Overarching themes: Consistency, repetition, joy, fun, Positive, show the love of Jesus, Do unto others as you would have them to unto you.
There are two really good Youtube channels with good positive preschool tips on them.
Positive Preschool Tips and Play to Learn Preschool
I will be referencing some things from these channels today.
You drive cattle, you lead sheep.
Set yourself and the children up for success.
Plan ahead – read over lesson ahead of time and be over-prepared (have back up plan for crafts, songs, videos) You need to have enough to do, but also have some margin in there for mishaps, extra bathroom trips, time to get them settled for the next activity, etc. Make sure you know each child’s name (and use it often in class) and make sure you introduce yourself and your helper to any child that doesn’t know you.
We want to set a good atmosphere. Show them Jesus. Love is patient, love is kind….We dont want them to just learn about the Bible, but really see and experience the Love of Christ through you. Joyful and fun environment.
Values are not just taught, but caught.
I follow the Curriculum guide, in order, minus the CD music. Keeping the same general schedule will help keep order also because they will know what to expect. (Consistency)
Young children have a short attention span and preschoolers need to move. The curriculum is
laid out so you have some time sitting,and some active time. If the curriculum has movements or motions while you are telling the story, do it that way because that will help keep them active and engaged.
Likewise, when moving to the tv for the Buzzley Bee DVD, when it’s time for the dancing and singing part, do it with them. Have them up, worshipping the Lord and let them see worshipping God is fun.
In making your story time fun, make eye contact and be animated. Example
Use their names a lot, in a positive way, a kinds way, not yelling their name. You want to show them they are valuable, they deserve respect; model what you want to see from them.
You do need to keep order and do need to be firm, but yelling should be a very rare thing.
Example during story time. Example during correcting.
Children want to be heard. Listening to them shows love. We can’t listen to every story everybody wants to tell us or we’d be there all day and never get to the lesson, but, I will usually listen to a story or
two, but then tell them I really want to hear that, but tell me after our story ok? They will have stories to tell you at any point, during story time, before prayer, snack time, etc. Later during snack time or coloring time, I will try to engage each child in some way. Admire their coloring, or what they made, compliment them in some way, how they’ve behaved or their smile or their new shoes, new dress, etc.
When you need to get their attention you can use individual names and really you don’t have to yell. You can put your hand on a child’s shoulder and say “Josh you need to sit down now.” Surprise, but when you yell, you are training them to #1 Learn to tune you out or #2 Only respond to yelling. A lot of times you can get them to listen to you by whispering or lowering your voice. Example on Positive Preschool Tips: “I’ve got a secret. I want to tell you something really important, but you have to listen…are you ready?? Are you sure? Ok…
Another way to get their attention and to get the class quiet when you need them to is to tell them to “catch a bubble”, eyes on me and listening ears on. This is fun and they will usually all do it.
Keep instruction positive. Rather than say what you don’t want them to do, say what you do want them to do. Example: Instead of “Don’t stand on the table” say “Feet on the floor”
When you say don’t stand on the table, they hear stand and table. You want them to remember feet and floor. You can use one of many positive, fun songs to encourage cooperation such as
“I like how Jamie’s sitting, I like how Jamie’s sitting, I like how Jamie’s sitting, can you sit like her?” Music and singing is a useful tool to help children to remember and learn in a fun, joyful way as well as to help them want to do what you are wanting them to do.
Turn instructions into a song. For sitting on the floor with hands in lap: “Open them shut them, open them shut them, give a little clap, clap, clap, Open them shut them, open them shut them, lay them in your lap, lap, lap. Or a clean up song, walking feet song, etc.
You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.
Children’s Church is so important to children. I saw a statistic that said 85% of Christians accept Jesus between 4 and 14 years old. Their most important influence is their parents and family, but next is children’s ministry. You aren’t just babysitting, you really are influencing them for God.
Show them Jesus
Pray over those who will be in your class and ask Him to show up and He will!
He wants them to know Him the most of all!
What a privilege it is to get to teach God’s children!
You’re storing up your treasures in Heaven, giving of the time God has given you to serve and to share Jesus’ love and truth with others!