How to… deal with the knowledgeable child

Tirzah L Jones

Not many of us run a youth group or Sunday school with just non-Christian children or children all with the same ability. How do we deal with the child who has an amazing Bible knowledge, is enthusiastic and just bursting to tell you the story before you have started?

The skill of nurturing and encouraging these children is every bit as challenging as meeting the needs of students with developmental delays or with physical disabilities and learning disabilities.

Here are just a few thoughts on how to run a group where everyone is included and no-one feels left out.

  1. Firstly, it is always good to operate a hands-up system, this way you can make sure everyone gets a fair chance at answering questions.
  2. Vary the level of your questions making sure everyone has one they can answer depending on their Bible Knowledge.
  3. When a ‘knowledgeable child’ is answering a question, don’t let them go too far – often they will try and tell you the whole story.
  4. When a ‘less knowledgeable child’ answers a question encourage them with lots of praise.
  5. Try and tell your Bible stories in different ways – especially the better known ones, making sure each child can learn something from it. – Try and include something a bit less known.
  6. Don’t assume that because the child knows the story, they know how it applies to their own lives. – sometimes it is easy to dismiss them as not needing to know any more.
  7. Be discerning – Is the child showing off or asking a genuine question? – it may be better to use one-to-one time to answer any difficult questions, otherwise you may lose the rest of the group.
  8. Remember the teacher is in charge – classroom management is essential.