Sometimes people ask me “How?” This question is often asked in reference to my going to a classroom full of wiggly, squirmy, bouncy, energetic preschoolers every week. It’s like—how do you do that? (Maybe the real question is, “Why in the world would you do that? All the time?”)
Easy. I love preschoolers. Generally I relate best to anyone under the age of 6 and no taller than waist-high. Beyond those dimensions, I have to stretch my relational skills.
Anyway, God blessed me with a passion for little guys. I love everything about them. And that’s why teaching them anywhere—and anytime—is one of the greatest things I get to do. It’s a thrill just watching kids soak up learning!
So, back to the “how” questions. How do these short people with even shorter attention spans learn? How do you teach preschoolers about the most important thing in life—Jesus?
This is my short list.
1. Meet kids where they are. Some are ready for new learning. Others aren’t quite there yet.
2. Keep a sharp eye on kids’ developmental levels. Where is a child on the physical, mental, emotional spectrum of skills and abilities?
3. Introduce new information a little at a time, and lay it on a foundation of what is already known and understood. That provides the basis for “ah ha” discoveries.
4. Don’t expect preschoolers to learn anything the first time they hear it, see it, experience it. Repetition and practice are crucial for learning.
5. Stretch kids. Give them something to do and encourage them to find a new way to do it. (Of course, you can’t let their creativity be dangerous or inappropriate.)
6. Kids learn from doing. They have to touch, see, hear, smell, feel, taste. God made them to be naturally hands-on. What we consider play turns out to be the child’s most effective method of exploring, examining, and discovering.
7. Create a friendly environment for learning. Make it safe, warm, nurturing, and inviting.
8. Be real. Love kids for their eagerness to try new things and figure out the world.
9. Make connections. Link Bible ideas, information, new concepts to children’s lives. Make Bible knowledge relevant. Avoid cutesy, symbolic, abstract.
10. If you can, think like a kid! Celebrate kids’ God-designed need to grow and learn. In the end, you’ll make a huge impact in leading children to Jesus.