Building Relationship with Children
As you begin a new church year and children move into new classrooms with new leaders, consider ways to build relationships with the children. Review the enrollment records for each group or classroom of children. Assign 5 or 6 children to each teacher in that classroom for purpose of contacting, visiting, and mentoring.
Provide the teachers with the addresses, phone numbers, and birthdays of the assigned children as well as their parents’ names for purposes of contacting.
Leaders are more likely to maintain contact (letters, phone calls, emails, visits) when they are assigned a few children rather than several children.
Ensuring a Good Time for All
As we begin a new church year and as new children enter your classroom/department, consider writing a letter to each family whose child is in your classroom at church house.
First, give brief information about yourself—why you’re teaching; how long been been a Christ-follower; what you enjoy about teaching at church house.
Secondly, share briefly your goals for the new learning year—children learn to cooperate; children learn consideration of others; children have opportunity to make choices; children learn in ways that excite them, etc. You might give the parents your home phone number or email address.
Thirdly, ask parents to let you know important information about their children—child stops his medication on weekends; child’s pet died over the weekend; child visits the non-custodial parent on weekends; child has a reading difficulty, etc.
Fourthly, suggest ways that parents might be involved in the spiritual growth of their children.
Might you write a letter to the parents each month, relating to them the upcoming study—the Bible people to be studied; the Bible ideas/concepts (honesty, integrity, courage, etc.) to be internalized; Bible verses; learning methods (i.e., we’re writing a drama this month.) to be used as well as your joy in having the opportunity to partner with them in helping their children to be like Jesus?
Preschoolers and cooking experiences
When using an electric skillet with preschoolers, place the skillet in a cardboard box that is similar in size to the skillet, yet being 2” or 3” taller than the skillet. To stir the ingredients in the skillet, the preschooler must bend his wrist; thus, he avoids touching the skillet with his arm & getting burned.
Know how to make a circle with preschoolers?
Often preschool teachers say to the children, “Join hands and make a circle.” The preschoolers stand still, looking at the leader. A better approach is to say to the preschoolers, “Let’s make a line by joining hands.” The leader then begins singing a song (any song will do.) while moving the preschoolers around the room. In a few minutes, the leader will have the children moving in a circle.
Stop singing; stand still; ask the preschoolers to drop hands. “Look at the wonderful circle you’ve made!”
What about play-dough?
Many teachers choose not to use play-dough with their preschoolers. Why? One reason is that the teachers don’t want play-dough to get into the carpet.
Solution for play-dough in carpet: Purchase 3 or 4 brightly colored plastic trays (avoiding fantasy characters) from a discount store. Talk with the preschoolers that the play-dough remains on the trays. What happens if the play-dough leaves the trays for another “toy” or another part of the room? The preschooler loses the “fun” of playing with the play-dough and must choose another activity.
Preschooler learns to keep the play-dough on the tray; his learning may need 3 or 4 gentle reminders from the teacher/leader. The leader must follow-through with removing the child from the play-dough.
Ever considered making play-dough, especially with older preschoolers, allowing them to do the measuring, pouring, and stirring? You may add wild colors and various scents…..a wonderful, wonderful learning experience for preschoolers! And great fun!
Planting a Garden at the Church House
What if we planted tomato plants this time of year? Would they have enough time to develop a root system to withstand the summer temperatures? Is there space at your church house to plant a small vegetable and flower garden? Consider planting such a garden (perhaps in 2007) that older preschoolers and perhaps first & second graders would care for—plant, pull weeds, check weekly, harvest the produce.
Why a garden with older preschooler and younger children? In addition to children learning math and science concepts, children learn about stewardship of the earth, continuity of the seasons, God’s provisions, joy in God’s Creation—all Biblical and theological concepts. I know one elementary teacher who, each year, planted a garden at the school house with her 4th graders.
Can’t keep up with puzzle pieces?
Using a fine tip permanent marker, label the sides of the wooden preschool puzzles with the name of the puzzle. Give a number to each puzzle. On the backs of the puzzle pieces, use a permanent marker to mark the corresponding number. When a puzzle piece is lost and found, the appropriate puzzle is easily located, using the matching numbers.
You might store the wooden puzzles in one gallon zip-lock plastic bags. Storing in plastic bags is helpful when puzzles are dropped or turned upside down.
Remember to wipe the puzzles with antiseptic cloth after use by preschoolers.
Preschoolers and Crayons
Know all those preschool crayons and washable markers that are thrown into boxes in your classroom? What if we use these crayons and markers to increase a preschooler’s pre-science skills? Using juice cans or plastic containers, indicate on the individual containers, one color per container.—purple crayons are to be placed in container with purple lettering or purple paper; red markers are to be placed in container with red letter or red paper, etc. Follow the same procedure for 8 basic colors. This helps the preschooler with his classification skills.
Children and Postcards
As you plan for your summer vacation, plan to take a listing of the names and addresses of the names of boys and girls in your classroom at church with you. Send the children postcards of the places you visit on your vacation. Be sure to include a message “I’m praying for you while I’m away. See you soon!”