Preschool

Project HELP: PTSD 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.

A Leader’s Dilemma: Doing versus Being

woman holding red heart in hands

Leaders are busy people. We can easily begin to believe that God’s purpose for us is to perform in the leadership role we have. After all, we are leading others to be involved in missions around the world. Surely that pleases God, doesn’t it? We want to be sure we are being effective, striving for excellence, and making a valuable contribution to the kingdom of God. We want to use our spiritual gifts in service to show compassion, promote justice, and witness to others. Certainly, these are worthy goals, aren’t they?

The Bible does clearly call us to be disciples. Since the beginning of the church, serving has been a significant part of what Christ’s followers do. However, as leaders it is easy to substitute or confuse serving God with loving God.

Serving God focuses on what we do. We may mistakenly begin to think that the more we do or the better we do it, the more we please God. We work tirelessly, often neglecting our bodies, our families, or other responsibilities, all the while convincing ourselves we are being a great leader in God’s kingdom.

Project HELP: PTSD—How to Use with Preschoolers

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

Discipline Issues: Transition Times

Clapping in transition

A preschooler’s voice sings “Clean up, clean up, everybody clean up.” I look around to see that he is working with another preschooler to stack blocks in the corner. I smile and think, “Wow! It is so great to have preschoolers who are so cooperative!” Then out of the corner of my eye, I see the blanket and foam doll-bed mattress fly through the air on the other side of the room. Instead of cleaning up, two preschoolers are using this transition time to practice their shot put skills. Sigh.

Transition times between activities are sometimes the most difficult when it comes to discipline issues. Preschoolers are finished with one activity and do not yet have the structure of the next activity on the schedule. Many times this is when discipline issues arise. This could be when moving from activity time to Group Time, waiting to wash hands, or when lining up.

Here are some ideas to help preschoolers through transition times.

Developing Leadership Skills

Train, practice, reflect

Merriam-Webster defines skill as “the ability to do something that comes from training, experience, or practice.” If you wanted to learn to run a 5K race, bake a cake, or create a website, you would probably follow these common steps for learning new skills: train, practice, reflect.

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.

Co-Teach and Multiply

Plan together

As spring winds down and summer rolls in, I always begin thinking about our upcoming year in Mission Friends. Who will my new preschoolers be this fall? How much will they already know about missionaries? Will we need to start at the very beginning? Will they know how to interact with one another? What behavior issues will we face? And . . . WHO is going to help me teach?

For many years, I taught solo. We are learning, however, that bringing in co-teachers is a wonderful way to multiply your organizations. Pairing novice teachers with veteran teachers gives the novice an opportunity to observe and learn tried-and-true methods. It gives veteran teachers the opportunity to learn new methods. And, it gives your church a proven training method for developing new leaders.

So how does co-teaching work? Communication is key as you:

Best Planning Tip

Planning with Plan Sheet

For the final assignment in the Develop course Leading Mission Friends, the participants are to reflect on what they will do with what they have learned from the course. In their responses, a few of the leaders have mentioned that they will use the Mission Friends Plan Sheet. One leader wrote, “I will use the planning sheet to map out each month’s Mission Friends sessions. This provides a better layout than the monthly notes I have been using.”

Update from Nathan Knight

Knight family

Restoration Church is in its 6th year of ministry as a church and we are finding that it will be a year of transition. A fair portion of the people who have been with us and bought in for years will be moving from the city and on to other things. This will test how we have been developing leaders. We are praying that the Lord would use this time to see other people seize the opportunity to step in and lead in ways they previously have not.

We also will see a new church planter and his wife move into the city and be a part of our church. We are prayerfully hoping to plant a Spanish-speaking church here in the city next year some time. In the meantime we will be trying to get to know, train, and then send them to reach the Hispanics of DC.

As it relates to prayer requests, please be in prayer for the above as well as asking the Lord to see some radical conversions that serve to glorify the Lord and provide encouragement to the saints here to persevere in the great task of making disciples that delight in the supremacy of Christ.

Products for Mission Friends, Teachers, and Parents

These are just a few of our helpful books, resources and a Mission Friends T-Shirt. Many other books and resources are available as well as finger puppets and other items perfect for your preschool classroom or home! Order using the links to the WMU online store or call 1-800-968-7301.

Mission Friends Guide for Leaders

Mission Friends Guide for Leaders

By encouraging missions education for preschoolers, WMU meets and anticipates the ever-changing needs of your missions efforts. With a comprehensive preschool focus, this guide is essential for missions leaders who are serious about leading preschoolers in Mission Friends.

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