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What People are Saying About Foundations Curriculum

 

 

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 compassionate.

It is a delicate balance to teach children at this age, yet understand that developmentally they are limited.

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 scale.

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 story again.

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 preschool setting.

They will internalize such details and believe it will happen to them if care and constraint are not established.

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 Curriculum works.

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 weeks.

One song is sung and repeated for four weeks.

One prayer is learned and repeated for four weeks.

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 and emotionally.

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 us.