Preschool Leaders

Ways to Use the Mission Friends Promotion Pack

Mission Friends

Have you heard about the Mission Friends Promotion Pack? This pack offers great resources for enriching your Mission Friends’ experience.

The Promotion Pack contains posters to go with each Christian concept area, an allergy alert chart, postcards, 2 Missions Friends promotional posters, and the Mission Friends song. You will find that these resources can be used in a variety of ways.

Christian concept area posters with Bible thoughts

Thoughts from WMU Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting

Defining Moments

What stands out the most to me as I reflect on the WMU Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, this year? You might think that I would say the heat and the fact that I did not see a cloud in the sky the entire time. No, the thing that stands out most to me is the people. I am thinking of the people I met for the first time and the people who are already friends that I was able to catch up with. Not only did I see people at our main sessions and conference breakouts, but I also spent time in the WMU booth in the exhibit hall for the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). Let me share about some of the people and their stories.

I was excited to hear how Nadine Peterson’s church in the Phoenix area is using Mission Friends® in a different way. Nadine’s church has a child-care center during the week, and for 3 days each week church members have a Story Time with the preschoolers in the child-care program. They use the mission stories in Mission Friends Leader as part of their storytelling each week. What a creative way to instill a missions heart within the preschoolers!

Impressions from Guatemala

Joye with kids

The people and place of Guatemala have a special place in my heart after going to Guatemala on a missions trip several years ago. I served with Orphan’s Heart at the Child Malnutrition Center in central Guatemala. Orphan’s Heart is a ministry of Florida Baptist Children’s Homes. Our missions team was made up of WMU members from across Florida, and I was so blessed to join this team for an incredible week of giving care to about 100 preschoolers under the age of 5 years. We served alongside their caregivers in playing, singing, feeding, bathing, and dressing the preschoolers throughout the day. During the week, I spent most of my days with the preschoolers who were just learning to walk. I spent part of a day with the infants, and another part day with the 3–4 year olds.

Questions about Develop Online Training

Joye Smith

The part I like best about our online Develop training courses is that I get to interact with you, the Mission Friends® leaders. I so enjoy the correspondence back and forth with each leader who has taken one of the preschool Develop courses. Most of the leaders I have never met in person, but I feel like I know them as they go through the courses. Even though the training is online, that does not mean that it is impersonal. This has been the most pleasant surprise for me as we developed the online courses to include contact between the course participant and Mission Friends consultant.

In thinking about the preschool Develop courses, I thought I would answer a few questions that I am asked about the online training.

  • What is included in the preschool Develop courses? Each of the preschool courses include several short instructional videos, handouts, and interactive assignments.

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.

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