Today’s post is taken from the book Enduring Connections. It is one of the best books on preschool and children’s ministry I’ve ever read.
The book focuses on ministry to younger people, and the author has some wisdom that applies to all leaders who teach preschoolers and gradeschool children. Here in her own words is Janice Haywood, about making the most of Bible study for preschoolers and children:
The key to excellent Bible learning for preschoolers as well as gradeschoolers is engaging them in active learning. The teacher is the most important key to a good learning session, so consistency and competency are vital…Preschoolers and gradeschoolers have preferences about how they learn best…Finding the balance of enjoyment and learning is the goal of a good teacher and a good teaching/learning session. A good preschool Bible study session will inlcude most of these elements:
- Materials used or displayed in the room appear current to the lesson being taught.
- The room is arranged by activity areas or centers rather than chairs around a group of tables.
- Children have ample space in the room to move around freely.
- The room does not look cluttered or stuffed with furniture and toys.
- The older preschoolers are allowed to choose their own activities at their or pace rather than everyone doing the same activity at the same time.
- Younger preschoolers have a few toys/activities from which to choose rather than tubs or shelves full of toys to be strewn all over the floor.
- The activities allow children to be creative and express themselves.
- Teachers are prepared and ready to receive the first child who arrives.
A good grade-school Bible study session will include most of these elements:
- The Bible is used throughout the session by teachers and children.
- A variety of activities and methods are provided for the different learning styles of children – visual, auditory, active doing.
- Teachers sometimes relate individually to children rather than just to the group.
- Students are led to disover ways of applying the Bible to life today.
- Teachers encourage learners through honest praise and genuine caring.
- Children and teachers pray together.
- Teachers help children discover answers and equip children to find answers by guiding their learning rather than lecturing.
To learn more about the intricacies of teaching preschoolers and children, pick up a copy of the book Enduring Connections and put into practice author Janice Haywood’s advice about ministry to the youngest people in our congregations.
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