Never too young: Local author writes Bible study for babies

Published 10:39 pm Saturday, April 28, 2018

By SABRINA SIMMS

NATCHEZ — A local Sunday school director recently became the author of a Bible Studies for Life curriculum through LifeWay, one of the leading sellers of Christian resources in churches worldwide.

Suzanne Burnett and her husband Jason moved to Natchez from New Orleans last October.

Suzanne Burnett served as the pre-school summer camp director while she was a student at the New Orleans Baptist Seminary and is now the preschool minister at First Baptist Church in Natchez.

“I’ve been writing since college,” Burnett said. “I’ve always loved preschool curriculums. You get to do the most fun stuff. That’s where all the hands-on activities are and that’s how I learn — by doing.”

Burnett had to apply her hands-on experience with younger children to create a Bible study curriculum for babies.

“This is actually my first time to get to do this, and I’m really excited,” Burnett said.

“A lot of people think, Oh, babies can’t learn, but I believe it’s their foundation — when they’re learning to develop trust. That’s why it’s so important for us to teach them the word of God and for their teachers to love them and make them feel safe when they come to church.”

Burnett said she loves working with children, but writing for infants in their early stages of development is difficult.

“Writing for babies can be a little challenging,” Burnett said. “There are a lot of visuals, and I got to write some books to go along with it. The lessons are very interactive.”

She said the lessons require a lot of talking from the teachers — because most babies don’t really hold up their side of the conversation. The lesson plan also includes a variety of infant-friendly activities.

Burnett created a way to teach the story about a good Samaritan who rescued an injured man on the side of a road. The lesson involves the babies by having them stick fake bandages to paper.

In another lesson, pictures can be taped to the bottom of muffin tins with a ball covering them for babies to pick up and discover what is underneath.

Burnett said the recently published curriculum is her first of four units in the Bible Studies For Life series for babies. She is currently writing the second unit that will be available in spring 2019.

She said the lessons could be used in different church settings, whether for summer Bible studies or for regular Sunday lessons.

“This curriculum is flexible,” Burnett said. “You can use it on a Sunday morning with your babies or on a Wednesday night.”

The lesson packet provides in-hand resources, colorfully illustrated books and a CD ROM that has teacher tips and other helpful materials to aid both veteran and first-time Sunday school instructors.

Burnett said LifeWay workers chose the Bible stories she used in the curriculum. It was up to her to find creative ways to teach the lessons to babies.

She said a lot of the lessons are about the apostle Paul, a citizen of Rome, who is well known for evangelizing Christianity.

“That was a little challenging — coming up with activities for babies about Paul,” Burnett said. “I would pray, ‘God, please give me just a smidgen of your creativity.’”

Burnett said she had to rely on her faith to write the series.

“If you look outside … God created all of that, so if he could give me even just a little piece of that creativity I knew it would be awesome.”

Burnett said she prayerfully searched for inspiration from friends and on Pinterest to create a curriculum that is easy to use and friendly to children and teachers everywhere.

“The cool thing about this particular curriculum is that it is not only used here in the United States,” Burnett said. “It’s used all over the world.”