Easter is such an important and significant time in the life of anyone who follows Jesus. It’s when we make time in the midst of the busyness of life, to stop and remember the great things that Jesus has done for us. We reflect on his death on the cross in our place and his victory over death in the resurrection. However, for most of us, and especially for SRE teachers - it can easily sneak up on us.
Last year I wrote about how to use the Connect curriculum to create the best Easter assembly for your students. While assemblies are a great way to celebrate, not everyone gets the opportunity to have an Easter assembly, and I often get asked how to teach Easter well and make it special for students in the classroom.
Here are four suggestions for teaching Easter in SRE that I use in my own classes that will help connect students with the true message of the gospel.
Remember Easter is not a stand-alone lesson
The first semester of Connect C Cycle focuses on the kings of Israel. By the time we reach the Easter lesson, students will have learned about Israel’s need for a leader who will help them to live according to God’s rule and under his blessing. They will have read about Israel’s rejection of God as their true king and their desire for a human king. They will have seen the success and failure of some of the kings of Israel and heard God’s promise to send a king, who would be his son, to rule his people forever.
The Lower Primary Connect aim for lesson 10 is 'to help students to understand how Easter is about the fulfillment of God’s promises to David'. Connecting the Easter lesson to previous SRE lessons will help your students to remember what they’re learning and to understand what it means for Jesus to be the king that God promised.
Teach Easter in context
I’m a big fan of timelines. A few years ago, when I was studying Church History, creating a giant timeline was the only way I could remember how different historical people and events related to one another. In order to understand the significance of each person or event I needed to know what came before and after them.
The same is true when we are learning the Bible. Lesson 9 of Connect focuses on events that are recorded in the books of 1 & 2 Kings. Lesson 10 focuses on events recorded in the book of Matthew. These events happened 900 years apart, so using timelines will help your students to navigate where we are in the story and how these events relate to one another.
Why not try using these poster timelines, and Bible event cards, or you could create your own. Using these timelines now will also benefit you and your students as Connect returns to the story of the kings of Israel in term 2.
Connect Easter to their lives
John 3:16 might be one of the most famous Bible verses of all time, yet sometimes when words become familiar they can begin to lose their meaning. Jesus’ death is the fulfillment of these words, that God loved the people of the world so much that he sent his Son, the true king, to make a way for people to live. This great promise isn’t just made to people in the past, but a promise for you and me, and every one of our students.
Easter is an opportunity to remind our students that Jesus’ death and resurrection the greatest act of kingship the world has ever seen - and it was done for us. The gospel calls us to live in response to this act of kingship and to follow the king. These discussions are part of the ‘Connections’ time in your lesson, so make sure you have time for this in your class. These connections matter more than craft or games so ensure that your plan and prepare to make this a feature of your 30 minutes.
Make Easter memorable
Easter is a perfect time to give students something that will help them remember the lesson and perhaps share what they’ve learned with family and friends. Creating a gift that students can take home will help remind them of what they’ve learned. You could use visual aids from the lesson, such as a small gift bag or plastic egg that contains a small crown, a cross, and the memory verse. You could give a card to each student, or use your lesson as an opportunity to share what it means to you to follow Jesus.
What else could you do to make your Easter lesson memorable? Over the next week why not talk to another SRE teacher and share ideas for your lessons.