Preschool

Project HELP: PTSD—Helping Preschoolers with Family Trauma

Hurting family

Little 3-year-old David took my hand as we looked out the window, watching and listening as an ambulance drove by the day-care center. He said in a quiet voice, just so I alone could hear, “I rode in that ambulance.” I had to choke back my own tears because I knew he remembered a terrible, violent incident that happened to him a few months before. That summer, he would wear a shirt when our child-care class played outside in the sprinkler because he did not want the other preschoolers to see the scars on his belly from stab wounds that almost killed him.

Project HELP: PTSD—How to Use with Preschoolers

Project HELP logo

As WMU focuses on Project HELP: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), all ages in the church are encouraged to be involved in this critical issue. You may be wondering, How can I focus on this critical issue with preschoolers?

Following are recommendations about using Project HELP: PTSD with preschoolers.

Hints for Preschool Teachers

How to Grab Preschooler’s Attention—Introductory Activities

Introductory Activity

Getting preschoolers’ attention is no easy task! Keeping it is even harder. Preschoolers don’t always understand that you have to pause and listen when someone’s talking, or that it’s considered bad manners to talk and play while someone is speaking. They haven’t yet learned how to delay self-gratification! So, when you’re beginning your introduction to Group Time, it’s important to do something that will grab and keep your little ones’ attention! Here are some examples:

A New Year in Mission Friends

to-do list

Here is a To Do list for the beginning of the new church year in Mission Friends.

Caring for Families

Caring for families

As you teach preschoolers, you are in a unique position of showing care to families who have a child with special needs. You may have preschoolers with special needs in your class, and that gives you the opportunity to come to know the parents and the needs within the family. What are some ways that you can minister to a family with a special needs child?

By All Means

By All Means

“I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings” (1 Cor. 9:22–23 NIV1).

“Camp is for the camper.” I heard that statement many times from our GA/Acteens camp director, Ruth Bagwell, as I served as a camp counselor while a college student. When she said this, the camp counselors knew she meant that camp was not about us, but was about those girls who were coming to experience camp. As a camp counselor, that might mean getting up early when the girls in your cabin voted on a breakfast cookout, being in a silly skit to make the girls laugh, or sharing your testimony in front of a group of campers. It meant that we sometimes had to get out of our comfort zone to do things that would most benefit the campers.

Making

making a sand castle

Do you remember making something as a child? I remember making doll clothes and being so proud of what I made. The doll clothes became more complicated as I got older and learned how to sew, and it was fun to make outfits for my doll to go on a picnic or whatever I was playing with her at the moment. I also remember making other things such as loom pot holders and dying Easter eggs. I loved making things!

Our preschoolers today also enjoy making things. There is a whole “making” movement that is making its way even within preschool education. We have seen it for a while now in adults with do-it-yourself projects being so popular. Now we are seeing the making movement arising for preschoolers and children. Much of making with preschoolers involves science, technology, arts, and math. Preschoolers are encouraged to experiment and explore in building structures, taking apart equipment, or using various art media. Preschoolers might combine technology with other areas, such as using printed photos as a background for their painting.

Recycling Resources

reusing materials

Do you subscribe to the Mission Friends Leader Kit and Mission Friends Leader Picture Set or the Mission Friends Resource Kit and Pictures? Have you ever thought about recycling these resources after you have finished teaching each unit?

Picture set pictures could become puzzles in a unit about a similar ministry or missions area. Resource kit items, especially books, posters, stand-up figures, and teaching pictures are adaptable to other units. And, both provide pictures that could be cut out for use in activities calling for magazine pictures.

So, grab some boxes, folders, envelopes, or ziplock plastic bags, and pieces of poster board for dividers. Try these suggestions for categories to file the pictures and kit items so that you can easily find and reuse them:

Group Picture Set pictures by categories such as:

An Update from Josh Lenon:

Lenon family

The past year has been a crazy one for Red Door. We have experienced a lot of joy in seeing the gospel take hold of our lives: believers beginning to share their faith, new believers being baptized, and growing as a church as a church both in numbers and in passion. We have also experienced a lot of loss. Recently one of our core leaders who has been with Red Door since the beginning, and who was working with us in the new plant, was tragically killed in an auto accident. He left behind an awesome wife and three awesome kiddos (7, 3, and 1). This tragedy has rocked our church pretty hard and we have grieved in many ways. But we have grieved as those with hope! (1 Thess. 4).

Prepare Preschoolers for a Postmodern Culture

Our preschool group looked at a photo of the missionary family we studied that month in Mission Friends. We had been learning about this missionary family for a few weeks. I had just finished telling our mission story for the week of how the missionaries tell others about Jesus. One of the 3-year-olds leaned in to look at the picture and asked, “Are they real?” At first, it struck me as an odd question. Of course, they are real. As I thought about it, I realized that this question is indicative of the current times in which photos are altered and what seems to be real may not be the truth.

Searching for reality and truth is part of the postmodern world of which our preschoolers are a part. Preschoolers are growing up with a postmodern worldview that people can determine their own truth. Growing up as postmodernists, preschoolers will also have a much more global worldview than previous generations.

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