Preschool Blog

We Love First Steps in Missions

First Steps in Missions, vol. 23

What do you love most about teaching Mission Friends®? Is it your preschoolers’ natural curiosity and joy? Is it their penchant for telling so much truth? Is it their ability to accept God’s deep truths with simple faith? One thing that I love about teaching Mission Friends is seeing their eyes light up when they develop a new realization about God’s global mission. You can almost see their minds working to assimilate the new thought.

I love teaching Mission Friends. I love engaging preschoolers’ minds with the thought that “God loved us and sent His Son” (see 1 John 4:10). I love exploring new cultures with my little ones and teaching them that people around the world are very different, but that God loves us all the same. Because of my love for teaching, I always enjoy discovering new ideas to try with my classes. This is one reason that I love the First Steps in Missions books so much. Have you ever used First Steps in Missions?

Impressions from Guatemala

Joye with kids

The people and place of Guatemala have a special place in my heart after going to Guatemala on a missions trip several years ago. I served with Orphan’s Heart at the Child Malnutrition Center in central Guatemala. Orphan’s Heart is a ministry of Florida Baptist Children’s Homes. Our missions team was made up of WMU members from across Florida, and I was so blessed to join this team for an incredible week of giving care to about 100 preschoolers under the age of 5 years. We served alongside their caregivers in playing, singing, feeding, bathing, and dressing the preschoolers throughout the day. During the week, I spent most of my days with the preschoolers who were just learning to walk. I spent part of a day with the infants, and another part day with the 3–4 year olds.

Questions about Develop Online Training

Joye Smith

The part I like best about our online Develop training courses is that I get to interact with you, the Mission Friends® leaders. I so enjoy the correspondence back and forth with each leader who has taken one of the preschool Develop courses. Most of the leaders I have never met in person, but I feel like I know them as they go through the courses. Even though the training is online, that does not mean that it is impersonal. This has been the most pleasant surprise for me as we developed the online courses to include contact between the course participant and Mission Friends consultant.

In thinking about the preschool Develop courses, I thought I would answer a few questions that I am asked about the online training.

  • What is included in the preschool Develop courses? Each of the preschool courses include several short instructional videos, handouts, and interactive assignments.

Next Steps in Teaching Mission Friends

Planning to train

Professional teachers are required to take career development courses in order to keep current with trends in education and to glean fresh new ideas. Professional development helps us bring best practices into our classrooms. For teachers in the church, professional development is not required, but it certainly benefits our children and our ministry to gain as much training as possible.

Because most of us who work in preschool or children’s ministry also have many responsibilities with our families and homes and careers, our discretionary time is limited. Scheduling additional time for weekend or evening conferences can be difficult. We know that your time is precious, so we offer a number of resources that will help you keep up-to-date with trends in teaching at church, as well as the tried-and-true methods of working with preschoolers.

Here are a few ways you can learn more about teaching preschoolers—without ever leaving your home!

News from Holly Procita

Prayer, Calgary, Holly Procita, Preschool

With the arrival of summer, many churches in the US relax their children’s ministry schedules. This is not the case with Southwinds Church in Calgary! Holly Procita, Community Outreach Coordinator at Southwinds, tells us Calgary experiences snow and cold weather for 8 to 10 months each year. Calgarians love the opportunity to be outside when the weather is warm. So, summer is the prime time to reach out to families.

Southwinds hosts between 6 and 10 summer camps each year. As you read this, Holly and her ministry team are working tirelessly to wrap up all the details for this year’s summer camps. The camps include sports camps, music and drama camps, and Kid’s Camp, which most of us would call Vacation Bible School.

Church Planting in Arizona

Psalm 96:3

“Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples” (Psalm 96:2–3 NIV1).

In Phoenix, Arizona, Hernando and Alcira Cardenas live out this Scripture every day. Mr. and Mrs. Cardenas are able to take the gospel to the nations, because like so many church planters in the United States, the nations have come to them. Incredibly, Mr. Cardenas is currently planting two Hispanic churches.

God Hears the Prayers of Preschoolers

God hears me when I pray

“Tell all the Mission Friends to keep praying.” These were the words we heard from missionary, Tobey Pitman, after hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. I do not think it was by coincidence that Mission Friends® featured Tobey and Cathy Pitman as our missionaries that August. Preschoolers learned all month about New Orleans and the Pitmans’ ministries to the people of New Orleans. Immediately after the devastation of the hurricane, Mission Friends leaders from across the country contacted WMU with concerns about the Pitmans. Their preschoolers had heard about the flooding in New Orleans, and the preschoolers were asking about Mr. and Mrs. Pitman. The leaders told us their preschoolers were praying for the Pitmans. When we heard from Tobey Pitman and told him all the Mission Friends were asking about them, his response was to “tell all the Mission Friends to keep praying.” What a difference it made to these missionaries to know our preschoolers were praying. This is why I believe that God hears the prayers of our preschoolers.

Let’s Learn About . . . The Christian Concept Areas

Let's Learn About . . .

The Christian concept areas are the building blocks of faith development for preschoolers. Each weekly session includes one learning outcome based on the work of the missionaries and one learning outcome based on the concept area being featured that month. How are you incorporating the Christian concept areas into your Mission Friends® sessions?

The book Let’s Learn About . . . by Angie Quantrell is an excellent resource for helping your preschoolers learn about how specific facets of Christianity apply to their lives. In this book, Molly and Mikey explore the concept areas with their teacher, Miss Goodwin. Here are a few suggestions for using Let’s Learn About . . . during your Mission Friends sessions:

  • Each month, during your first session read about the month’s Christian concept area as an introduction before your begin your group time story.

  • Bookmark the section about the featured Christian concept area and place the book in your Books area. As preschoolers find the book and the bookmark, picture-read that section.

Update from Guatemala

White family in Guatemala

David and Regina White recently sent us an update on their ministry. We pray that these updates will help shape your prayers for the White family:

In Guatemala now, the hot season has arrived. With daily temperatures over 100 degrees, families have to deal with water shortages and power outages. The Whites have been experiencing some head colds and congestion. The heat makes these illnesses even more difficult. Please pray that their health will be fully restored.

The Whites held 10 Bible studies last month. In 1 village, there is only 1 family of believers. Pray that this family will remain strong and will be a light in their community. Additionally, a Bible study group from 1 village is visiting another village to begin a weekly study. Please pray for the visiting group to soon see fruit from their visits.

The Whites are involved in the construction of a new church building. They report that this construction is going well, and ask for continued prayers for this project. They ask that we especially pray for the construction workers and the project manager.

Oh, Those Babies, Ones, and Twos! Part 3

Terrific Twos

I think they should be known as Terrific Twos! If you teach two-year-olds, you know how terrific they can be, as well as what a challenge they can be. During this year, twos really move out of the baby stage of life as they grow in so many ways. Twos begin to do many things for themselves, but may still be like a baby at times. The word mine can be heard over and over, which is the result of their growing independence. They begin to speak in sentences and ask questions. Twos gain in the use of the small muscles of their hands as they hold crayons or pound play dough. We can guide them to learn about missions as they use their new skills as two-year-olds.

  • Say the Bible thoughts often. Relate Bible thoughts to activities. As twos look at nature items in a box, tell them: The Bible tell us, Look at the wonderful things God made (see Job 37:14).

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