A Home of Learning: Come, Follow Me with Toddlers Patterned After Preschool

by | Feb. 15, 2020

The following article is brought to you by Gospel Day by Day, a community designed to help parents lead home-centered gospel learning. You can find Gospel Day by Day on Instagram here.

You may never have considered yourself to be an educator, but it turns out we’ve all been called to teach. We are each our children’s most important teachers of eternal truth![1]

If we are the teachers, then the Come, Follow Me resource is our curriculum. But how can we create “a home of learning,”[2] where our toddler ‘students’ are set up for classroom success?

Here are 5 principles that govern early-childhood classrooms which can help us as we turn our homes into “[centers] of gospel learning.”[3]

1. Designate Learning Spaces

A classroom may have a reading rug, an art space, or a music corner. These designated spaces help establish expectations and send environmental cues to children about what’s next on the docket. Your home gospel-learning space can make room for the busy, explorative, fun type of learning that encourages toddlers to thrive.

Try This:

—Designate a place to do Come, Follow Me with your toddler regularly, like one corner of the couch, or a kid-sized table.

—As a family, consider how you can “transform [your] home into a sanctuary of faith,”[4] as President Nelson encouraged.

2. Encompass cross-curriculum teaching

Mixing multiple disciplines together is a teaching tactic that sparks some of the deepest, most meaningful learning. That’s because new applications and stronger connections are built when two subjects are overlapped in an explorative, memorable way.

As teachers of eternal truths in our homes, we can find tons of ways to connect toddler-geared learning with principles of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. And the more we bundle heavenly and earthly things in Christ, the more our kiddos will be able to understand the gospel and apply it to their personal problems and pursuits.[5]

Try This:

—Think of things you routinely teach your toddler—like colors, shapes, or saying ‘please’—and find connections in the scriptures to support these ideas.

—Consider principles taught in scripture—like forgiveness, prophets, or obedience—and find practical applications to their daily life.

3. Learn together with peers

Kiddos in a classroom benefit from learning with their friends. In a group, toddlers are often more interested in learning, are more eager to participate, and tend to stay engaged in the activity longer than they would have alone.

And what’s more is that we can benefit from gathering with other gospel-teaching parents. Fresh ideas and new perspectives flow as we join in a mutual mission to “preach Christ crucified”[6] to our families.

Try This:

—Make a goal to increase your child’s sense of Christian community. Independent of religion, you could invite a few friends over for a Come, Follow Me play date, or set up a weekly rotation for teaching among several different families.

—Offer to watch another family’s kiddo(s) and plan for your Come, Follow Me to overlap. Not only will you benefit from serving, but the children will benefit from learning together.

4. Create a regular, predictable routine

A consistent schedule—no matter how strict or loose—can establish expectations and help you be consistent in living true to your priorities. Leveraging this classroom principle in the home can help us increase our toddlers’ cooperation during Come, Follow Me.

Try This:

—Pair your session of Come, Follow Me with another a regular daily routine when conditions are favorable for success, like after breakfast or during bath time.

—Try adding a simple, cheerful ritual (like sharing a glass of chocolate milk) to your daily scripture study together.

5. Give responsibility

Early childhood classrooms may have a line leader, a door holder, or a paper passer. Little ones love jobs, and they feel important and involved when we help them succeed in taking responsibility.

Even at their young age, we can help toddlers begin a pattern of responsibility for their own spiritual journey, no matter how small the charge is.

Try This:

 —Think of a few small ways your toddler can help you prepare for your Come, Follow Me time together. They could help gather materials or help you choose between two ideas for an activity.

—Give your toddler a job to help the whole family come together in spiritual unity. Maybe they could choose who says the family prayer or pass out scriptures to everyone.

Go & Do

Even though the arenas of preschool and home are (and should be) different, parents—especially with toddler-age kiddos—can benefit from applying classroom principles in their home.

The effects of our gospel teaching will be amplified and we’ll see great success with the Come, Follow Me resource, even if kindergarten is still a few years away.

[1] Teaching in the Savior’s Way, p. 25

[2] Doctrine & Covenants 88:119

[3] Becoming Exemplary Latter-day Saints, President Russel M. Nelson, October 2018 General Conference

[4] Becoming Exemplary Latter-day Saints, October 2018 General Conference

[5] Ephesians 1:10

[6] 1 Corinthians 1:23

Kate Matthews is passionate about living out a full and abundant life in Christ, from the comfort of her own home. Kate spreads the gospel message to women as the creator of @milkandhoney.market, a by-mothers-for-mothers community that ministers to the modern homemaker. A happy homemaker herself, Kate is the mother to two on Earth and one in Heaven. Kate is a hobby weightlifter, a sunshine lover, a painter, and a sourdough baker.

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