A new church year will soon begin. Young preschoolers will come into Mission Friends for the first time and kindergartners will move out and up to children’s missions groups. Transitioning into a new missions group at church can be difficult for some children while easier for others. How can you help preschoolers make these transitions?
Preschoolers Coming In Mission Friends
For your preschoolers who are starting Mission Friends, try the following tips.
- Before your first meeting, mail a copy of “Mission Friends at Home” to each preschooler who is promoting into Mission Friends. Add a note to tell parents you look forward to teaching their preschoolers.
- If you teach babies through twos, give reassurances to these younger preschoolers throughout the sessions.
- Prepare nametags ahead of time. Have blank nametags ready to write the names of new Mission Friends. Say their names throughout the sessions and tell them your name too.
- Plan activities for the ages of those who will come in your Mission Friends group.
- Remember that attention spans will be shorter for the preschoolers coming into Mission Friends.
- Have an engaging activity near the door to catch a preschooler’s interest as he enters the room.
- Say the word missionary often as preschoolers play in interest areas. Tell them what a missionary is and how the featured missionary tells people about Jesus.
Preschoolers Moving Up to Children’s Missions
Many changes happen when kindergartners move to first grade. With insightful planning, we can make the transition easier.
- Before the new church year begins is the perfect time to have first graders and their families visit their new children’s missions classroom.
- Work with the leaders of your children’s missions groups, whether your church has Girls in Action, Royal Ambassadors, or Children in Action. Invite families to a “Welcome Party.” This fun party would allow children to meet new teachers, see the room, talk about missions, pray together, and get an invitation to come back and begin new missions experiences.
- Make children’s missions groups something new first graders look forward to and enjoy. Make sure you speak positively about the new experiences to come. Share fun things you have heard about the children’s missions groups.
- With parent permission, take group photos and make cards celebrating those promoting to children’s missions. Be sure to include leaders in the photos so preschoolers can look back and remember the joy of Mission Friends.
- Invite a children’s missions group leader to join you for a session to get to know preschoolers who will transition up to a new group. Repeat names of both kindergartners and the leader.
- Visit with former Mission Friends after the new year has started. Ask them to tell something fun they did or learned. Encourage them as they adjust to their new missions group.
- If your church does not have a children’s missions group, consider beginning one. Perhaps parents would be willing to help start a children’s missions group. Visit wmu.com/children to get acquainted with resources and activities.
by Wendy Dever and Joye Smith