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Writing a Successful Primary Program: 10 Easy Steps

"The annual children's sacrament meeting presentation gives children an opportunity to share the principles they are learning in Primary with their parents and other ward members. This presentation is given in the fourth quarter of the year. The Primary presidency and music leader(s) plan and prepare it under the direction of the bishop. The presentation follows the administration of the sacrament and should fill the remainder of the sacrament meeting time. All Primary children ages 3 through 11 participate.

Primary Handbook of Instructions, page 237
 
Writing a Primary Sacrament Meeting Presentation can be a little overwhelming especially if you've never done it before. Below are ten steps for preparing a successful Primary program. Also included are copies of previous programs for 1998 and 1999.
 
Read the Instructions and the outline for the year's Sacrament Meeting Presentation. 
  • I Will Make and Keep My Baptismal Covenant 

Select the songs which will be included in the presentation so the music leader knows at the beginning of the year what songs the children will need to know. Also time the songs, adding one minute, so that you will have an idea of how much time you have left for the scripted part of the program. 
  • When Jesus Christ Was Baptized (p. 102, 1:24) 
  • I Like My Birthdays (p. 104, :57)
  • The Church of Jesus Christ (p. 77, :49)
  • Seek the Lord Early (p. 108, 1:15)
  • The Still Small Voice (p. 106, 1:19)
  • Let the Holy Spirit Guide (Hymns 143)
  • The Sacrament (p. 72, 1:28)
  • I Will Be Valiant (p. 162, :39)

Prepare an outline of your presentation using the suggested topics from the outline published in the program. 
Research all the references in the outline, as well as other approved materials, for a variety of ways to develop each topic. Approved resources would include the Friend, Family Home Evening Manual, Primary manuals, etc. 
  1. 3 Nephi 11:33
  2. D&C 68:27
  3. Mosiah 5:7
  4. D&C 20:77,79
  5. 3 Nephi 18:7
  6. 2 Nephi 32:5
  7. Luke 22:19
  8. "My Gospel Standards"
  9. Psalm 119:105
  10. Matthew 5:16 
  11. 1 Timothy 4:12
  12. D&C 14:7
Determine how best to present each topic. Some appropriate methods might include such things as choral reading, scriptures, stories, panel discussion, group recitation, personal testimonies, etc. Be sure to present your ideas to your Bishop for approval. Sometimes it is helpful to review previous Sacrament Programs. Here are a few you can peek at:

Determine how many children will need parts in the program and designate topics to appropriate age groups or children. Obviously you won't want to give a younger child a long reading part. You may want to assign some parts to entire classes or groups of children (i.e. reciting an article of faith). 


Submit final draft to Bishop for approval. As soon as the program is approved you will want to give each child their part. The sooner this happens the better. You will also want to give a copy of the program to all primary teachers, music leaders, and presidency. 


Rehearse! The children should have the opportunity to rehearse the program at least two times before the actual presentation. It's best if they are able to practice in the chapel so that seating can be arranged accordingly. Be sure to seat children so they all have a good view of the music leader. If a specific class needs more individual help, ask the teacher if a member of the presidency can come in and work with them for 3-5 minutes during class time. 


Present the program! Children should arrive approximately 20 minutes early on the day of the program so they can be seated on time. Encourage children to use the restroom and get drinks before Sacrament Meeting begins. Be sure to move any items from the pulpit/stand that prevent the children from seeing and being seen. Other tips include:
  • Remind teachers to remain seated when the children stand to sing so they do not block the view of the children.
  • Have a member of presidency sit behind the pulpit to direct the speaking parts and help any children that might need it. She can also assist with a step stool, adjust the height of the podium, and raise or lower the microphone as needed.
  • If possible, ask your Bishop to hold a prayer meeting on the stand with the children before the meeting begins.
  • Move children up in advance of parts to keep the program moving. 
  • Prelude music helps invite the spirit and will calm the children before the meeting begins.
  • Remember these are children. You are presenting a sacrament meeting not a major production. Don't panic if everything doesn't go perfectly. Smile!
  • When the meeting is over arrange for children to leave the stand orderly before the adults leave. Excuse the children by rows and have them gather in the Primary room.

Celebrate! Phew! It's all over! Let the children know how much you love them and plan to do a little something special. This could be inviting a guest speaker do sharing time, watching an approved video, playing their favorite game, or handing out special rewards such as "You did GREAT!" stickers. Share you testimony with the children. Take a deep breathe and get ready for next year! 
 

 
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