“I’m brave and ready for change” isn’t usually the mantra of a preschooler on the day he’s moving to a new situation. He’s more likely to say, “Will my friends be there? Is Mr. Mike still my leader? Will you remember where to pick me up? What if I need to use the bathroom?” Confidence was the name of my game as a preschooler unless I wasn’t prepared ahead of time or there was too much chaos.
Since uncertainty is the enemy of feeling secure, both leaders and parents need to prepare each preschooler with information and experiences that equip him to move on out and up with joyful enthusiasm.
- Prepare kids to move on up.
- Small group and large group leaders need to use the name of your elementary department often as you prepare for the move.
- Preschool large group leader takes kids to visit opening segment of the elementary large group a couple of times before the move. I usually brought them in without the older kids present.
- Current small group leader takes kids for a walk to see the next hallway and peek in the room(s)
- Have a “Post-it” party. Get them excited about the move by creating a wall of their artwork to make the new environment “MINE”.
- A leader or character from elementary comes to visit 2-3 times to tell the kids what to expect.
- Learn a verse, a poem or a song they’ll do during the first month.
- Provide promotion buttons that say, “I’m movin’ on up”
- Provide a removable movin’ on up “cling” or sticker for car, bedroom window or mirror.
- Partner with parents for the transition
- Familiar music brings joy and calms the heart, so suggest music kids will hear in their new large group. Provide links to downloads, CD’s & DVD’s. Now kids can learn the new music in the car & at home.
- Throw a fun open House after services for kids and parents to visit the new digs.
- Provide schedule, scope and sequence of lessons that are graphically interesting and understandable for parents. There’s nothing better than a parent knowing the story that’s yet to be revealed at church.
- Include maps of facilities for parents. Instruct parents to show the kids the map and assure them they know how to get there and where to pick them up.
- Advise parents of the names of each child’s small group leader so they can use the specific names to prepare the way. “You are one fortunate kiddo! Miss Laura was your sister’s leader too.”
On the first day a child enters his new environment we want him to say, “This is MY place. It’s where I belong!”
Hearts are changed and understanding flourishes where children find a home and caring relationships.
Both adults and kids need the comfort of being expected, loved and known. Jesus knew the heart of man when he said, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father.” John 10:14-15