Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wear the Right Shoes When You Teach Preschoolers

Kim Williams, Member of Ember to Blaze Ministries, Director of Preschool Ministries, First Baptist Woodstock, Georgia.

I like shoes! I enjoy finding just the right pair for an outfit. As teachers, we need to wear one adult sized and one child sized shoe. Our adult sized shoes remind us that it is our job to train up our children. Child sized shoes remind us to train from the children’s perspective. Try on these child sized pairs: 

Love is an action. Yes, preschoolers need to hear that they are loved, but they also need tangible acts of love. Meeting their physical needs, interacting with them person to person, conversing; listening, or spending time with them one on one are all tangible examples of love. LOVE is important because preschoolers learn through relationships.

Preschoolers need to know that teachers are consistent in their actions and dealings with them. It is important that their feelings and thoughts can be safely and respectfully shared with you, even if it is something you may need to challenge.   TRUST builds security and preschoolers need security.

Preschoolers need to know that they have worth.  Tap into their skills and talents. Tell them what they contribute to your classroom that is positive and unique to them. Let them know that, although an action or attitude may not be acceptable, they are always valued by you. ACCEPTANCE allows preschoolers to be creative and learn to understand themselves and God as they play and complete tasks.

Adults need to provide opportunity for preschoolers to make safe decisions and to do things on their own and for themselves as is appropriate. Safe decision making also allows preschoolers to feel positive and negative consequences. Independence help preschoolers understand that they are parts of society where they can function with and among others.

Teachers need to help children differentiate acceptable and unacceptable behavior. This includes guiding them to proper behavior, helping them know how to handle emotions properly, responding (not reacting) to behavior that is not correct, and modeling for them what you expect from them. Proper GUIDANCE helps a preschooler feel less frustrated and understand how to function within boundaries.

Teaching shoes can sometimes squeeze and we prefer to kick ‘em off— but we can’t. As leaders in ministry, we need to always let our feet be stylin’!