Interest Areas in a Mission Friends classroom are specific areas of focus where activities are designed for preschoolers to learn through play.
Interest Areas, found in Mission Friends Leader, are spread throughout the classroom and preschoolers are encouraged to choose an activity that appeals to them.
The Interest Area approach creates exciting ways for preschoolers to explore the missions area, missionaries, and Christian concept area for each unit — all while allowing them to learn through their own interests.
In this blog we’ll cover Art and Blocks.
Age-appropriate art activities help preschoolers grow and develop through the manipulation and exploration of art materials.
The Art interest area in Mission Friends helps preschoolers express creativity, encourages self-expression, and allows them to use their imagination while learning about missionaries, the missions area, and the Christian concept area.
Tip 1: Engage an adult or student to occasionally help with art activities. Extra hands will be much appreciated as they help preschoolers cut, color, glue, assemble, or paint. Both preschoolers and your extra helpers will be learning about missions while helping in the Art interest area. And who knows? You could even be mentoring a potential Mission Friends leader.
Tip 2: Involve adult groups in your church by asking them to donate art supplies for your Mission Friends. Share a list of needed items. Show some completed art activities and pen a thank you note. Click here for a list of supplies that are great to keep on hand in your classroom.
Tip 3: Store art supplies in clear containers to make weekly preparations easier. If you share a room with another class, this will ensure that your resources stay together. All items should be age-appropriate for preschoolers.
The interest area of Blocks provides opportunities for all ages of preschoolers to gain skills in problem-solving, color sorting, social skills, and creativity.
A block area should have a large space so preschoolers can spread out as they build and create. The use of varying sizes of blocks will enhance the skills of your preschoolers. Wooden, plastic, and cardboard blocks allow creativity as they build and pretend.
Sit on the floor with your Mission Friends to provide help when needed and guide the conversation about the missionaries and the missions area in which they live.
Tip 1: Occasionally, consider using the hallway for block play. The hallway allows more space, especially when building a roadway or city. Use painters’ tape on the floor to mark off the area of play or mark roads to build with blocks.
Tip 2: In a plastic container, store a variety of sizes and textures of cardboard, painters’ tape, cardboard tubes, carpet samples, craft sticks, small food boxes, and plastic tablecloths or flat sheets (blue, white, green, and brown). These items allow preschoolers to expand their imagination as they create landscapes and cityscapes using the additional materials.
Interest Areas make learning about missionaries fun! Hearing your Mission Friends exclaim, “What are we going to learn tonight, Mrs. Phyllis?” makes the preparation of each area worth the time and effort.
by Beth Campbell