You glance at the Mission Friends Leader guide and see suggestions to make a chart, poster, or activity worksheet so kindergartners can add simple words. Is your first reaction one of dismay because you think your preschoolers are not ready for this type of activity?
Well, hold onto your hats, because kindergartners are learning and developing new skills every day! These language-based skills allow preschoolers to write simple words, recognize and read words, construct simple sentences, and listen and converse with greater understanding. Kindergartners perform these tasks imperfectly, but as their leader, you can encourage them to practice new skills as you teach them lessons with eternal value.
When curriculum suggests making a chart, the temptation is to make the chart in advance. Resist that temptation! When you make the chart with your kindergartners, this becomes an interactive activity.
Perhaps you are listing facts about the missionary. Guide the process but allow kindergartners to make suggestions of what to write. Whenever possible, allow kindergartners to physically add their own simple words or drawings to the chart. The charts you create together will become hands-on learning experiences that reinforce the missions information and spiritual truths you are teaching.
Graphic organizers help kindergartners organize what they are learning in a visual way. Some kindergartners are visual learners, and graphic (visual) organizers help them learn. Most kindergartners respond well to visual images. Kindergartners will begin to understand that reading and writing allow them to express what they are learning.
Let kindergartners draw a big basket. Encourage them to draw eggs and write a word on each egg that describes a way to help a person in need. Choosing the color of the crayons for writing words or for coloring eggs makes this activity personal. Let them color, cut out, and glue the eggs in the basket. The reason for the basket of eggs? The missionary helps farmers by providing chickens, who produce eggs to eat and sell.
Journaling is another way to use new skills. Journals can be used to review missionary or Bible stories, share something that happened at home, or pen prayers to God. The writing will be imperfect (expect backward letters and misspelled words), but kindergartners will be practicing what they are learning.
A good place to start is a journal where kindergartners write a sentence about something that reminds them of God. It might be a song on the radio, something Mom said, their dog performing a fun trick, or a neat rock they found. Encourage kindergartners to write a sentence about how their choice reminds them of God and draw a picture to go with the sentence. Let interested kindergartners share their journal pages.
By including activities that give kindergartners time to practice new skills, you will be celebrating with them and encouraging them to grow more towards becoming a person who communicates well, loves Jesus, and lives a life on mission.
Written by Suzanne Krein