Our nursery leader loves to have a song about the current week’s lesson to sing with the children after or during the lesson. When the Nursery children learn about Joseph Smith, I love to use the song “The Sacred Grove.” Because the melody in the Primary songbook is quite complicated, here is a simple melody that works well with Nursery children (and would work well in Primary also). Please get Priesthood approval to use this melody version of the song.
This song works best in Nursery if we use some manipulatives with it, …something that the children can touch and see. On page 91 of the Nursery manual are some paper finger puppets of Joseph Smith. I color these, cut them out, and cover them with clear packing tape for strength (the stronger the better because the children tend to explore them in ALL ways <grin>).
I also have made some simple trees out of green craft foam and tongue depressor sticks.
I give one of each of these to each child, saying their name as I pass them out. “Here is a tree for Carol, and one for Tim. Thank you for being so patient and staying on your carpet square, Susan. Here is one for Susan.” And I set it in front of her.
I start singing the song and move my tree and finger puppet up and down to the beat. I will use a lot of space: sometimes above my head, sometimes on the ground, and sometimes on my legs. At the words, “Joseph saw the Father…,” I wave my hands with the manipulatives across my body from side to side in a wide sweep. I return to different body placement location on the last two lines.
Moving the manipulative from place to place on the body helps the child to practice where his or her body in space (a huge skill for this age child). Continuing in that manner, when the song is over, I ask the children to place their tree on their cheek. Now on their elbow. Now on their toe. Now hide your tree and puppet behind your back. “Where did they go?”
“Here it is!” And we sing the song again, moving our manipulatives from place to place.
This age child does not really like to return the manipulative once the song is done. It has worked well for me when I say, “It’s time for the trees to go to sleep,” and motion for the children put the tree back in the bag. Another method is to tell the children that the trees want to get back in the bag with their brothers and sisters. The children’s sweet sense of compassion usually helps them to put the “brothers and sisters” back together.
The children are introduced to words that are bigger than their present vocabulary in this song. The interest and draw for the children is the simple melody and lively rhythm, combined with moving the manipulatives. I love the sweetness that comes into the room when we sing this song together.