Preschool Leaders

Missions Explorers

Project Learning

Preschoolers can do project learning. In Mission Friends project learning is what Missions Explorers is all about. It’s fun, and it’s easy. And it’s optional. Here are some things to remember when doing projects with young children:

Set up a special area in your classroom for project learning. Include necessary supplies and additional materials such as brochures, books, teaching pictures (many are on the Internet), and a box, pocket folder, or large envelope where preschoolers can keep their work.

Label supplies and keep them in separate boxes such as one for crayons, one for scissors, one for paper, etc.

As preschoolers investigate and learn more about their project, make a list of what they have learned on chart paper. Or have them draw what they have investigated and done on butcher paper. Preschoolers can draw or write about their findings.

Be sure to have a time for sharing what preschoolers have learned while working on their project(s). Invite parents and guests to attend the Project Presentation.

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.

Ideas for a Fifth Session of Mission Friends

Mission Friends Leader

Sometimes you just need more to do with Mission Friends®. It might be that you meet 5 times a month and there are only 4 sessions in Mission Friends Leader, what do you do?

For Interest Areas:

  • Use the Extra Activities on pages 43 and 44 of Spring Mission Friends Leader.

  • See pages 58–64 in First Steps in Missions, vol. 22, for additional activities and information about Guatemala.

  • Preschoolers can role-play some of the ministry activities mentioned in the unit.

  • Look in the other age groups in Mission Friends Leader for activities your preschoolers might enjoy.

  • Discuss the Spring Mission Friends Leader Picture Set Pictures 5–8 in more detail. Talk about the people and places. What is happening in each picture?

Week of the Young Child

Preschooler and bubbles

Let’s celebrate our preschoolers next week for Week of the Young Child! April 24–28 is designated as Week of the Young Child across the country to rejoice over our youngest learners, their families, and their teachers. Start planning at least one way to celebrate Week of the Young Child in your church. We’ll get you started with the ideas below.

  • Emphasize how your Mission Friends share God’s love with others through Helping Others activities. Plan a Helping Others activity for next week’s session in Mission Friends®. See Mission Friends Leader, page 28, for two ideas for Helping Others activities this month.

  • Make a hallway display to celebrate your preschoolers. Place a large piece of butcher paper on the floor for each preschooler, and have the preschooler lie down on the paper. Trace around the outline of each preschooler, then have them draw their own features and clothes. Display these in the preschool area of your church.

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.

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).

Oh, Those Babies, Ones, and Twos! Part 2

Toddler

How would I describe a one-year-old? On the go! During this year one-year-olds literally take off with their newfound large muscle skills. We call them “toddlers” because of the way they bump and wobble around as they learn to step, walk, and then run. This is when they begin to climb too. They not only develop in the use of their legs, but their arms also. This is known as the “dump and fill” stage as they use their arm muscles to dump everything out of a container and then refill it. While this is a year to gain in large muscle development, ones also gain ground in their speech and vocabulary. Those ones are such fun, and we can help them use these new skills to learn about missions and Jesus’ love.

  • Use the Bible with ones by saying Bible thoughts as they turn the pages. Say a short statement about a picture in the Bible, such as “The four friends helped their friend to see Jesus.”

Oh, Those Babies, Ones, and Twos! Part 1

baby

At no other time in life do people have more growth and development than during the years of infancy, 1, and 2. They grow from totally helpless infants who are dependent on others for all needs, to two-year-olds who run, laugh, talk, and play. How can we help them to grow toward God through missions learning at such a young age?

This week, we’ll talk about the youngest ones, and how we can guide babies in beginning to learn missions concepts. Throughout the first year, it seems that babies gain new skills almost every day. How can we use their new skills to guide them to learn of God and His love for all people?

  • Provide loving care as babies pick up the attitudes of caregivers. They will learn of God’s love from the example you set.

By All Means

By All Means Graphic

My brother-in-law, Kyle, is the best at making connections with people. Within a few minutes of meeting someone, he will make the connection that he knows their great aunt’s cousin’s nephew. If he doesn’t connect through someone they know in common, he makes a connection through a common place by telling a story about someone he knew from the place where the person is from. Kyle seldom meets a stranger because he knows how to make these connections with people.

Paul talks about making connections and cultivating relationships with people in 1 Corinthians 9:22–23: "I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings." As we look to what it means to share Christ with the world around us, making connections with people is crucial. The connections we make are openings that lead to conversations, and our conversations can lead to sharing about Christ.

Decoding the WMU Emphasis for Preschoolers—Cultivate Relationships

preschoolers painting

I introduced four-year-old Barrett, a first-time visitor, to Maverick and Charlie as they built in the Blocks area. I needed to speak to Barrett’s mom, and when I looked back over at the boys, they were playing, laughing, and building together. For the rest of the Mission Friends® session, the three boys were inseparable. I was so glad to see how easily our Mission Friends befriended a new preschooler.

One of the purposes of the WMU emphasis, By All Means, is to encourage those who follow Christ to cultivate relationships with the people around them. For preschoolers, we can help them to know how they can be a friend to others. How can you lead preschoolers in being friends with others?

  • Give preschoolers opportunities to work together. Encourage them to build or make something together.

  • Plan activities in which preschoolers cooperate with one another. For example, they make a mural together.

  • Pair preschoolers to do movement activities together.

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