Teaching in the Interest Areas


Do you remember the show where a design team did makeovers of entire houses? Wouldn’t it be dreamy if there was a show for Extreme Mission Friends Classroom Makeovers? You would have to send a video showing your current Mission Friends classroom, and an early childhood design team would come to re-make it into an awesome space. They would set up all the interest areas in a way that preschoolers thrive in learning about missions. Imagine your tears of joy at the big reveal at the end of the show. All you could repeat saying is, “Wow!”

We may not have a design team to send to each classroom, but we do have some tips for setting up the interest areas. Take a good look at the set-up of your room. You might even draw a diagram of your classroom and use that to look at the layout of interest areas. Use these tips in seeing ways that you might arrange your interest areas.


Classroom Layout

These are some general pointers for placing interest areas in the classroom:

  • Group quiet interest areas together, away from louder interest areas. In this way, preschoolers playing in Blocks or Homeliving do not disturb a preschooler in Books.

  • Place the Art area near a sink if possible, as a water source for messy activities.

  • Consider placing the Nature area near a window.

  • Use shelves as dividers between interest areas. This keeps all the areas from being up against the walls and the traffic pattern having a circle effect.

  • Place Homeliving near the door or where it can be seen from the door. This helps to make an easier transition between home and church when preschoolers arrive.

  • Think about the interest areas in which preschoolers will need a table, such as Puzzles or Art. A small table might work in Homeliving.

  • Include a space in the classroom for Group Time.

  • Make sure you can see all preschoolers in the classroom at all times.

  • For a small classroom, set up three or four interest areas that are permanent, such as Blocks and Homeliving. Rotate other interest areas used in Mission Friends sessions, such as puzzles at a table one session and then nature items at the table for the next session.


Individual Interest Areas

Look at the way each interest area is set up:

  • Keep the interest areas simple. Avoid clutter.

  • Place materials where preschoolers can reach them to use and clean up.

  • Place new materials and props in interest areas or rotate materials in order to keep preschoolers’ attention. Preschoolers are attracted to something new in the room.

  • Provide art supplies for a particular activity in Art, and also keep supplies available to be used at any time, such as paper, crayons, and markers.

  • Place Blocks on a solid surface if possible, rather than a rug or carpet. The blocks will be less likely to fall over as preschoolers build structures.


Use the interest areas for missions learning in hands-on ways. Through activities in the interest areas, preschoolers will learn about the missions areas, missionaries, and Bible thoughts related to the units. That’s the real “Wow!” that we get to say as we lead preschoolers to learn about missions.

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