When overwhelmed by a major task, the question to ask yourself is, “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer is, “One bite at a time.”
Huge tasks can be broken into smaller bits that can be more easily accomplished. This adage applies to planning a month’s unit for Mission Friends. Planning for the month becomes easy when it is broken into manageable parts.
With the wealth of information and ideas in Mission Friends Leader, planning for a month at a time can help you keep details straight and gives you continuity throughout the unit. It also allows you to prepare ahead when you have time, rather than scrambling at the last minute. Just remember to take it one bite at a time.
So, let’s get started.
- Pray for God’s guidance as you plan, for your preschoolers, and for the missionaries themselves.
- Begin with a preview of the month’s materials, noting the information on the missions area, the suggested activities, the stories, and the Helping Others Activities.
- Pull out the month’s items from the Mission Friends Leader Kit, both resource kit items and pictures, to get a feel for how they will be used. Prepare the kit items as directed.
- Let all these bits and pieces simmer in your brain for a day or two. Then set aside some time to plan the sessions.
- Review the material so you have the overall picture fresh in your mind.
- Note how the concept area is incorporated into the activities and stories.
- Allow the Outcomes to give you a focus for each session.
- Jot down notes on the three or four activities you will use each week. It isn’t necessary to use all the activity suggestions every week. Use the free downloadable “Monthly Planning Sheet” to help keep your thoughts in order and give a one-page overview for the month.
- Read through the story for each week a couple of times to become familiar with the details. Before each session run through the story again, practicing how you will tell it.
- Check off items on the supply list as you gather them. Place needed items for each session together, ready to pick up and go.
- Once you have finished planning the weekly sessions, take a look at the month as a whole to insure there is a balance in the activities to meet the learning styles of your preschoolers. Will preschoolers have opportunities to move, create through art and blocks, express themselves in music and homeliving, hear Bible thoughts, pray for missionaries, and reflect with a book or puzzle?
You may find you prefer breaking your planning time into smaller segments of time spread over a few days. Or you may feel that planning the whole unit in one sitting gives continuity to your plans. Do whatever works best for you.
Now you have a plan in place which allows you to feel prepared, confident, and ready to enjoy leading your preschoolers. Just take it one bite at a time.
by Vivian Howell