Teaching fours requires being a good listener and being available to hear their ideas and suggestions. They have acquired skills of negotiation and problem solving that will continue to evolve throughout the year. Be patient with them as they learn and grow in this significant year of life. Seek God’s guidance as you add to their spiritual development. Here are some things you will want to keep in mind as you interact with fours throughout the year.
- They are learning what causes certain feelings and understand that others may react differently to particular situations.
- Fours are learning to manage their own emotions, and sometimes that is difficult. The ability to control emotions is quite an accomplishment. Adults can be positive role models as they handle conflict and problem solving in the classroom. All eyes turn to the teacher; they are curious about what you might say, or how you might handle the situation or concern.
- Socialization is important in the preschool years. They learn how to be with one another. They have moved from being very self-centered to understanding how others might feel in various situations.
- Encourage fours to be kind and to consider how they might feel in certain settings. The level of their emotional development will influence their reactions. When you tell Bible stories or use Bible verses, you can positively say, “God loves us all” or “I know God loves me.” Talk about a character in a Bible story and reinforce positive points of the story and how it relates to that person.
Fours can develop positive feelings about being at church. They love being with adults who care and teach them, and they love being with friends. Though our church is large, opportunities abound for children to make new friends. At this age fours are developing friendships that might last longer, including friendships with their teachers.
Provide opportunities for building an understanding about God for the four year olds by:
- Letting them choose from the activities you provide. Always try to have at least three activities from which they can choose. When everyone does the same activity together, it keeps you from getting to know the children well. You become too busy to stop and interact because you are making sure everyone has what they need. Use this time to talk about the Bible story or use the Bible verse to reinforce the biblical truth for the session.
- Nurturing their creative side. If they want to build a temple, house, or road, encourage their use of different materials (various size blocks) and supplies (stand up figures, trucks, etc.). The creative side you fuel will allow them to be engaged and ready to hear what you have to say about the Bible story or Bible verse.
- Allowing time for the children to do activities without rushing them. Plan your morning schedule to reflect the children’s learning styles and thus keep them interested and ready to hear what you say about the Bible, God, Jesus, and church.
- Helping the children complete what they are working on. When you have various activities available, allow some to be easily finished and some to be more involved. The amount of time you provide for activities will balance out your schedule. Again, allowing each child to choose will make all the difference in the involvement and process. Remember, it is the process that gives the product value.
- Being an encourager for those fours who may not want to try something new. Create some easy- to-accomplish activities that inspire the children. Most important, do not do what they can do for themselves. Offer choices within choices; for example, homeliving pretend play allows for caring for the doll, cooking dinner, or setting the table.
Get to know each four-year-old and learn what brings him/her joy and fulfillment in the class. Your children will be ready to learn, and what better way to begin teaching them about God and laying that valuable foundation for spiritual development.