Teaching about covenants during Primary lessons

A Primary teacher shares how she uses ‘Come, Follow Me’ resources to teach and learn from children about the covenant path

When Erika Paulsen and her husband, Keith, in the Centerville Utah 20th Ward meet on Sundays with their Primary class — who range from 6 to 8 years old — the Paulsens are not only teaching the children, but also learning from them.

“We always pay attention to the kids’ questions to know what they have on their mind, what is concerning them and what they want to learn about,” Erika Paulsen said.

Paulsen said on her mission in Korea and now in her calling as a Primary teacher, she has seen children learn about the gospel and then teach their family members and bring them to Church.

“You wonder if an 8-year-old can be converted, and the answer is absolutely,” she said. “They can feel the Spirit, and that warmth that will last for the rest of their lives and make them want to bring their family and friends in.”

New “Come, Follow Me” resources this year are helping the Paulsens prepare their Primary class for baptism — and to teach them about what happens after baptism.

Preparing Children for a Lifetime on God’s Covenant Path” is a series of learning activities that can be found in the appendix of the “Come, Follow Me — For Primary” New Testament 2023 manual. 

The lessons can be used on fifth Sundays — like one during this month — but also can be incorporated into Primary lessons throughout the year.

“This Appendix B, ‘Preparing Children for a Lifetime on God’s Covenant Path,’ is perfect,” Paulsen said. “It’s just like the missionary discussions. It’s the things put simply that they need to know to get ready for baptism and to have conversion. I think it has worked really well.”

Parents also have access to a series of discussion guides for talking about covenants in normal and natural ways. “Preparing Your Children for a Lifetime on God’s Covenant Path” can be found in the appendix of the “Come, Follow Me — For Individuals and Families” New Testament 2023 manual. 

A covenant path activity

One of the more successful and well-received activities the Paulsens have done is a physical representation of the covenant path for their class. 

They laid out a path with masking tape on the floor of the Primary room and set up tables or stations along the way for the children to learn about covenants made at baptism and what happens next.

A girl stands in a baptismal font with her father before her baptism. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Beginning in the hallway, the Paulsens gave their class members a ticket with the promises on it that they would be making at baptism — namely, “to take Jesus Christ’s name upon us, to serve Him and to keep His commandments.” 

With that ticket, the children then entered the Primary room. “We stressed that baptism is the beginning,” Paulsen said.

Then they took the children along the path to each station. One table had a wrapped gift, where they talked about the gift of the Holy Ghost. Another table had a badge with a picture of Jesus Christ.

“We talked about taking upon us His name. Around the badge it said, ‘I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ,’” Paulsen said.

Another table was draped with a white tablecloth representing the sacrament, where baptismal covenants are renewed.

Paulsen said Gospel Art pictures in the room showed people living the gospel by ministering and helping others. “We explained to the children what their responsibilities will be after they come through this path and what will be expected of them.”

Women minister to each other in a home.
Women minister to each other in a home. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Another station focused on the priesthood power and how it is used.  Then they moved to an area with a picture of a temple.  “We explained that everybody needs those ordinances to return to Heavenly Father, and that when they are old enough, they can be baptized for other people on the other side.”

Paulsen explained to the children that the goal of the covenant path is to return back to Heavenly Father. Her favorite part was when the children saw their parents at the end of the path at the door to the room. 

“That completes it — the family being reunited and being together at the end of this path is our goal,” she said.

Teaching about covenants

When Primary General President Susan H. Porter spoke about the new resources with the Church News in November 2022, she said, “Our hope is that with the help of parents and Primary teachers, children will come to understand and want to live the covenants they make with their Heavenly Father when they are baptized — and look forward to walking the covenant path with the Savior throughout their lives.”

Preparing Children for a Lifetime on God’s Covenant Path” for Primary teachers includes sections on the following topics:

  • Principles and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • Baptism.
  • Confirmation.
  • The sacrament.
  • Priesthood power, authority and keys.
  • The temple and the plan of happiness.

President Porter said, “This is a wonderful opportunity for Primary teachers to choose from the material what would be most appropriate for their age group or what their class is preparing for.”

As the Paulsens teach about covenants, they are finding that the children learn quickly and remember a lot. 

The teachers often speak in class about what the children have learned in their home that week as well, and invite the children’s parents to come to class and share their testimonies or stories.

“It’s a different way of teaching; teaching these children and having them teach you,” Paulsen said. “It’s a lot more listening, and you have to be sensitive to what the kids know already and what they want to hear. It’s about actual gospel teaching.”

A Primary teacher teaches a class.
A Primary teacher teaches a class. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
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