Next Steps in Teaching Mission Friends

Planning to train

Professional teachers are required to take career development courses in order to keep current with trends in education and to glean fresh new ideas. Professional development helps us bring best practices into our classrooms. For teachers in the church, professional development is not required, but it certainly benefits our children and our ministry to gain as much training as possible.

Because most of us who work in preschool or children’s ministry also have many responsibilities with our families and homes and careers, our discretionary time is limited. Scheduling additional time for weekend or evening conferences can be difficult. We know that your time is precious, so we offer a number of resources that will help you keep up-to-date with trends in teaching at church, as well as the tried-and-true methods of working with preschoolers.

Here are a few ways you can learn more about teaching preschoolers—without ever leaving your home!

Caring for Families

Caring for families

A time of anxiety in a family comes when a family member has a serious or extended illness. When a parent, sibling, or grandparent has a serious illness, this can be traumatic for a preschooler as normal family routines are changed and the parents may not be present all the time. When a preschooler has an extended illness, there is the trauma of multiple doctor visits, hospital stays, needles, and treatments. If broken limbs are involved, there is the issue of keeping the preschooler immobile for a period of time. This would be traumatic on the entire family.

As a preschool teacher, you may have a preschooler or one of their family members who becomes ill for an extended period of time. Since you are a familiar person to the preschooler and his or her family, you serve in a position in which you can minister to this family. Consider ways in which to serve a family in which there is a serious illness. 

When a Preschooler Is Afraid

Frightened preschooler

A few times recently in Mission Friends®, we have had one child left for a while after the other preschoolers have been picked up by their parents. Most have been OK with this as we continued playing. But one time I could tell that the preschooler became anxious. She made comments like, “I’m the only one left,” and “Where is my mom?”

When we think of preschoolers’ fears, we tend to think of a traumatic event that has happened to cause them to be afraid. We think of events such as a tornado or car accident. Some preschoolers will also become fearful in situations that are less traumatic. I have been in a store and seen the frightened look on a preschooler’s face when he lost sight of his mother, even though she was only a few steps away and knew where he was. Some preschoolers also become fearful when a situation is out of the ordinary or out of their routine. In the case of my Mission Friend above, her train of thought may lead her to think, “If Mommy usually picks me up at the same time as the other children, what if this means she is not coming for me?” This is a scary thought for a preschooler.

Talking to Parents

talking to parents

A preschooler’s parent might say to you, “Let me know what I can do to help.” Talk with this parent about being involved by giving a hand with Helping Others activities for preschoolers. We want preschoolers to have experiences in making things or doing things to share Jesus’ love with others. Planning and organizing Helping Others activities is a perfect way to involve a parent in helping in their preschooler’s activities at church.

Understanding Preschoolers: Spiritual Growth

Christian Concept areas

Active, full of energy, and imaginative are a few words to describe preschoolers. We can see their growth physically, mentally, socially, and emotionally. What about their spiritual growth? How do we know that preschoolers are growing spiritually? Read over the following lists for an overview of ways we can see their spiritual growth.

Attention-Grabbing Group Time: Closing

group time

Think of the Group Time you had in Mission Friends® last week. You had a great way of introducing the mission story, kept the preschoolers engaged with your storytelling skills, and shared in Prayertime with your preschoolers. What happened after you said “Amen”? Keep your preschoolers engaged with a strong closing to your Group Time.

For each session in Mission Friends, the Group Time plans include a suggestion for a closing activity. The closing activities are designed to do one of the following purposes.

Decode the WMU Emphasis for Preschoolers

by all means

Love God and love others. This is one of the teachings of Jesus that we want to teach our preschoolers through missions discipleship. As we look at the By All Means emphasis of WMU, one of the purposes of the emphasis is to encourage us as believers to create opportunities to demonstrate the love of Christ. We can express this purpose to preschoolers by helping them realize ways they can show God’s love to others.

  • Talk with preschoolers about the ways Jesus showed love to others. Use Bible stories that give examples of ways Jesus showed love to others, such as the stories of Jesus healing the blind man, feeding the people, or loving the children. Use a book such as Good Things Jesus Did to help you talk about how Jesus showed love to others.

  • Say the following Bible thoughts with your preschoolers.

Connect the Dots

connect the dots

Our task was to connect the dots continuously, without raising the pencil from the paper. The conference leader gave us a handout with a grid of nine dots (Photo 1). After several minutes of agonizing to complete the task, she showed us the answer to the problem. The line had to be drawn outside of the grid of dots (Photo 2). We needed to think outside the box or grid in order to accomplish the task.

2017 Mission Friends Christmas in August

Christmas in August

1. Select one missionary from the list.

2. Send home a note encouraging families to participate with their child. A note you can fill in is at on the Free Downloads page. List items the missionary requests. Remind parents that all gifts should be new.

3. Leave the gifts unwrapped.

4. Send only the items requested because storage can be a problem.

5. If Mission Friends® make cards for the missionary, remind them that they may not hear back from that person because it takes the missionaries lots of time and costs money to write and mail notes to all the churches who send gifts.

The missionaries expressed gratitude for your support when they sent their requests. They are excited about receiving these items.

Ministering to Military Families

military family

With Memorial Day, we remember with gratitude those who have given their lives for our country. On this day, we also turn our thoughts and prayers to those who currently serve in our military. We share this article with you again for ideas on ministering to military families.

You may be near a military base with many military personnel, have one military family in your church, or have a family with a member in the National Guard or Reserves. As a preschool leader in the church, this is an opportunity for you to serve these families in a special way. As they entrust their preschooler to you while at church, this may open doors for you to reach out to military families. There are also opportunities to minister to military families outside the church.

Each military family has its own strengths and needs. Use these ideas as possibilities for ministry to the needs of military families. Realize that these are ideas for ministry to any military family, not just to those with a family member who has PTSD. Following are ways to give care and support to all military families.


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