The wonderful ages between two and six
years are full of exploration and fun. Children learn thousands
of new concepts and ideas including language, behavior
expectations, societal rules, boundaries, basic educational
structure, and a sense of self. These years are packed
with opportunities and experiences, which shape and mold the
mind of the young child.
It is during this time that the seeds of
Christian faith must be planted. But the limitations of the age
must also be considered.
Although preschool children are quick to
learn, they are long to grasp. Their manipulative skills are
expanding, but their sense of self is contracting as they are
becoming more aware of how important they are in their
lives. They become more self-centered, and at the same time more
It is a delicate balance to teach children
at this age, yet understand that developmentally they are
For example, if you sit down with your four
year old and start talking about the role of Christ in Roman
ruled Jerusalem, and how prophesy played a large role in the
identification and justification of the crucifixion of Jesus,
the eyes of your young child will not only gloss over, they will
wander to the nearest semblance of a toy to play with or a book
to read. Gone will be your theoretical sharing, and chances are
you will mold your notes into paper airplanes.
This may seem obvious, and is perhaps an
extreme account, but it illustrates that anything above the
psychological constraints of the age is useless. In fact, every
activity, book, topic, or song must be judged on the preschool
Is it appropriate? Does it address the
developmental age of the group? What is it trying to teach? Does
it fulfill this goal?
For example, let’s look at our crucifixion
For preschool children death is scary. They
are just beginning to understand the concept of danger, and have
perhaps briefly experienced hate. The gruesome and torturous
death that Christ experienced should not be explored in a
They will internalize such details and
believe it will happen to them if care and constraint are not
Understanding this, Foundations
takes a different approach. In our Easter month the curriculum
emphasizes the resurrection of Christ, the joy and hope of his
disciples and friends when they discovered he was alive.
Only a scant line about Jesus’ death is
mentioned in passing, but they are not exposed to the details or
accounts of his crucifixion, this is left to older years when a
deeper understanding of the world around them is present.
Instead we learn about Mary at Jesus’ tomb
talking to the angels about his resurrection.
They experience the story of Thomas, who
doubted at first, then was delighted that Jesus was alive.
Two modern stories were written to
underscore the importance of Christ’s resurrection, and how this
affects our lives today.
Then the monthly crafts were created to
celebrate the empty tomb, fellowshipping with Christ, and the
celebration of Easter.
Even the scripted prayer is fashioned in a
positive, thankful tone.
Understanding and adhering to the preschool
developmental age is also necessary in the creation of
activities and experiences.
Preschool children cannot sit long. They
are built to move, as any preschool teacher with 10 squirmy
students can attest.
Therefore it is important that they be
given time to play, and create, and have fun before, after, and
during educational times.
Stories must be short, to the point, with
lively pictures, fun words, and meaning.
Questions and discussions must be brief,
with specific goals in mind. What are you trying to teach them?
Activities must make connections between
concepts and reinforce ideas.
And finally, repetition must be ample.
Preschool children are quick to gain information but cannot
retain it without constant repetition. Everything you try
to teach must be reinforced in every way possible for children
to retain and then apply such information.
This is why songs work well for this age.
The constant singing of the same song over and over ingrains the
information in the child. That is why we all know our ABC’s-
because of the song that we heard every day at preschool!
Smaller bits of information, explored in
many different fashions, reinforced over a long period of time
works best for this age group.
This is why the Foundations
Instead of a verse a week, new stories and
concepts continuously, and random activities, Foundations
teaches only one concept a month.
The four stories reinforce the concept.
One verse is taught and repeated for four
One song is sung and repeated for four
One prayer is learned and repeated for four
All activities and questions are directly
related to the concept.
It is essentially taking one month to teach
one concept, a digestible amount for this age.
Then Foundations repeats the
twelve topics over several years. Instead of 48 topics in four
years, children learn 12 fundamental concepts over and over.
This repetition ensures that they will understand these basic
tenants before they leave the preschool years.
Foundations also takes
learning to a new level by involving parents.
Parents can reinforce Christian concepts at
home by reading the same stories presented at Sunday school.
They are furnished with deeper, more personal questions to
explore with their child. They can sing the song, say the
verse, pray with their child, and watch them grow spiritually
As parents are the front line soldiers in
the battle for their children’s spiritual growth, it is
imperative that they be given the tools to fulfill this mission.
The creators of the Foundations
curriculum believe that the church and parents must work
together to find success and nurture the young believers around