A Trip to the Kindergarten by Barbara England

February 2022

“Are you sleeping

Are you sleeping brother John

Brother John…”

I sang this song as a child; it’s one of the oldest songs I remember singing at school. One morning in January, as my husband and I wandered up to the gates of the kindergarten in Cotonou, Benin on the campus of the Bible Training Center, I heard this familiar song.

I recognized the tune and heard the children singing in French “Are you sleeping?…” The class is housed in the recently completed Kindergarten and has one teacher with 15 children between the ages of 2 and 5. Their teacher comes early to get everything set up, and we arrived as they began their morning routine. Earlier that week, I had watched as the children walked sometimes hand-in-hand with their little brother down the dirt path that led to the gate. There is an innocence and amazing curiosity in the eyes and minds of children. And while we were miles away from the elementary school in our small town in Tennessee, I realized some things are the same. The children who enter schools and Bible classes here and in Africa are like sponges who are going to be influenced by every moment of their day at school. The teacher took a book about creation and read to them in French the story of creation — day 1, day 2 and so on. I watched them as they listened to her tell them the story. When she finished, I loved the eager, enthusiastic competition between the children to be the first to raise their hands and answer the teacher’s questions. I’ve been in education over 45 years, worked in preschools, taught and observed some outstanding teachers in elementary schools, junior highs, high schools, universities, bible classes in the United States, vacation Bible schools in Haiti and the U.S., and I never cease to be amazed at the look of complete wonder and amazement in their eyes as they listened to the most amazing story of how our God created them. In Matthew,

Jesus reminds us to become as little children. It was a wonderful experience to see and hear the Bible taught to these young children at the BTC kindergarten. In Matthew 18:3, Jesus reminds us, “Verily I say unto you, except ye turn and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven.”