Adapting for Preschoolers with Differing Abilities
Inviting preschoolers to Mission Friends and including them in activities and group times are essential for preschoolers and their families. Next comes adaptation. We adapt our environments and activities because we love preschoolers and their families.
If you consider how unique each one of us is, you will realize that we all have differing abilities. Can you see how each of your preschoolers demonstrate different developmental stages and differing abilities? As we lead Mission Friends, we must reflect on how to adapt our classrooms and activities to provide the best Mission Friends learning experiences possible.
- Remember that we are called to love preschoolers and their families with God’s love. Do everything with a love-filled heart and positive, loving attitudes and actions.
- Parents are a wonderful resource. Ask parents to share what their child enjoys doing at home. Let parents tell what they do at home to adapt activities or environments to help their child succeed. As needed, adapt their suggestions to your Mission Friends classroom.
- Invite parents to visit the classroom and offer specific suggestions for adapting for their child. This may be useful if a child is struggling or has a difficult time learning and enjoying Mission Friends.
- As you observe preschoolers, notice areas that are difficult for preschoolers. Focus your attention on adapting those types of activities or areas to provide support for preschoolers with differing abilities.
- If a child appears to struggle, observe and reflect on what is going on. With much love and great sensitivity, talk with parents. Perhaps the child is experiencing a developmental delay or a stressful event at home (such as a new baby or the death of a loved one). Work together to adapt activities as the child works through whatever is going on.
- Adaptations may come naturally because of your love for each child. We might also need to research the best ways to adapt classrooms and activities for specific needs. Consider the differing abilities your preschoolers have. Is there any one ability that seems to need adaptations? Begin by researching ways to adapt and help preschoolers with that need.
- Adaptations may require enlisting additional adults to help teach and supervise Mission Friends. Many Mission Friends groups have mixed ages. We definitely have mixed ability levels! Adult-to-child ratios should reflect the youngest child in your group.
- There may be a time that a preschooler with a differing ability may need an individual helper. With parents, decide how to address this need. Enlist a helper who can best help the child. Follow your church’s preschool guidelines as you enlist helpers.
Thank you for loving each preschooler and family. Thank you for inviting, including, and adapting for preschoolers with differing abilities.
Written by Wendy Dever