As WMU seeks to make disciples of Jesus who live on mission, we want to instill a heart for missions within preschoolers by developing in them four missional characteristics:
- Learn About Missions
- Pray for Missions
- Support Missions
- Do Missions and Tell About Jesus
In this blog, we’re taking a closer look at how preschoolers learn about missions in Mission Friends.
Missional Characteristic: Learn About Missions
“Children are like sponges!”
We often hear this expressed as adults observe preschoolers. Preschoolers absorb knowledge at a very rapid rate and soak up their environment. As Mission Friends leaders, we can work with preschoolers’ natural curiosity to help them learn about missions.
Preschool leaders have the wonderful opportunity to guide inquisitive young minds as they grow in their understanding of God’s love for them and the people of the world.
Why teach preschoolers about missions?
Preschool teachers and parents must lay a solid foundation of faith in preschoolers. Missions learning is part of that foundation.
What do preschoolers need to know?
In Mission Friends, preschoolers learn about ways God is at work in the world. In Mission Friends, preschoolers learn that God loves them, God loves everyone, and God wants everyone to know about His love.
How Preschoolers Learn About Missions in Mission Friends
Mission Friends Leader, the main curriculum resource for Mission Friends, is designed to assist preschool leaders in preparing educationally sound learning experiences.
Each session provides developmentally appropriate stories, Bible learning, and activities to build a foundation of faith as preschoolers learn about missions.
Preschoolers learn from listening to stories. Each session of Mission Friends Leader provides a Group Time mission story. Interactive suggestions and questions are built into stories to aid retention and comprehension.
Bible thoughts are used with preschoolers to communicate God’s Word in phrases that preschoolers can understand. Bible thoughts enhance preschoolers’ understanding of missions.
For example, as preschoolers learn about a missionary who is providing food, leaders could share the Bible thought: Do not forget to do good and to share with others (see Heb. 13:16).
Preschoolers are learning as they explore their world. The preschool leader can offer enriching play experiences to help them learn about missions.
Activities in Mission Friends Leader lead preschoolers to discover more about the missions area and Christian concept area for the month. Through conversations about the activities, the leader helps each preschooler make connections to the mission story and/or Bible thought.
The activities include a variety of interests and learning styles and are organized as Interest Areas:
Art—Sensory experiences like seeing and touching give a preschooler the opportunity to create. As she paints a picture of mountains or the ocean, she associates her art with a missionary and people in the missions focus area who need to hear about Jesus.
Books—As preschoolers read books related to the missionary, missions focus area, or Christian concept area, their inquiring minds are hearing and processing information that helps them learn about missions. Picture books, Bible story books, and illustrated Bibles provide words and images to support missions learning.
Music and Movement, and Puzzles and Manipulatives—Fine motor and large motor activities help preschoolers grow and develop. Games, music, and movement help preschoolers remember information they are learning about missions.
Nature—Preschoolers learn about missions by smelling spices, touching leaves, and tasting foods from different countries. They associate these sensory experiences with people all over the world who need to hear about Jesus.
by Stacy Nall