“Remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 1:3 (ESV)
Monday, September 1, is recognized as Labor Day in the United States. Sunday, August 31, is the last day of the church year at First Baptist Church, Fort Oglethorpe. As we celebrate those who labor in our nation, it is only fitting that we celebrate those who have labored this past church year on behalf of our preschoolers. Theirs has truly been a labor of love.
We have had a dedicated staff of Christian teachers who have taught the children with love and age-appropriate activities. They have repeated Bible stories as well as Bible thoughts and verses. They have cleaned rooms and materials, mixed paints, hunted a variety of art and craft materials, shared pictures and made pictures, hosted picnics and parties, and devoted themselves to their Lord and His little ones. We appreciate our Preschool Division teachers!
Related to Sunday School, we appreciate the Extended Session teachers who have volunteered their time. Many times it was the Sunday School teachers who remained with their class. At other times, it was parents, grandparents, and church members who love our children. We appreciate the Extended Session volunteers!
There have been several people we have relied upon in Sunday School to be our substitute teachers. There are times when everyone must be absent due to illness, vacations, etc. We have been able to depend on a wonderful group of substitute teachers, and have pressed other preschool family members into use when needed. We appreciate these fellow laborers as well!
When our labor has ended, we each will give an account of what we have done for God. Those who have labored faithfully among our preschoolers will no doubt bring a smile to the face of Jesus.
First Baptist Church of Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, is having a block party to celebrate the new Saturday night worship called Ignite. The block party will be on August 23 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. There will be hot dogs, popcorn, and inflatables. You are welcome to attend.
Each Sunday during Sunday School, preschoolers are given the opportunity to enjoy blocks in the preschool rooms. Blocks give the children opportunities to use their large muscles for building. They begin, as toddlers, carrying the larger blocks around. As they mature, they begin to make roads with blocks, or stack them on top of each other. As their imagination and creativity expand, they begin to make other, more difficult structures with the blocks. Our Sunday School teachers talk with the block builders, and suggest ways the structures might fit in with the Bible story of the day.
The blocks force children to make decisions. They decide which block to use for their purpose. They decide how tall to make a structure, Our rule is no higher than your chin for safety purposes. They learn to work with others to build a joint structure, or to ask for blocks needed that someone else has. They learn to keep the blocks within the block area. When the block play is over, the children learn to put away the blocks in the proper place on the shelves.
The teachers interact with the children as they play. They talk about sharing with others, taking care of things, respecting other children, and being kind. They also talk about the Bible verses and thoughts for the day.
After you enjoy the Ignite block party on Saturday, be sure to bring your preschooler to Sunday School so he or she can enjoy some time with the other kind of blocks.
Children quickly outgrow some of their toys and other things with which they play. Soon they are taking up space that could be used for something else. We do not want to see them thrown away, but have a hard time deciding what to do with them. Often, preschool families have a wonderful idea – give them to the church!
Preschool teachers like to accept things new to their room. On the other hand, they must be sure that the toys or equipment meet certain guidelines. North Carolina Baptists have resources for preschool teachers. One of them gives typical guidance on evaluating toys and equipment for their use in the preschool area. See
Equipment and Materials Guidelines
Guidelines for Choosing Preschool Equipment and Toys
• Is this toy or piece of equipment age appropriate?
• Can this toy be used in various ways?
• How often will this piece of equipment or toy be used?
• Can this piece of equipment or toy withstand heavy use?
• Does the toy have sharp edges?
• Are there any small pieces that might be broken off and swallowed by a child?
• Is the toy made from non-toxic and nonflammable materials?
• Can the moving parts of the toy pinch or trap a child’s finger?
• Is the toy realistic or is it cartoon/fantasy-based?
In addition to these guidelines, our teachers look for toys that can be cleaned and sanitized for the next child’s use – especially with the babies and toddlers who tend to put things in their mouths. We try to keep everyone healthy and germ free.
If you donate something to the church which would not hold up to heavy use, we may pass it along to another parent with a child just old enough to enjoy the toy.
We appreciate your thinking of the church’s preschoolers. Our preschool suite is used constantly when there are activities at the church, and for our weekday Child Development Center.
Many area schools, including preschools, have started classes, and others will within the next couple of weeks. Our First Baptist Church, Fort Oglehtorpe, Child Development Center will begin after Labor Day. How can you be sure your child will have a good year?
No doubt you have met at least one of the teachers. Chances are they were meeting with the families of all of their children. While most are good with names, they may not hear much else of what you say. If there is a health issue or other pressing information, write it down to hand to the teacher. If possible, wait for about a week and ask for a conference with the teacher. Use that time to tell the ways your child is special. Ask how you can help your child at home with what they will learn during the year. Give the teacher a way to communicate with you, whether by text message, email, or other media. Thank the teacher for his or her time.
As you talk with the teacher, find out how you may be involved in the school. Some teachers like for families to help with activities they can do at home such as cutting out pieces for games, calendars, etc. Some may want some help with in-class arts and crafts. You may be asked to read with a child. The most important thing is that your child sees you involved with their school.
Be certain that the school is a good fit for your child. There are a variety of different philosophical approaches to providing early childhood education. The National Association for the Education of Young Children offers tips to help you make sure the program you are considering is one of quality. See http://families.naeyc.org/what-to-look-for-in-a-program.
Pray for your child, your child’s teachers, and the school or day care you have chosen. Pay attention to what your child tells you about his or her day. Encourage them to tell about their day in their own words. You will be providing support for your child, as well as helping their oral skills needed for learning to read.
Have a wonderful year!
There is much emphasis on getting children ready for school in August. The businesses spend a lot of money advertising things they tell you the children need in order to be ready for school. The states are offering tax-free days for us to be able to afford the things the children will need for school. There are some material things the children need for school, but those are not the most critical things they need.
There is a group called “Georgia Early Alliance for Ready Students.” (See http://geears.org/) As their home page states: “The most rapid period of brain development occurs during the first five years of life. In the first few years, 700 new neural connections are formed every second through the interaction of genes and a baby’s environment and experiences. These connections build the foundation upon which all learning, behavior and health depend.”
The children who are most ready for school are those who have had many experiences with various objects and situations. They have been talked with every day and had an opportunity to expand their vocabularies. Adults or older siblings have read them books and talked about the stories. They have been allowed to learn problem-solving strategies and experiment with their own solutions to simple situations. They have had an opportunity to work and play with other children in social situations. They have parents who have encouraged their creativity whether in visual arts or performing arts.
Much research shows the importance of quality early education experiences for children. At First Baptist Church of Fort Oglethorpe, our weekday education program in our Child Development Center provides such experiences. For information, check out the church’s website at http://www.fbcfo.org.
Each Sunday morning, our Preschool Division teachers in Sunday School strive to provide developmentally appropriate experiences that help develop positive neural connections within a biblical context. As children build with blocks, work puzzles, paint pictures, wash babies (dolls), and pretend to cook meals, they are hearing the weekly Bible story and Bible thoughts and verses. The relationships established with other children builds social skills compatible with Christian principles. The interactions with the teachers help them understand that people at church love and care for them.
Getting ready for school takes time and effort. There is no cost involved in coming to Sunday School. We are honored to partner with you in helping your child grow and develop spiritually as well as cognitively, socially, emotionally, and physically.
“Look at me!” How many times a day does your preschooler say that phrase? For most children, it would be dozens of times each day. They are exploring, creating, using new skills, and working on their individuality when they implore you to give them attention.
As it turns out, our adult reaction to that phrase can impact your child’s learning. An article titled The Importance of the “Look at Me” Moment, by Sari Harrar, tells about research done on this subject. The research was done by Concordia University in Canada. Adults that gave quality attention to the children when they used that phrase had better cooperation of the children when they tried to teach a new skill. The author of the article concluded: “It seems a love of learning – and of working with other people in order to learn — has its roots in what you do when they yell LOOK AT ME!”
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/healthy_kids/The-Importance-of-the-Look-at-Me-Moment.html#3RdGXQbWxQQKoZXg.99
Most children crave our attention. Some will take it whether it is good or bad – just so it is our undivided attention. In Preschool Sunday School at First Baptist Church, Ft. Oglethorpe, we have low class sizes so that our adults can give each child the attention he or she needs. We want the children to know that people at church love and care for them. Then the children are more ready to hear from our teachers about Jesus and His love for each of them.
What motivates you to do things? If your motivation comes from someone telling you that you did a good job, or from extra pay at work, or from the prospect of winning an award, you are depending on extrinsic, or external, motivation. If your motivation comes from a sense of satisfaction from doing your best, from a sense of responsibility, or from knowing you are pleasing God, then you are depending on intrinsic, or internal, motivation.
In Preschool Sunday School at First Baptist Church, Fort Oglethorpe, we use external motivation to provide encouragement to the children until they develop their own internal motivation. For example, some classes sing “It’s clean-up time” when it is time to put away all materials for group time or transition to Extended Teaching Care. Most children soon join in the fun of cleaning up the room with that bit of external motivation. Our goal is for them to come to enjoy simple tasks that help others, becoming internal motivation.
You will find many things in our classrooms. One thing you will not find is a list of children’s names with stickers or check marks beside them. That is a form of external motivation that we do not feel is appropriate for preschoolers in Sunday School. If the charts are for attendance, we know our children cannot drive or walk themselves to Sunday School. A lack of recognition on a chart would be hurtful since they cannot control it. We do not use charts for Bible verse memorization. While we encourage learning the Bible verses or thoughts, most of our children cannot read. They are in the emergent literacy stage of development. They must depend on the adults to help them with their memorization. Some families, for a variety of reasons, cannot help their children each week. Not achieving external recognition, for whatever task, would make the children sad and dislike coming to Sunday School.
Jesus welcomed the children to come to Him. We welcome them to Sunday School where they hear about Him and His love for them. We know they learn best when they are happy, so you will hear happy sounds coming from our rooms. We are laying the foundation for that important internal process that leads to accepting Jesus as their Savior. Each child gets a sticker each Sunday with their name on it, which they wear for security purposes. Come join us this Sunday!