August 2023 Preschool Leader Article
Missions Discipleship

Preschoolers Are Sensitive and Imitative

Each preschooler is uniquely designed by God, with his or her own personality and characteristics. Even as we review the characteristics of preschoolers, keep in mind that each preschooler displays these general characteristics in their own unique ways.

Consider the preschoolers in your Mission Friends group, and how they show they are sensitive and imitative.


Gaby was all smiles as she played in the classroom with the other preschoolers. I turned to help another preschooler put his paper from preschool choir into a cubby and heard someone wailing. I looked around. Gaby was crying. How did she go from smiling to crying in two seconds?

This is an example to show that preschoolers are sensitive. They laugh easily and cry easily. Sometimes their emotions quickly change.

Here are some tips for teaching preschoolers who are sensitive:

    • Meet the physical needs of preschoolers, such as diaper changing.
    • Be aware of times when preschoolers might be tired or hungry, such as at the end of the day or late morning before nap time.
    • Help preschoolers in dealing with strong emotions. Provide comfort when preschoolers need comforting.
    • Give preschoolers ways to express emotions through drawing, pounding play dough, or dramatic play in Homeliving.
    • Create spaces in your classroom where a preschooler can do an activity on their own when they choose. They could read a book, put a puzzle together, or observe a nature item.


Have you ever heard a preschooler say something, and you knew he heard it at home?

While Emily Anne worked on a drawing, she sang the chorus of an older children’s song. I knew she was imitating her older sister.

Preschoolers imitate others. They imitate their parents, siblings, other preschoolers, and you!

Remember that preschoolers are imitative as you teach them in Mission Friends. It is important to:

    • Provide a model of positive behavior for preschoolers to imitate.
    • Use positive words and speech and let your body language match your words.
    • Provide dress-up items and props in the Homeliving area for preschoolers to use in pretend play as they imitate community helpers, church helpers, and missionaries.
    • Pray with preschoolers so they can learn to pray to God at any time and any place.

Joye Smith is the WMU preschool ministry consultant.

This article first appeared in June-July-August 2023 Mission Friends Leader. Each quarter of Mission Friends Leader, the curriculum piece for preschool missions discipleship, provides practical information on working with preschoolers, achieving effective teaching and learning opportunities, and growth and development of preschoolers.