Preschool Blog

Give Them Jesus

In choir practice we rehearsed the song that we will sing this Sunday, the traditional hymn “Give Me Jesus.” As we practiced this song, I thought of how appropriate it is to sing this song in the month that we focus on the Christian concept area Jesus in Mission Friends. In Philippians 2:9, Paul says that Jesus is “the name that is above every name.” We have the privilege and joy of sharing the name of Jesus with our Mission Friends®, and helping them know our Jesus.

To help you focus on the Christian concept area Jesus:

Summer Fun

The middle of summer is here, and your Mission Friends group might need a little summer fun! Summer may be a little more easy-going in Mission Friends as some families are out on vacation, it stays light later, and things may not be as rushed. Here are some ideas for adding some fun to your Mission Friends sessions in the summer.

Others in Our World

As we teach preschoolers about the missions area of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this month in Mission Friends®, we are also focusing on the Christian concept area World. This is a broad and wide concept area that is not always easy to convey to preschoolers. As I think about the concept area World, I like to remember the concept area as “Others in Our World.”

For many years we used the Christian concept area Others. That concept area was changed into the two concept areas of Community and World. When this change was made, at WMU® we generally thought of Community as encompassing other people who live near me. The Christian concept area World includes other people who live far away. We want preschoolers to learn that God loves people around the world, and missionaries tell others in the world about Jesus and His love.

This month as we focus on World as a concept area, the writers of the activities and stories in Mission Friends Leader lead us to focus on the following aspects each week:

Session 1: God loves people of different cultures all over the world.

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The Greatest of These Is Love

Last week, Joye Smith and I attended a conference titled “Helping Families Heal.” The presenter, Heather T. Forbes, LCSW, prescribes a unique approach to helping children heal from traumatic experiences. Forbes said that truly helping a child is not about fixing behavior. Rather than focusing on logic and consequences, she recommends seeking understanding and connecting with children to help them regulate their own behavior.

This has great implications for teachers of all preschoolers. When you are dealing with discipline issues in your classroom, instead of using time outs or trying to use logic, try these practical tips for helping preschoolers improve their ability to self-regulate their behavior:

Why Preschoolers Need Repetition

Another wonderful question has come our way: I see repetition in Mission Friends materials. Why do you repeat activities?

While adults crave variety, preschoolers thrive on repetition. In doing things over and over again, preschoolers develop and master new skills and construct new understandings of their world. Think of how people develop the ability to play a musical instrument or master a sport. It takes repetition and practice. As preschoolers repeat and practice a variety of skills, they build their proficiency in those skills, which in turn leads to greater self-confidence.

In addition to helping preschoolers master new skills, repetition helps them predict what is going to happen next. In books with repetitive text, preschoolers love to chime in with the words that are repeated. As preschoolers successfully predict what will come next, they are learning sequencing skills, such as before and after.

Giving Comfort

When you are upset or worried, what is one thing that is of comfort to you? I start my conference on Helping Preschoolers Deal with Fears by asking participants this question. I give each person a fabric square, and ask them to draw on the fabric the thing that is of comfort. We then put all the fabric squares together to make a sort of “comfort” quilt. When they start drawing, someone usually jokingly comments about their lack of artistic talent. I assure them we are not looking at artistic talent but at the ways that we are each comforted.

I have been amazed at the many things people have drawn on their fabric squares. Last week when I led the conference, one person drew her cat. I could imagine how it would be comforting to pet her furry cat while it sits in her lap. Another person drew the outdoors, and said it is comforting to walk outdoors. A person drew friends to remind us how friends can comfort us. Others in my conferences have drawn a cup of tea, the Bible, praying hands, and a big pillow.

The Beauty of God’s World in Sweden

When I think of the landscape of Sweden, I think of the mountain peaks, beautiful valleys, and rocky islands of the coastline. This month as we learn about missions work in Sweden, God’s Creation is the Christian concept area in which we are focusing in Mission Friends. June is a wonderful time to focus on God’s Creation, and Sweden has so much natural beauty to help us teach this concept to preschoolers.

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Helping Preschoolers with Stress

Seeing images of natural disasters and hearing adults talking about them can create anxiety in young children. Over the past several weeks, we have all watched the tragedy of Nepal’s earthquakes unfold. Last week, multiple people were killed in a major landslide in Colombia. In the United States, we’ve recently seen multiple regions damaged by tornadoes and strong storms.

Preschoolers may experience stress reactions to these disasters even when they are not directly affected by them. Anxiety often arises out of feelings of powerlessness and lack of control. Very young children haven’t acquired the same coping mechanisms that adults, or even older children, have developed. Use these suggestions to help you talk to your preschoolers when they exhibit signs of stress related to seeing and hearing about natural disasters:

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Tell Preschoolers About God

  • God loves me.
  • God loves all people.
  • God wants me to love and help others.
  • God wants me to tell others about Him.

These simple concepts are basic spiritual truths we want preschoolers to learn in Mission Friends. As we focus on the Christian concept area of God this month, the above concepts are taught through the activities and stories in Mission Friends. Throughout this month, be mindful to repeat these concepts with your preschoolers.

Wholehearted

Taylor and Susan Field, missionaries at Graffiti Church in New York City

Taylor and Susan Field, missionaries at Graffiti Church in New York City, were both called to urban missions very early in their lives. Mr. Field’s specific call was to provide help for people who have tangible needs. Mr. Field calls this relief work and release work, “Helping people get on their feet and then helping them meet Christ and learn their true purpose.” The Fields have found that it is necessary to work with people holistically as they minister in the urban setting.

Listen as Mr. Field shares from his heart:

“We have found that it is really difficult to understand the gospel if you are hungry. We try to care for people before trying to ‘enlist’ them. We try to be genuine, and our witnessing is long term. We want to walk with the people into discipleship after they have initially accepted Christ.”

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