As a teacher of preschoolers, your audience is one of the most curious, energetic, eager, and hands-on groups you will find. Thank you for sharing your gifts with this precious age level.
Each church is unique in the ages and numbers of preschoolers they have attending Mission Friends. Some churches have enough preschoolers to divide groups into Babies, Ones, and Twos; Threes and Fours; and Kindergarten. But many other churches need to combine age levels and offer blended Mission Friends’ groups. Here are some suggestions to help teach a blended Mission Friends class.
- Use the Plan Sheet for Mission Friends to help you choose activities and gather supplies for each session. Read through the suggested activities for each age level. Choose one activity for each activity area that best fits your group of preschoolers. Vary the levels of difficulty by choosing a variety of age level activities from the different age levels in Mission Friends Leader.
- Consider your preschoolers, their ages, developmental levels, and interests as you choose activities. Be prepared and flexible to adjust on the go if you suddenly realize your art activity is too complicated for your ones and twos. You may want to focus mainly on activities for Threes and Fours, but add one or two activities from Babies, Ones, and Twos; and Kindergarten to reach all age levels in your group.
- Make plans for each session of the month. Gather supplies and assign adults to supervise each activity. One adult should always be free to supervise the younger preschoolers and watch for problems that might happen. For Group Times, remember that Babies, Ones, and Twos are unable to sit still for a story. Enlist an adult to engage this group in a simple activity away from the Group Time area. Babies, Ones, and Twos can also sit on laps and hold a toy as older preschoolers listen to a story. Choose the story length depending on the age of most of your Mission Friends.
- With a wide range of age levels, always have a minimum of two adults for each session. If your group has a large number of younger preschoolers, add an adult for every three Babies, Ones, and Twos. If you have a larger group of Threes and Fours, add an adult for every five preschoolers. For a larger group of Kindergartners, add an adult for every six preschoolers. Always begin with two leaders, and add additional leaders depending on your age level numbers.
- Check your classroom for safety issues. With a blended age group, it is important to use the strictest safety guidelines for the youngest age of preschoolers in the group. Cover electrical outlets, put small choking-hazard type toys out of reach, remove sharp objects, and always think in terms of what the youngest preschoolers can reach or put in their mouths. Perform a safety search before each session begins. Sanitize toys and hard surfaces after each session.
- Share leader information with adults who will help teach your blended class. For each activity, tell how the missionaries and their location are reflected in the activity. Share Bible thoughts and the Christian Concept Area for the month. Suggest missionary prayer requests and how to pray with preschoolers. With this information, adults will be able to guide conversations and lead preschoolers in learning about missionaries and their work.
- Any group of preschoolers will be busy and active. Maintain a calm, peaceful attitude. Show love and enthusiasm as you lead preschoolers to learn about missions and engage in missions activities. Enjoy each child and what he or she brings to your group. Observe and learn how to adjust future activities to reflect the interests and developmental stages of your preschoolers. Before you know it, teaching a blended class of Mission Friends will become a habit of consistency, patience, and preparedness.
You have the awesome responsibility and blessing of teaching a blended class of preschoolers. Your Mission Friends will see God’s love through you as well as your love for them and missions.