Preschool Blog

Non-Food Treats

non-food treats

Christmas parties, goodie bags, and gift exchanges. This time of year gives us opportunities to give little treats to our preschoolers we teach in Mission Friends. What do you do if you have a preschooler with allergies? This can make all the difference in what we give and serve to preschoolers.

This year I have a preschooler who has severe allergies to food items, and we have to be very careful about what we offer to our Mission Friends. We do not want to single him out, so we serve all the preschoolers in our class the same snacks that he can have. The nature of his allergies is so severe that we always get prior approval from his mom for anything we serve.

So for Christmas when we want to give our preschoolers a special treat, what can we give? I started searching and making a list of non-food items for preschool teachers to give as treats. What other items can you add to the list?

  • Nativity ornament

  • stampers

  • fun drinking straws

  • small packages of play dough

  • silly sunglasses

  • finger puppets

  • shoelace charms

Relational People Serving a Relational Savior

Dove Family

Do you ever wonder what life is like for special workers who live internationally? What do they most enjoy about their work? How do they make connections? What are their dreams?

Zach and Jennifer Dove, IMB Church Planters in Norway, have not been called to pastor a church or lead a particular group. Instead, they spend their time working “behind the scenes.” The Doves partner with people in their communities who are interested in beginning new churches or who wish to revitalize churches that need revival and growth. They provide training and direction and discipleship for local church leadership, and they work to connect people who can meet each other’s needs.

When asked what they most enjoy about their work in Norway, the Doves share that they love meeting people and developing relationships. They enjoy hearing life stories and learning what is most important to people.

The True Meaning of Christmas

child and Nativity

What parts of Christmas do we bring into our Mission Friends classrooms at church? There are so many aspects to celebrating Christmas: shopping, gifts, cookies, candies, parties, ornaments, decorations, trees, lights, Santa, elves, snowmen, and greeting cards. There is such cuteness revolving around these aspects of Christmas, it can be easy to leave out the very meaning of Christmas. How do we focus on celebrating that God sent His Son, Jesus? How do we include some of the fun aspects of Christmas while teaching preschoolers about Jesus’ birth? The points below give suggestions for being intentional about teaching preschoolers the true meaning of Christmas.

  • Tell parts of the Christmas story from Luke 2:1–20 during each session. Look for preschool books that tell the true story. I even found a board book at a discount store that told the Christmas story in simple words.

Introducing Preschoolers to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering

December is drawing near, and our focus on the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering® is growing. The Dove family, whom we will study in December, says that it is the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering that meets their daily needs and allows them to focus full-time on the work that God has called them to in Norway. Use some of the following suggestions to teach Mission Friends more about the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and to encourage their families to involve them in missions giving.

Thankful

Thankful Turkey

The Preschool Resource Team made this turkey to show what we are thankful for. We used the turkey outline and each person took 3 feathers to write 3 things for which we are thankful. We’re sharing our list with you here.

 

Joan Hicks, administrative assistant:

  • Salvation: Jesus and the Lord
  • Family
  • Church

 

Clay Allison, graphic designer:

  • My salvation
  • Medical miracles for the time in which I live
  • My family, job, and co-workers

 

Teri Easterling, copy editor:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • WMU work

 

Robin McCall, editor:

  • Jesus
  • Love
  • Children

 

Joye Smith, consultant:

Myself

Myself Cover

My Mission Friends had the most fun making self-portraits on paper plates as suggested in Mission Friends Leader  for last week. We also drew around each preschooler’s hands on a piece of paper and asked them to decorate their hands. As our preschoolers drew and colored, we talked about things we do with our hands and how God made each of us different. After Ashlyn finished drawing, she said, “Now I’ll put them together.” She put her paper plate face on the table and placed the paper hands below the plate. Then she smiled a big smile and held her own hands right below her face as if she were saying, “Ta Da! Here I am!”

Praying with Preschoolers

Always Remember to Pray

“I don’t know what to pray,” said one of my preschoolers after I read the title page in Always Remember to Pray. Several new preschoolers had just promoted into our Mission Friends class a couple weeks before at the beginning of this church year. I decided to read Always Remember to Pray before our prayertime to help us talk about prayer. I responded to this preschooler, “Let’s find out what we can pray!” I read several pages of the book until the preschoolers started fidgeting, and then I flipped the pages over to read the last page. Before we prayed, we talked about ways we could pray for the missionary family.

Preschoolers are learning that we can pray anywhere and at any time. In order to learn how to pray, they need to hear the prayers of their parents and teachers at church. In Mission Friends, we can model how to pray for others as we teach preschoolers of ways to pray for the missionaries featured and the people with whom they serve.

Tips about Praying with Preschoolers

Lunches to Go

Making Lunch

Our guest blogger, Melita Thomas, shares about a Helping Others activity in which her kindergartners take part. We love how she involves her kindergartners in a ministry of her church to those in their community. Melita is an editor at LifeWay Christian Resources and serves as a writer for Mission Friends materials.

Each year my church partners with a local homeless shelter and a rotating network of churches to provide overnight housing to homeless men. Every Sunday night during the winter months, my church provides homeless men a place to sleep, shower, and launder clothes as well as receive dinner, breakfast, and a sack lunch. Adult Sunday School classes typically serve as hosts for meals, Bible study, and fellowship with our guests.

Learning through the Senses

Ellie the chicken

Last week in Mission Friends I was reminded how preschoolers learn through their senses. The mission story for that night told how Mr. and Mrs. McIntosh teach people how to raise chickens for the eggs and plant seeds for food. Robin McCall, preschool resources editor, raises chickens and planned to take one to church for her Mission Friends to see. Earlier in the day, we worked out a time that I could call on FaceTime so my Mission Friends group could see the chicken, also.

Even though they watched on my small phone screen, my Mission Friends enjoyed seeing the chicken, named Ellie. I had some still pictures of chickens, but being able to see the real chicken moving around was even better. They also used their sense of hearing when the chicken began to cluck. When my preschoolers heard the chicken clucking, they all began to cluck too! Later in the session, one of the boys came up to me clucking like a chicken.

A Collaborative Ministry in Thailand

McIntosh Family

Claire and Mark McIntosh* work among a people who are mired in poverty and hopelessness. Their ministry speaks to the truth that in sharing God’s love, we must also meet people’s physical needs.

The McIntoshes help villagers find sources of clean water, provide seeds, share sustainable sources of protein, and enrich education. They teach a group of women how to weave baskets and purses that can be sold in order to earn money for their families. As the McIntosh family engages in community development, they build relationships and share stories of God’s love and care.

Mr. McIntosh shares that in one village, lack of food led to many health problems. Through funding provided by the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering® and the Cooperative Program, Mr. and Mrs. McIntosh gave the people seeds and taught them how to garden and save seed for future crops. They educated the people about soil maintenance and gave them chickens as an ongoing source of protein. When they began ministering here, no one knew Jesus. Now, there are 39 followers of Jesus in this village!

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