One of the very first steps to setting up our Early Childhood environments for a win is to set realistic expectations. I’m talking about expectations that set us up to win and to keep on winning and keep on winning and keep on winning. The issue is that these wins have to be defined by each leader on a unique level, and have to be defined for each church based on the win for that body of Christ in that location.
I’ve defined 3 “Next Steps” for helping us define the win where we are. These things have to be done for us to begin to attempt being successful for Nursery and Preschool children and their families.
1. Know Your Kids. Really, really, really know the kids you teach and lead. Do we know their families? Do we know their siblings? Do we know what could be happening in their lives away from church?
It’s a gigantic cop-out to say that our churches are too busy or too large to find these things out. Each kid has a unique story, and if we take the time to find it out we can then take our ministry to a new level.
What does this look like? It looks like teachers praying for parents in the hallways, and fathers that don’t attend church coming for the first time. It looks like teachers knowing the birthdays of their kids and kids celebrating the uniqueness of their teachers with gifts and hugs.
2. Learn what s developmentally normal. Take the time to make your leaders as educated as possible on age appropriateness. There are books, blogs, and information galore on this topic. Why not take the time to put it all out there when you do teacher training? Why not add some notes and helpful hints along the way for your leaders? Why not use these?
3. Pray. Let me guess. You forget this one sometimes, right? Let the Holy Spirit lead, in spite of what your developmentally or cognitively know about your class. The Lord desires to have your true leading from Him. Make prayer a priority for your class and classroom leaders.