Once upon a time,
a preschool teacher searched for a way
to bring missions to life for the lesson that day.
She thought and she thought and decided to pray.
Then suddenly, she found the answer she’d sought!
She could teach missions through stories and play!
— Stacy Nall
When we hear the phrase, “Once upon a time,” we are curious to hear the story that follows. Preschoolers are no different, and perhaps they are even more interested than adults to hear a good story. Stories can help us to remember concepts and information better than reading a list of facts. Since most preschoolers have not yet learned to read, they need parents and adult leaders to tell them stories.
We can use preschoolers’ interest in stories to communicate the missions and Christian concept areas for the monthly units. Each session in Mission Friends Leader includes a Group Time. Tell the Story is the key component of Group Time. The story makes the lives of the missionaries come to life! Preschoolers learn how missionaries share the love of God with the people they serve.
The components of Group Time help the leader share the story in such a way that preschoolers’ understanding will be maximized.
The Group Time Tip for each session suggests an extra idea for telling the story or working with preschoolers. These tips are optional but can often enhance your Group Time. As with all Group Time components, you as the leader may use your own discernment about which suggestions will work best for your group.
In the Introduction component of Group Time, leaders are given an idea to help preschoolers make connections with the story they will hear. For example, a story about a missionary couple who reads the Bible with friends at a coffee shop could be introduced by inviting preschoolers to touch and smell coffee beans. The more sensory activities you can incorporate into your Group Time, the more likely your preschoolers are to remember the mission story.
Each Tell the Story component of Group Time indicates an appropriate stopping point for Threes and Fours. An expanded version of the story for kindergarten follows. Questions about the story are listed for each age level to guide discussion and allow the leader to assess preschoolers’ comprehension. The leader can review aspects of the story preschoolers may have missed.
Prayertime is an important part of each Group Time. Prayertime prompts are given for the leader. Preschoolers can learn to pray by listening to adult leaders pray short prayers. Some Prayertime activities are written to encourage preschoolers to pray out loud.
The Closing Activity is a fun way to reinforce what preschoolers have learned during the session. It can take the form of a game, a song, a story, or an art activity. You may also continue an activity your group particularly enjoyed.
As you follow the suggestions for Activities and Group Time, you can inspire your preschoolers with a love for God and His mission around the world!
by Stacy Nall