Preschool Leaders

When We Can’t Tell Their Names

This month you will be teaching preschoolers about Martin and Debra Hasler* who are special workers in the Middle East. To guide your personal prayer for Mr. and Mrs. Hasler, please look for information about the Middle East on the Preschool Missions Focus page, at imb.org, and in trustworthy news sources. In planning your Mission Friends sessions, you may be concerned about talking to preschoolers about special workers who serve in high security areas.

Given the world’s changing social climate, we must be increasingly diligent in protecting the identities of many of our special workers. We understand that this presents a unique challenge for Mission Friends teachers. How can you teach preschoolers about special workers when you can’t show a picture or even give a real name? How do you communicate that some special workers serve in difficult positions without frightening preschoolers with too much graphic information?

Use these five suggestions to help in teaching about a missionary whose name has been changed:

Encouraging Kindergartners to Use Language Skills

As we sat together to share reading from a preschool book, I read the words aloud and the kindergartner interjected when we came to a word he knew. Kindergartners are beginning to learn the fundamentals of reading and writing. Throughout the year, these skills will increase. Mission Friends teachers can encourage kindergartners to use these skills in learning about missions. Separate session plans are provided for kindergarten within Mission Friends Leader in order to use their increasing skills. Know where your kindergartners are as they learn to read and write, and choose activities in which they can use these newfound skills. Following is a list of general ideas for learning about missions through these skills.

  • Write out the Bible thoughts so kindergartners can see the printed words.

  • Make charts with kindergartners about the missions area, such as Alike and Different.

  • Print signs for structures kindergartners build in the Blocks area.

Teaching the Christian Concept Areas

Every month in Mission Friends®, we feature one Christian concept area to be studied along with the work of missionaries around the world. The Christian concept areas can be thought of as the building blocks of spiritual formation for preschoolers. These concept areas offer us the opportunity to help preschoolers begin developing basic understandings of the Christian faith.

As you work through the interest areas and Group Time and share Bible thoughts with preschoolers, you will see that the Christian concept areas are woven throughout the components of each session. An additional resource for teaching preschoolers about the Christian concept areas is the “Missions and Me” Series of digital downloadable books.

This series gives you affordable, downloadable, and/or printable books for talking to your preschoolers about the Christian concept areas. Each book focuses on just one concept area. This series has recently been revised and updated so that each page is full-color. The books’ simple text and illustrations draw preschoolers in and open opportunities for simple conversations.

Mission Friends Leadership Certificate

Would you like to shape your leadership skills as a Mission Friends® teacher? Taking the online training courses that make up the new Mission Friends Leadership Certificate will help you sharpen your leadership skills. The following courses are included in the Leadership Certificate offered by WMU® through Develop online training. When you purchase 4 of the courses, you can get your 5th course free!

  • Leading Mission Friends—Explore the purpose of Mission Friends, the main teaching components, resources, planning, and teaching through activities and Group Time.

  • Uniquely Designed: Preschoolers—Take a look at the unique characteristics of preschoolers and how they grow physically, mentally, socially, emotionally, and spiritually.

  • How Preschoolers Learn—Discover the 4 learning styles of preschoolers and the ways preschoolers learn. Consider how to encourage preschoolers to learn about God and missions.

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.

Project HELP: PTSD Helping Families with Financial Stress

Financial difficulties

Though the song says it’s the most wonderful time of the year, for many families the Christmas season is the most stressful time of the year. This can be a particularly difficult time for parents who are under financial stress, as they struggle to provide for their family. The pressures of providing Christmas gifts for their children is great.

Financial stress for families can be caused by the loss of a job, an ongoing illness or hospitalization, divorce, or the death of a family member. Some families are in financial stress because of spending practices, credit card debt, or lack of budgeting. Be prepared to minister to families who are under financial stress.

  • Be sensitive to the needs of families who may be in situations of financial stress. Keep information confidential.

  • Be aware that financial stress is not just about money. Emotional and social issues may also be involved, such as pride, self-confidence, or loss of purpose.

  • Listen to the parent so you can determine opportunities in which you can be of help.

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

Project HELP: PTSD—How to Use with Preschoolers

Project HELP logo

As WMU focuses on Project HELP: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), all ages in the church are encouraged to be involved in this critical issue. You may be wondering, How can I focus on this critical issue with preschoolers?

Following are recommendations about using Project HELP: PTSD with preschoolers.

Hints for Preschool Teachers

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