One of the toughest transitions for a child is going from preschool to elementary school. Think about all the possible changes they have to deal with, such as a full day of school, progress reports, reading and, most importantly, no nap time. That transition can be tough in a church environment as well.
Two of the most intimidating parts of transitioning children from preschool to elementary in our church are entering the environment and the large group time. Entering the environment can be overwhelming because, unlike our preschool rooms, elementary is completely open until large group is over and kids from grades K-5 are all together. Large group can be intimidating as well, because that type of production is completely new to them.
To ease the transition, we created an event that provides an opportunity for the incoming kindergartners to experience the elementary environment with their parents. The parents check them in, stay with them during the plug-in activities and large group. Once large group is over, the kindergartners are placed in small groups just for them with a leader who gets to know them and helps them connect. During that time, we get the amazing opportunity to sit with the parents and walk them through our strategy for elementary children, talking about the environments, events and resources available to help them continue the conversations at home. That time with parents allows us to address the three things Reggie says parents are silently asking when they come into our churches:
1. Give me a plan.
2. Show me how it works.
3. Tell me what to do today.
How do you ease the transition from preschool to elementary in your church? How can we celebrate milestones more in kids’ lives to make those experiences memorable for them? What milestones might we be ignoring, and how could that affect our ministries?