I’ve been using Dig In in my preschool ministry since its inception, and I love it! The Core Bible Discovery lessons are solid, and the flexibility allows me to suit my special group of little people—and my special group of adult leaders. As the director of my church’s preschool ministry, I’ve been able to guide my leaders and volunteers as they’ve come to embrace this amazing curriculum. Here are some preschool-friendly tips we’ve applied to make DIG IN the best it can be for our preschoolers:
- Don’t shoot for perfection. Preschoolers can be unruly, and you never know what they might do next. Some are experiencing their first lessons and learning how to interact in this setting. One thing I’ve found is when things don’t run perfectly, it’s more bothersome to leaders than it is to preschoolers. Remind your leaders (and yourself) that the goal isn’t to make it through a lesson exactly as it’s written. Encourage your leaders to focus on creating a positive experience for kids because this is what shows God’s love. For example, the DIG IN preschool crafts look amazing in the photos, but I don’t expect my preschoolers to create a replica of the photographed craft. I expect the eyes to be out of place on the bowl piglet and the cutting to match my preschoolers’ abilities. (Or my team does the cutting if it’s completely out of the question for our youngest preschoolers.) In preschool, a lesson is a guideline to expose children to a concept about God. So lay down the perfectionism and show kids God’s love through a positive experience with you and their peers.
- Expect to adjust lessons for your kids. Every group of preschoolers is so unique. Some classes have only 5-year-old kids. Others have 2- and 3-year olds. Some churches have preschoolers with a lot of educational support and others have none. Because of this fact, no preschool lesson will fit your group perfectly. When you find a curriculum that has a solid base, as I did with DIG IN, stick with it! In my ministry, it works best for us to start with the craft as children are arriving; so I adjust the text to set the stage for the Core Bible Discovery activity. The DIG IN instructions do suggest that the Core Bible Discovery activity be done before the craft, but it’s okay to break the rules to make the lessons work for your kids. And DIG IN’s flexibility even makes it easy for to make that change. Now that you’re ready to make adjustments for your kids, don’t forget my first point—even your lessons won’t work out exactly as you plan with preschoolers, and that’s okay!
- Be strategic about how you order activities. Aside from DIG IN’s recommendation that we use the Welcome first, the Core Bible Discovery second, and the Life Application Wrap-Up last, the curriculum leaves the order of the lessons up to you. And as I already mentioned, it’s easy to make adjustments to switch that up, if that’s what’s best for your preschoolers. I’ve found in my years of experience that the order makes a big difference for preschoolers. If your kids get really ramped up for an activity, then don’t plan a more contemplative activity right after it. With my group, I’ve found it’s best to save the games for the end of the lesson. But if your group needs something to get them energized at the beginning so they’re engaged throughout, then you might plan the game first. DIG IN’s editable lessons make it easy to do that.
- Choose the right blocks. While the Talk-About Video block is available for preschoolers, the videos are aimed more toward elementary kids. But don’t worry! We have a special option for preschoolers: Preschool Puppet Skits. This interactive puppet show is sure to be a hit with your preschoolers! It’s available in Digging Into the Heart of God and Digging Into Epic Teachings of the Bible, and coming soon to Digging Into the Life of Jesus and Digging Into the Bible in One Year.
One of the best attributes of DIG IN is its flexibility. If it’s not perfect for your ministry the way it is, you can make adjustments without needing to completely overhaul your ministry, like some curriculums require. Try it yourself with DIG IN’s newest program, Epic Teachings of the Bible, releasing this summer.
Thank you for the four tips. I have been using DIG IN going on my second year. I didn’t even think of changing the order of things. Thanks for this. I will use this for our new preschool age class starting this month.
Thanks so much!