Putting on a Primary Program is a HUGE task! Especially if you are new to your calling- trust me I can relate! When I first got called a few years ago it was in August, I was clueless to everything and had no idea that most primarys already had a date and possibly even a script for their programs. When I realized that I went into a full blown panic attack. Thank goodness for some kind-hearted soul who put their script online and I adapted that to our ward (which was really hard in itself since I didn’t even know the children yet!). Anyhow, time for me to pay it forward.
This is my third primary program, and I FINALLY feel like I am getting the hang of it. We sat down to write the script and I included a few things from the other scripts floating around out there (especially the opening from The Mormon Home which I thought was beautifully written). Here’s a few tips (some of them learned the very hard way) to help you have a successful and smooth rehearsal & program:
- Have at least one extra part written in for each class, a part that is not necessary to the flow of the script, but something that you can throw at a kid that showed up out of the blue, or an overly confident visitor that wants to participate… (we have had that happen! I can hardly get my kids to participate in OUR ward, I can’t imagine them wanting to go up in a ward they didn’t know! But hey, more power to those that do.)
- Have the sunbeams say their names, then they know they can at least say part of their part perfectly! (UPDATE: so I was wrong, my son actually got up and said “my name is Jane…” which was the name of the little girl that went before him. Yup. Probably the best part of the program).
- Have some prompts, parts where the children need to fill in the blank or answer a question. I would say about half of our program is made up of prompts, so that it adds some personalization & spunk! You can send the prompts home to parents (maybe you’ll have better luck than us getting them back) or have them fill them out with their teachers during sunday school and collect at the end.
- We like to have a narrator who introduces each month’s topic and scripture, I feel like it adds cohesion and helps it flow. Usually we pick a child who is about to graduate from Primary.
- We try our best to collect the talks from primary throughout the year so that come program time we can use their talks (in whole or in part) in the program.
- On program day have the children come early to sing prelude music. The truth is most of them wont make it and you will probably be left with a small group singing the prelude music. BUT, if you ask them to come EARLY then they will probably come ON TIME!! 🙂
- We like to have the children sit on the stage for the entire sacrament meeting. I have seen wards that wait until after the sacrament and then have all the children come to the stand. That can work too, I personally think its less disruptive to just have them all situated and up there from the get-go. This does require help from teachers though to get through the first portion of the meeting before the program starts. Just make your expectations to teachers clear.
- Print copies of the program AND THE SONGS and hand them out to all the teachers in folders. Tell them to sing along! And ask them to work with the kids in class to help them memorize their parts. The more they feel ownership over the program the more they will want to help ensure its success 🙂
Ok, ok…. enough jibber jabber, here is the script we are using (ya know, I made some changes before I passed it on to YOU), adapt it for you ward or just use bits and pieces… good luck!
Now the question is, how do we put the “PAR-TAY” into a primary program? My Mom told me something about raffle tickets and dollar store prizes to help get through rehearsals. I thought that was GENIUS! The rehearsals are so long and tedious for those little munchkins…much akin to torture after sitting through sacrament meeting. Head to the dollar store (of course) and pick yourself up raffle tickets (or these are really cute with a star on them) and an assortment of “prizes”. Arm each teacher with raffle tickets and make your expectations VERY clear to both teachers & children. I am going to explain that each child can earn up to 3 tickets per rehearsal.
- One ticket for good behavior. If you are having your rehearsal in the chapel remind them that they need to be in top-notch reverent mode.
- One ticket for memorizing their part, or making progress towards memorizing their part.
- And the last ticket for singing all the songs (or putting genuine effort into singing all the songs even if they forget some words).
I am going to challenge the teachers to not just give out 3 tickets willy-nilly and have the kids really earn each one. Then at the end of the rehearsal they can go into the primary room and trade their tickets for prizes.
I was going to put together an invitation for you to download (we like to hand out 2 invites to each child 2 weeks before the program and challenge them to invite their non member friends or family) but Sheena already did a fabulous job and I couldn’t imagine topping it. So head over there to Little LDS Ideas and you are all set for a great program. And remember, in the end all anyone cares about is seeing those cuties up on stage 😉 What are your tips for surviving the primary program? What is your favorite part of watching them?
For more primary ideas check out my free baptism preview printable handouts and my primary newsletter template. And if you are getting ready for the new year check out my sharing time assignment cards with the 2016 theme! Follow me on pinterest to keep up with all my primary ideas & free printables!
UPDATE: 2016 script now available here with even more tips 🙂
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