Kids read people… SO wear a smile and a loving heart on your sleeve.
Preschool kiddos are on a brain train express. Every experience and little learning moment make impressions on what they know and how they process information. It all begins the moment they approach the classroom door. You’ve seen it happen. The greeter who delights in each child sends the clear, unspoken message, “I think you’re an awesome, special kid and I’m so glad you’re here!”
It’s the beginning of learning, “Someone, outside my family, loves me!”
Later, when this leader sings each child’s name in a song about Jesus’ love, their heart begins to make a personal connection to the message. Their eyes, ears and experiences were touched by love, gentleness and encouragement by someone “with skin on”.
Our littlest learners need us to demonstrate the biblical concepts of love, kindness and sharing in real life…. Otherwise… they are just words.
The heart of what we do with preschoolers involves building relationships. Doing things together changes “clean up time” from busy-ness or controlled chaos to a learning experience about co-operation, consideration, sharing, kindness and helping. Nothing is more exciting than spreading soapy water on the snack table and hearing a loving leader say, “Good job, Liam. You are an amazing helper!” Suddenly, the Bible concepts we talk about are reinforced and made “real” in context.
Even our good-bye’s teach truth. “Say hi to your big brother, George, for me!” OR “Tell me a story about your puppy when you come next time.”
We can send clear messages from beginning to end of each class time.
I know you. You are my friend. You are cherished and loved.
A parent told me about her son’s spontaneous outburst in the car one Sunday, “My teacher just LOVES me.”
All I can say is, “That leader is a keeper!”
“We love, because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
And whatever you do or say, do it all as a representative of Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Colossians 3:17 (NLT)
Karen Apple is a former children’s minister who started two weekday preschools in Charlotte, NC. Now she equips and encourages leaders as they bring the good news of God’s great love to kids. She adores Apples, especially her husband, Steve. You can find Karen on twitter: www.twitter.com/KarenApple