mission friends

Using Technology with Preschoolers

sharing screen time

The preschoolers we teach today are called digital natives because they are growing up using technology. They know which apps are their games or stories on mom or dad’s phone. They swipe a tablet to read a preschool book, and they turn on the audio to hear the book being read to them. Technology is part of their everyday lives. How do we incorporate the use of technology in our Mission Friends classes?

Can We Talk?

Can We Talk?

Four-year-old Ellie and I were watching a stink bug crawl up a window frame.

“Where do you suppose he’s going?” I asked.

She paused. Then she said, “Probably to find some food.”

“Probably so,” I agreed. “I wonder what he eats.”

“I don’t know,” she replied.

“Me, either.”

She brightened. “Why don’t you Google it?”

She looked around, then brought me my phone, and we did, indeed, find out what stink bugs eat.

It was one of those wonder moments. Have you noticed that whenever there is a real conversation with a preschooler, a wonder moment is often involved? Funny how that works.

Extending the Story: I Like to Go to Church

An activity related to a story book helps preschoolers make connections to learn more from the book. In helping preschoolers learn about your church, read the downloadable book I Like to Go to Church. Take the ideas below and extend the story for more learning about your church and missions.

Boldness to proclaim truth in the midst of persecution

Amazon rainbow

Decimation, hopelessness, and abuse. Three words that describe the indigenous in the Colombian Amazon,” shares Bronson Parker.* Diego, a 60-year-old Cocama man, grew up seeing the aftereffects of the rubber boom industry in which thousands of indigenous were enslaved. Diego “is a fisherman, a carpenter, and an artist. Now, he is a Christ follower and His messenger,” says Bronson. Discipling is what Bronson Parker enjoys most about his ministry in the Amazon.

Bronson, Anna,* their three daughters and son share the gospel through storytelling. “The people are without hope, and are living in the consequences of their sinful lives,” shares Bronson. His family and missionary friends strive to encourage one another in the work being done.

My Church and Missions

Church and missions

Our Mission Friends took turns holding the extra-large knitting needle with one hand and pulling the yarn around with their other hand. Mrs. Mary Ann showed them how to make a stitch. She also showed them the baby booties and small caps made by the knitting group at our church. They give the caps and booties to preemie babies at local hospitals. Mrs. Mary Ann told our Mission Friends that this is how our “knitting ladies” show God’s love to the families of the little babies.

As preschoolers grow in missions awareness, we want them to know how their own church tells others about Jesus and shows His love to others. The objective of WMU states this as “participate in the work of the church and denomination,” but for preschoolers, I think of it as “my church and missions.” Preschoolers need to know about the ways their church reaches out to others in Jesus’ name. They also need to know that their church works with other churches to send missionaries in North America and around the world.

Nice to Meet You

Nell Branum

My name is Nell Branum. I am one of your Preschool Team writers, and it is a joy! I love preschoolers (good thing, as I have 8 grandchildren!) and I love writing. But as 2018 picks up steam, a new opportunity has presented itself to me, and it has to do with your WMU Preschool Team.

Our beloved editor, Robin McCall, is making a shift in her job responsibilities at WMU. For the past 5 years, Robin has served as editor of Preschool Resources, leading the team that produces our helpful Mission Friends curriculum and products. Robin was a Mission Friends teacher long before she became an editor, and she has a true love for preschoolers and missions. She has done an amazing job. But the trouble with multi-talented people is that they can do many things! And God has led Robin to shift into helping our WorldCrafts and WMU customer engagement hubs to deepen their ministries. Robin, we thank you for your energy and commitment, your invaluable contributions to preschoolers, and your sweet spirit, and we are praying for you as you follow this new path.

How Do We Teach about Places So Far Away?

As we talked about the ministries of Ryan and Seané Rice in New Orleans this month, my little Kathryn said, “I went to New Orleans.” I could tell a spark of recognition in her expression. Then I was able to ask her what she saw there and what she did in New Orleans. This was unusual because my Mission Friends have usually never been to the missions areas we learn about in Mission Friends. How do we teach preschoolers about a place they have never been before?

Preschoolers are limited in their understanding of time and distance. To them, and hour’s drive to their grandmother’s house seems like a long distance. They do not fully understand a map because on the map another state or country is only a few inches away, and that doesn’t seem like very far. They cannot yet translate in their minds how many miles those few inches on the map represent. How do we teach about places so far away?

Extending the Story

Extend the story of I Can Do It! through activities related to the story. As you read the book with preschoolers, use these activity ideas with your Mission Friends® to continue learning about the concepts in the book.

Outreach—a way of life and who we are

Ryan and Seané Rice’s lives revolve around relationships with people. “Living in New Orleans as a church planter is all about building relationships with people. In fact, this is what our city is all about,” says Ryan. Though Ryan grew up loving VBS and Sunday School as a kid, when he got older, he stopped going and, even disliked the idea of church. He started to go his own way and, in his words, became his “own sort of god.” When he met his wife in college, Ryan began to slowly take the truth of the gospel seriously. Seané would invite him to church and, of course, he tagged along.

Doing Missions

gift mug

Preschoolers learn by doing, and missions is no different from anything else. Doing missions needs to be a part of preschoolers’ missions experiences. They need to be involved in showing concern for people and sharing God’s love with others. The WMU® objective states this as “mission action and witnessing,” but for preschoolers in Mission Friends®, we call it Helping Others activities. By doing Helping Others activities, preschoolers have experiences in showing God’s love and care to others. Through Helping Others activities, preschoolers see that others have needs and they can help to meet other people’s needs.

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