Faith Development in Early Childhood

Early childhood students express their love for Jesus in songs, art, prayers, and worship. They make up their own prayers and are able to ask for forgiveness. They want to love and obey God. Teachers and other adults need to furnish them with frequent reminders of God’s love.


Some children this age are ready to predict what will happen next in a story. They can discuss what a story is about and relate it to their own lives. “Jesus loved the little children. He loves and blesses me too!” Dramatizing stories is an especially effective way to teach children this age. Some children feel comfortable being a main character in the story; others can be rocks or trees. They are capable of echo pantomiming the teacher’s words and actions. Dressing up for their part in the story adds to the fun.


Many children can listen to a Bible story and then draw a picture about it. They are still mastering their art skills, but they think about their drawing before they begin and plan what they want to include. Children like adding words to their pictures and use inventive spellings to tell a story. They also evaluate their work, sometimes becoming so disgusted with unacceptable work that they crumple it up and throw it away before anyone else sees it.


Singing is a pleasing activity for early childhood students. Songs are beginning to make sense to them, and they can talk about the truths that are found in songs. Children this age have a repertoire of memorized songs. They quickly learn new songs, especially those with repeated choruses. Their sense of rhythm is improving, as is their response to the tempo of a song. They enjoy making up their own songs and melodies.


Early childhood students express their love for Jesus and identify that He died on the cross. They use the names Jesus and God interchangeably. They know that wrongdoings are sins, and because of their cognitive and moral development, they believe that God loves good people and hates bad people. They recognize sin but, like many of us, they see it more readily in others than in themselves. They pray their own prayers, but more in imitation than felt need. The felt needs they pray about tend to be very concrete and self-centered: “Help me find my cat.”

Teach early child students about God's Word with Enduring Faith Bible Curriculum.

Preview Enduring Faith Bible Curriculum

Post adapted from Building Faith One Child at a Time, pages 121, 124–25 © 1997, 2016 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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