Have you ever witnessed young children at the swimming pool, eager to jump in the water? Parents or grandparents stand in the shallow end, coaxing their little ones to jump. Most preschoolers I’ve observed need little or no encouragement and jump right into loving arms, while others need more assurance that they will be caught. After a successful jump, though, all are delighted.
As preschool teachers, we want preschoolers to feel they can trust us and feel secure when they are in our care. Ultimately, we want preschoolers to be able to trust their Heavenly Father. How do we go about creating an environment of trust that will one day help children understand that they can trust God? After the physical needs of health, safety, and hunger are met, emotional needs can be addressed. These suggestions may be helpful to you as you meet those needs.
- Always be honest with preschoolers. Be willing to answer their questions in an age-appropriate way. Preschoolers will learn that they can believe what you say about God and the Bible.
- Keep your promises. Sometimes this can be difficult in a classroom setting with so much activity but make every effort to follow through. If you promise to do a special activity next week, then do it! Keeping promises shows you are dependable.
- Be consistent with your actions. In the classroom, develop a routine and stick to it. Set boundaries by developing classroom rules. Preschoolers will learn they can trust you as you gently remind and correct. Structure in the classroom helps preschoolers feel secure.
- Be patient. Whether it’s settling an argument over a toy or humbly cleaning up another mess, good preschool teachers are patient. Preschoolers learn from patient teachers that they are loved, regardless of their actions.
- Listen and respond to preschoolers. Taking the time to have a conversation with preschoolers helps them know you care about what they have to say. They’ll know they can trust you with their problems and successes.
We will likely let children down as we strive to be trustworthy. Only God is totally trustworthy. But over time, the consistent love and care you give to preschoolers will help them develop a sense of trust. Then, by God’s grace, they will be able to “jump” into the arms of their loving Heavenly Father.
Written by Stacy Nall