Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I Know My Savior Lives - Planning for 2015

Okay, I've mentioned before that I'm a planner and I meant it (just in case you weren't sure).  Plans make me happy. 

I like to sit down as a primary presidency and talk about what we want to do for the next year starting in October or November of the previous year (right about now).  We don't plan out every detail of every item, but we do try to at least get a general idea of our plans in several different areas.

What areas?  Well, I'm glad you asked.

We talk and pray about what about the direction we want to take the annual theme, the one our primary needs to focus on and then we try to put that focus into everything we do throughout the year.  Things like: our monthly focuses, bulletin board, a presidency specific focus, spotlights, birthday gifts, baptism gifts, activities, and a Christmas gift.

I know, some of you are shaking your heads at me and asking why in the world I would need to plan a Christmas gift FOR NEXT YEAR!  We haven't even gotten to this year's Christmas yet.  This is one of those things that we mostly toss around ideas about, that way we have more time to "stumble across" something that fits and works great for our primary.  I've seen over and over how planning allows us to be more flexible.  Yup.

We don't have ideas for all of it yet and some of the ideas are a little hazier than others, but I thought I'd share with you what we have so far.  I'll keep you in the loop as we change our minds and share anything I make up in case some of you decide to walk a similar path.

First, we are going to focus on the Savior.  I know, no big surprise there. 

Monthly Focus
Each month we are going to learn about one of Jesus names.  He has a ton of them and each one says something different about the life He lived and the example He set for us.  We'll pick one that goes along with that month's theme from the 2015 Sharing Time Outline

Some of my favorites for next year are: I AM, Savior, Redeemer, Chosen, The Truth, Mediator, The Rock, Revealer, Comforter, Good Shepherd, Bread of Life, Well Beloved, The Way, Living Water, The Rock, Messiah, Holy Child, and Word of God. 

We will study His life, learn what the name teaches us, and apply it in our own lives so we can daily follow Him.  One way we're going to do this is by sending home a simple FHE each month where the children can learn and be challenged to find a way to act with their families.

1/2/2015: I've finished the FHE's for January through June and decided to do a Sunday outline also that details definitions, scriptures and quotes to talk about each week.
Bulletin Board
We'll take that monthly focus and turn it into a bulletin board.  In the center of our board will be a large picture of Jesus.  I'm not sure which one we're going to use, but I like the idea of it being just Him, no background or scenery (any ideas?).  Each month we'll add the name we're learning about somewhere around His picture.

We'll also have monthly posters with the theme and scripture on them to help us as we talk about them each week throughout the month.

12-28-2014: You can check out my posters on this post!

In previous years we tailored the spotlight around that years theme so we could use the forms to easily personalize the primary program.  This year we're thinking we might do something a little different. 

We're thinking about spotlighting people either on their birthday or sometime during their birth month so we aren't done with spotlights half way through the year. 

We are also thinking about doing away with the spotlight forms and having the kids come up and draw a card or two from a box like this one by Anjannete Ludwig.  In the box are questions having to do with the Savior, their testimonies of Him and how they are following in His footsteps.

12/30/14: We went with the box, you can read about it and download your very own in this post!

After they're spotlighted, we'll give them a flower made of their picture surrounded by footprint petals to plant in the front of the room in a planter (this is where I got the idea).  I'm not sure yet what form that planter will take, but I'm hoping to find something I can re-purpose inexpensively.

Birthday Gift
As we're talking both about following Jesus and planting his teachings, we'll give the children a seed packet full of jelly beans for their birthday.  Simple and inexpensive, two of my favorites.

12/30/2014: I've finished the birthday seed packets, you can check them out here!

Baptism Gift
Every year we give pillowcases for the baptism gift.  I like that it's simple and practical, I'm not much for nick knacks.  We always adapt the pillow case to go with the yearly theme, but haven't yet decided what to do for next years (aka, if you have an idea I'd LOVE to hear it). 

We have used stencils to cut the letters CTR out of a pillow case and sown in contrasting fabrics, found theme fabric to sew over part of a plain white pillowcase and had the theme embroidered onto a pillowcase.  All in separate years of course.

The manual does not state that we need to do activities, but I think they're important.  We only plan two a year, but they give us a chance to visit children we don't get to see and invite them out to join us in a less church-ey type setting.

Both activities will be themed around walking as Jesus walked.  In one we'll integrate the different names and do stations where we can do activities to learn about His life and how we can live as He did in our every day lives. 

I read an article recently that talked about how we perceive the iron rod and gave another take on it.  One that had never occurred to me and that I can't stop thinking about it.  In fact, as I read the article, I knew I had to use it in one of our primary activities this year.  In church we sing about how the iron rod is the word of God.  Did you know that Word of God is one of Jesus names?  While I may read or been told that, I've never connected it to the iron rod.  The song, "The Iron Rod," is literally telling us to cling to our Savior, to follow Him, to walk as he walked.

Another idea that goes right along with walking as Jesus did is to serve others.  It's just about impossible to do a big station-ey activity and also, take the children out of the building to serve others, so this would be a second activity. 

A few years ago we had the kids decorate cookies and make cards for some widows in our ward.  Unfortunately, only the children of the presidency got the opportunity to take them around.  I want every child to have the chance to make someones day, to feel the glow and love of our Heavenly Father as they serve someone else, so our second activity will focus on that.

Well, that's it so far.  Do you have any plans?  Ideas?  I'd sure love to hear them!!



  1. Leah, I loved your ideas. I've translated your post to Portuguese and shared it at Hugs from Brazil

  2. Thank you! Fantastic ideas, as always!

  3. For the Baptism gift our primary gives the children a towel with CTR embroidered on it that way they can use it for their baptism. Thanks for sharing your ideas their great!

  4. help! I'm not seeing a printable planning calendar for 2015, for Primary Choristers... do you have one or have you seen one? thanks!

  5. I am looking for the suggested FHE lessons that go along with the monthly themes. Any ideas??

    1. I am making some very simple FHEs that go along with the names of Jesus we've chosen to study throughout 2015, but I don't have them done just yet. Sugardoodle dot net usually posts FHE lessons for each week that go along with the Sharing Time Outline topics. I haven't looked to see if they have for this year (I often have problems with the new website being slow, or maybe it's my computer).

  6. Thank you so much for sharing. This really helps me! :-)


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