Preschool Leaders

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.

  • As you care for the physical needs of babies, use those times as teachable moments. Say a sentence thank-you prayer when feeding a baby with a bottle. Place a picture from the Mission Friends Leader Picture Set on the wall above the changing table. Talk about the picture as you change a diaper.

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.

Attention Grabbing Group Time: Prayertime

Praying Preschooler

Praying with your preschoolers is one of the most important things that you get to do with them. When you pray with your preschoolers, you are modeling for them the essential skills for a close, personal relationship with God. You are both the model and the participant in this time of prayer, and the only way to learn to pray effectively is by praying yourself! Teaching preschoolers that God is active and listening to them always, and that they can talk to God like they’re talking to a friend are very important. Shaking off the formality and stiffness of a group prayer can help your preschoolers develop a positive attitude about prayer.

Here are several tips for opening your preschoolers’ eyes and hearts to prayer, and some tips for keeping their attention.

  • Preschoolers have notoriously short attention spans! Keep your prayer brief and simple, but meaningful.

Ministering to Military Families

Project HELP logo

You may be near a military base with many military personnel, have one military family in your church, or have a family with a member in the National Guard or Reserves. As a preschool leader in the church, this is an opportunity for you to serve these families in a special way. As they entrust their preschooler to you while at church, this may open doors for you to reach out to military families. There are also opportunities to minister to military families outside the church.

 

Each military family has its own strengths and needs. Use these ideas as possibilities for ministry to the needs of military families. Realize that these are ideas for ministry to any military family, not just to those with a family member who has PTSD. Following are ways to give care and support to all military families.

  • Commit to pray daily for the families. Send a note or message to let them know, so they can draw strength from knowing of your prayers.

  • For multiple families, set up a prayer plan among preschool teachers at church.

  • Listen with a heart of compassion.

Threes and Fours Are Growing

Grocery labels

Tenley bursts into our Mission Friends room and announces, “I’m here!” She is full of energy and ready to see what we have prepared for her to do in Mission Friends. If you teach 3-year-olds or 4-year-olds, you know how eager they are to learn. They are willing to try new activities and do new things. They also enjoy repeating favorite activities, which gives them practice at newly growing skills. How do we encourage 3s and 4s to use these newfound skills as we teach them about missions?

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.

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