We see many changes in preschoolers from the beginning of the church year until the end. Physical changes are obvious, but what about their spiritual milestones? Spiritual growth is important for each Mission Friend.
What are the spiritual milestones a child should have as they enter first grade? Let’s look at three of the nine Christian Concept Areas for practical ways to gauge their readiness.
Christian Concept Area: God
Truths about God are taught and reinforced through the different activity areas, Group Time stories, and Bible thoughts in Mission Friends sessions.
By the time preschoolers enter first grade, they should know that:
- God is real.
- God is ruler of the world.
- God is everywhere.
- God has a plan for my life.
- I have a part in God’s plan.
- I can be involved in God’s work in the world.
- I can worship God.
- I can express love for God by obeying Him.
- I can tell others about God.
Christian Concept Area: Jesus
Throughout a Mission Friends session, preschoolers hear about Jesus, how missionaries tell others about Jesus, and how Jesus loves them.
By the time preschoolers enter first grade, they should be familiar with simple information about Jesus:
- Jesus is God’s one and only Son.
- Jesus performed miracles and healed the sick.
- I can grow like Jesus grew: in mind, body, and in my relationships God and others.
- I should follow the examples, teachings, and commandments of Jesus.
- Jesus died on the cross.
- Jesus was raised from the dead.
- Jesus is in heaven.
- People everywhere need to know about Jesus.
Christian Concept Area: Bible
A practical way to reinforce preschoolers understanding of the Christian concept area of Bible is to open and use the Bible each time a Bible thought or Bible story is shared. Encourage preschoolers to bring their Bibles to Mission Friends. Help preschoolers find the weekly Bible thoughts and use their Bibles as a beloved resource full of true stories about God and Jesus. Patiently lead them as they discover the habit of opening the pages of their Bible.
By the time preschoolers enter first grade, they should understand:
- The Bible tells what God is like.
- I can understand Bible verses and phrases and apply them to my life.
- The Bible tells what Jesus is like and how to be like Him.
- The Bible tells that Jesus is alive.
- Bible stories about early missionaries help me to learn about the importance of missions.
Unlike in school, we do not “test” preschoolers at the end of the year. However, we use open-ended questions to check for understanding in the different activity areas and after Group Time stories. These questions will provide important insights into their thinking and understanding.
Before sending preschoolers to first grade, present them with their own Mission Friends Promotion Certificate. Have a graduation party and celebrate Mission Friends having reached these spiritual milestones and being ready to continue their faith journey in first grade!
by Celeste Albaugh