One of my classroom jobs this year is the R.O.C.K. assistant. If someone in our classroom is having a hard time, they are free to head over to the R.O.C.K. to spend some time with the Lord. The R.O.C.K. assistant is responsible for checking on and praying for anyone that goes to the R.O.C.K. for any reason. It is day 5 of school and we had our first visit to the R.O.C.K. It was such a special experience. One sweet girl had fallen down at recess and was just having a hard time acclimating back into the classroom when we came back inside. I asked her if she would like to relax and spend some time with the Lord in our R.O.C.K. area. She shook her head, “yes”. As soon as she did, my R.O.C.K. assistant said, “Hey! My job! Can I go check on her?” Wow! A six year old wants to go check on his classmate. “YES! Please do sir.” I watched as he headed over to her. He wasn’t quite sure what to do, but he knew he wanted to help. I leaned over and whispered in his ear, “It would be a great idea if you could pray for her. You can pray for her leg to feel better and for her heart to be cheered up.” He immediately bent down on the kneeler and did exactly that. He said, “Amen” and continued to stay there. I sat down to teach, but a few minutes later, I checked on the two of them. He had reached into our basket and taken out the “sad” R.O.C.K. card and was reading it to her! I just stood there for a second, amazed at what I was witnessing. Two six year olds, one upset and crying, and another, praying for her and reading God’s instructions for what to do when you feel sad. Did I mention these are SIX YEAR OLDS? After I regained my ability to communicate, I said, “Oh my word. You are doing such a special thing for your friend! Way to go little man. She needed some encouragement and you knew exactly how to handle it. You prayed with her and then read her God’s instructions. What a godly man you are!” He came back to the carpet and she stayed a few more minutes and then joined the rest of the class again.
This might seem like some small feat, but not for me. I am raising a son, a 5 year old. I am very aware that teaching young children to pray for one another isn’t the slightest bit simple or easy. To teach a 5 or 6 year old to simply THINK about someone else’s feelings is hard just by itself, but to have them intentionally ask to see their friend, and then kneel down before the King and pray for that friend’s needs… THAT is something huge! And today, I am thanking the Lord for what He is already doing in this classroom!
If you want to know more about the R.O.C.K., read below.
I took a job this year at a private Christian school…Finally! I am able to freely talk about Jesus in my classroom any time it hits me. Because of that, one of the first places I had set up in my room was the R.O.C.K. This R.O.C.K. is an area of the room that the kids can go to any time they miss their parents, miss a friend, have hurt feelings or just need to “get away” during the day to pray about something on their sweet, young minds. Six year olds are no different than adults…Many times they too have important things they need to sit and ponder.
The R.O.C.K. The acronym stands for “Resting on Christ the King.” For everything in the classroom, there is a prop. Literacy stations have magnetic letter tiles, alphabet mats, tactile letters. Math centers have cubes, counting bears, tens blocks, hundreds blocks. In science, we use water tables, sand tables, micrscopes and experiments. When it comes to behavior, how many props do we use? NONE! Why is that? If we know that children learn more efficiently and more effectively through the use of props, why don’t we have any to teach them about their behavior?
Some of the (if not THE) hardest behaviors to work on are our emotional responses when something doesn’t go our way. Any age, 0-100 years old, people struggle with this. You can walk into an infant’s room, a business office filled with 40-somethings, or a nursing home with the elderly and see people who do not know how to handle their emotional upset.
This is why we created this special place! The R.O.C.K. gives children a place to go and very specific instructions in how to handle their upset. More importantly, it gives them GOD’s biblical instructions for how to handle it. This gives them a place to escape inside their own classroom when they aren’t feeling themselves or when an emotion overwhelms them.
The R.O.C.K. set up:
- Location, location, location. You want to make sure your R.O.C.K. area is in a place where you can always see the child and the child can always see you. Yes, you want them to feel as if it is their refuge, but you want to make sure that you can still see them in their refuge.
- They need to have a specific spot to pray. I have a *kneeler in my area that I absolutely love. It is a child’s *kneeler and fits my first graders perfectly. If you are going to use something else, great! Just make sure the kids know that this is their prayer spot.
- It needs to have comfortable surroundings. Make sure it is SOFT. Have a few blankets there or pillows. You can see in my picture that I have a little rug near mine with two soft pillows in case the kids just need to rest/relax before/after praying.
- They need to have some instructions on how the R.O.C.K. area works. I use the *R.O.C.K. cards to give my kids very specific instructions on how to handle their upset. They have pictures for non-readers too! Make sure you give them time to role-play your expectations for them when they go to and from the R.O.C.K. area. They need to be trained.
Here is what my R.O.C.K. looks like:
At the end of the day, we want to train our kids to RUN to the Heavenly Rock when life is hard. As they begin to run to the R.O.C.K. in your classroom, you are training them to run to the Rock forever and this is ultimately the goal!
* Resources: If you want a kneeler or the R.O.C.K. cards, you can purchase them here: www.youaremytreasure.com.