Tips For Teaching Preschoolers in Your Children’s Ministry

Tips For Teaching Preschoolers in Your Children’s Ministry

Don’t you love the preschool ages? They are so much fun! Of course, they can be a challenge, too. And even scary for inexperienced teachers suddenly thrown into the lion’s den…errr…3-year-old room.

No matter what type of preschool you run, the job is always the same. The safety of the children comes first. Each preschool will vary in what activities they get the children to engage in. To have your own say in how a preschool runs, you could always consider looking at KLA Schools to see if they have any franchising opportunities available. That way, you can have a role in your children’s educational development. However, there are many daycare centers already running, so make sure yours can offer something different.

Regardless of the challenges, we have to remember that this is one of the most critical age groups when it comes to spiritual formation. What happens during this developmental stage will largely shape who they are and what they believe for the rest of their lives. Now, ideally, much investment is being made at home by their primary spiritual influencers – Mom & Dad – but here are a few tips for teaching preschoolers in the church:

Tips For Teaching Preschoolers in Your Children’s Ministry

Truth matters

We’re not going to go into great detail from the Bible with this age group, but I’ve seen this understanding translated into “Well, it really doesn’t matter how we tell the story.” Yes, it does! The truth of God’s Word is just that – truth! And it matters in our teaching regardless of the age of the audience…even preschoolers.

Brevity rules

A good rule of thumb is that you’ve got about 1 minute worth of attention per year of the child’s age. So you’ve got roughly 3 minutes with a 3-year-old. Of course, it varies and a truly engaging activity or a well-told story might extend the time frame. But this means that, in planning your teaching, you ought to plan on moving to a new activity within these parameters.

Flexibility rocks

The name of the game with preschoolers (and really, any age group) is flexibility. If you’ve ever taught this age group, you know that they ask some amazing questions! And they are capable of understanding far more than we often give them credit for. When a great question happens, or when an activity is obviously failing, or when circumstances are different than expected (class size is much larger, you’ve got a “screamer” in the class, etc.), be ready to flex.

Questions abound

As I said, this age group can ask some amazing questions. What’s your plan? Be ready to know how you want to respond to unexpected questions. A good template might be something like this:

  • Affirm the question positively
  • Answer briefly if you can
  • If it’s a significant question (ie. regarding salvation), “flex” and take the class in that direction in order to share the truth with all of your kids
  • Follow up with the child later, either to answer more completely or ensure understanding
  • Share with the parents what the child asked so they can continue the conversation at home

Repetition reinforces

I’m so glad my boys are grown now, if for no other reason than I don’t have to watch The Lion King over and over and over and over … you get the idea! But there’s a reason why they loved to watch things over and over – it’s a “learning mechanism” that helps reinforce what they are seeing or hearing (often for the first time). So, in your classroom, keep the main point short and simple and find ways to reinforce it through repetition over and over again. Do different activities with the same point. Tell the story and let them act it out, then watch a short video – all with the same point. Let your conversations lead back to the same point throughout the session. Repetition reinforces learning, especially in this age group.

I’m no expert when it comes to preschoolers, but I’ve learned these few ideas really do work.

What tips for teaching preschoolers would you add?

(please share in comments below)

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Greg Baird
Founder of Children's Ministry Leader at Children's Ministry Leader
My passion is seeing the lives of children transformed. I believe the best way to do that is to equip leaders in the local church to serve children, volunteers and parents to invest in the lives of children at church and in the home. That?s what we do here at Children?s Ministry Leader ? equip leaders to create healthy Children?s & Family Ministry.
I serve as the Vice President of Global Resources in the Global Mission department at David C. Cook.

I love what I do as it is the outflow of 25 years of ministry experience as Children?s, Family & Administrative Pastor, consultant, trainer, speaker and short-term missions leader.

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Here’s a great resource to offer your families, created by our friends Sweet Sleep. And it’s free!

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#VBS #SweetSleepWelcome to the Sweet Sleep Family Experience!
Join us this summer as we explore what life is like for children and families in Uganda. The program is designed to help families have fun experiences together, while learning some important truths about how God provides True Rest, and how we can learn to love and serve others as He calls us to do.

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Stop begging trying to fill the needs in your ministry! IF people respond, it will likely be only short term. Obligatory service doesn’t inspire people to stick around.

Instead, understand the grand vision we are pursuing by investing in children’s lives for eternity!

Practice articulating that vision and start sharing it in every conversation. It’s a privilege and honor to be part of such important service, so INVITE people into that opportunity.

And, of course, never forget the foundation for building our team, found in Luke 10:2: “These were his [Jesus’] instructions to them: ‘The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.’”

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