going to happen, he'll have a new teacher, a new classroom, new Sharing Time, etc. My kids do so much better when they are mentally prepared.
    posted by Anonymous amelia bedelia at 11/15/2007 07:22:00 AM  

  • As a current Sunbeam teacher, it might be nice for parents to introduce their child to the Sunbeam teacher before the end of the year, so the child can be familiar with the teacher when they begin Sunbeams in January. Also, I would suggest that the parents share some personal information about their child with the teacher, and the teacher can plan activities for the new class, using that personalized information. I've seen children so excited in class when I share something special about them. They seem to be more at ease in a new situation, and it shows their new teacher cares about each and every one of them.
    posted by Anonymous HK at 11/15/2007 11:43:00 AM  

  • I don't have a lot of help to give you. I don't think I was very good at preparing Princess for Sunbeams. At least I don't remember doing anything. Maybe it was because both her and I knew her teacher and the other people in Primary quite well, so I knew she would be comfortable.

    I love HK's advice from a teacher's perspective. I am going to keep that in my pocket for pumpkin's transition to Sunbeams next year.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 11/15/2007 07:03:00 PM  

  • I was a sunbeam teacher for awhile, too. And I remember getting a group right from the beginning when they were transitioning from nursery. I don't have much advice but I definitely agree with talking with the teacher, asking how your kid is doing, keeping communication lines open. I do remember that one of the hardest parts for my cute kiddos was just sitting in their chairs during sharing time in primary before we broke off to class. Once in class I could focus things a little better for their short attention spans (and I did bring them snacks often except for fast sunday), but sharing time was HARD. I don't know how you prepare kids for that though. It's just a weird adjustment to finally be in a "class" where you're supposed to sit still and listen to the teacher. I guess you have to hope that whoever is in charge of sharing time has the little ones in mind. Good luck ...... I know Asher will do great!
    posted by Blogger Beth at 11/15/2007 08:44:00 PM  

  • I'm a nursery teacher and have been for 4 years, so I've prepped several groups for Primary.
    We have the singing leader come in to nursery every single week all year. She works with them to help them know the songs most often sung in Primary as well as the fun stuff. So she'll have a mix of "Head Shoulder Knees and Toes" and "I am a Child of God"; "Do as I am Doing" and the birthday song. We sing the birthday song every single week in nursery even when no oneis having a birthday, because it is sung nearly every week in Primary.
    We don't stop giving snacks, mainly because we have a dozen kids and some years (like this year) only 2 will go up to Primary. But the Sunbeam teacher will do a snack the first few weeks and phase it out.
    Meeting the teacher in advance is really helpful, too. Sometimes it isn't practical. One year the current Sunbeam teacher quit at the end of the year and they couldn't get anyone to agree to take the class, so they just kept the kids in Nursery for SEVEN WEEKS until the 14th person extended the calling finally accepted. So frustrating since we'd been talking about Primary & had the kids all geared up to go!
    One year we had all the kids who were going up to Primary attend opening exercises for a few weeks leading up to the transition. I'd love to do that again, but our nursery is once again short staffed because people won't say yes, so I don't know if we'll have the manpower for that.
    I have to say the best thing parents can do is to NOT hover. Don't go peek in the door, they WILL See you and it WILL cause a tantrum. If you stay with them the first time, expect a fight to get them to stay with you every time. Just tell him you trust him and know he'll be just fine, and remind him you'll come get him when he's all done with primary.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 11/16/2007 07:31:00 AM  

  • Hey I relate to having a tiny sunbeam. My little girl Addie is a sunbeam and in maybe the 5th percentile and she is a fall birthday. I'm also the Sunbeam teacher. All of our Sunbeams are young and they have done amazingly well in our inner city primary.
    I think the best thing to do is to be relaxed and take his cues. There is no rule that a child has to be in their class for 2 hours. My younger brother didn't make it through primary until he was like 10 or something :) He's the president of his Sophomore class and amazingly cool for only just turning 16.
    I bring my sunbeams a snack and playdoh and loads of crafts usually. All the parents support this and feel it helps their kids enjoy Sunbeams. I have started fazing out the snack since they are all moving up this next year to CTR 4.
    posted by Blogger Amelia at 11/17/2007 06:07:00 PM  

  • Hi Happy Nanny!

    I have a question for you...you said your son Noe has an autism diagnosis. My son does as well. We are VERY fortunate that Casey was born on the first of January so he had a whole other to prepare for Primary.

    Are there things you did with Noe to help him through Primary? I don't know where he is on the spectrum, but I'm very worried about Casey in a big room full of kids. I was just called this week to be his Sunbeam Teacher, which will help, but advice from moms who know would help as well. If you have the time and read this ... even if it's a long time from now, will you please email me? I'd really appreciate it. it's alexis_magnusson@yahoo.com. Thanks!

    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 12/30/2007 02:34:00 PM  

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