How to Teach Preschoolers About the Beatitudes
26 SEP 2017
The Beatitudes include the teachings of Jesus Christ given in the Sermon on the Mount, a collection of moral teachings found in the New Testament. More specifically, the Beatitudes is a list of blessings that God bestows on His people. They read like poetry but can be hard to decipher in contemporary language — we usually don't say 'pure in heart' or 'poor in spirit'. With simplicity and a little creativity — and a thesaurus — you can help your child grasp the concept of the Beatitudes.
Read the Beatitudes from a modern translation of the Bible than explain what you have read in simple terms. For example, explain that a peacemaker tries to get along with everybody. Tell him that to be 'pure in heart' means not telling lies or hurting people. These explanations do not have the poetic flow of the Beatitudes in their original form, but they will be simple to comprehend. When your child is able to read for himself, the meaning of these concepts will not be lost in the language.
Use hands-on activities to teach preschoolers about the Beatitudes. Preschoolers enjoy crafts, especially when they get to paint, cut or glue. Help your child make a Beatitude Book using coloring sheets that depict each teaching. Consider using your child's original drawings. Print a copy of the Beatitudes or write a Beatitude poem, laminate it and place in a frame. Give your child some old magazines and let him find pictures that illustrate each Beatitude. He can cut them out, glue to a poster board and make a collage.
Role play to demonstrate what each Beatitude means. This activity works best if there are other children, but you and your child can be dramatic together. Have the children pretend to quarrel over sharing toys. Then, intervene to explain the Beatitude, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God." Explain that God wants all people to work out their differences and treat each other with respect. You could also have your child pretend to be upset because he has done something wrong like cheat at a game or steal from a friend. Tell him that God wants him to be sad about his behavior and ask for forgiveness. This will explain the meaning of the second Beatitude, "Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted."