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Navigating the Three Phases of Preschool

This week, we’re hosting the Orange Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. With this year’s conference we are also unveiling new resources and sharing insights from our research in The Phase Initiative. We even are offering a series of breakouts all about navigating the phases of your phase. To serve leaders who attend our talks and those who are following along online, I’ll be posting notes from each session on the blog. Whether or not you were able to make the conference, I hope some you gain something form these notes that prevent you, your team, and your parents from missing the distinctive opportunities of the phase you’re in and the phases to come. Here are the notes from the breakout titled “Navigating the Three Phases of Preschool,” which was led by Holly Crawshaw.
Navigating the Three Phases of Preschool

Phase Defined: A time frame in a kid’s life when you can leverage distinctive opportunities to influence their future.

  • The phase that should matter most to you is the phase they are in now.
  • The phase that matters most happens before or after this phase.
  • Adults tend to assume, “They are like me now.”
  • Adults tend to assume, “They are like I used to be.”
  • Every kid at every phase is changing in six ways: physically, mentally, relationally, culturally, emotionally, and morally.

Your Role | Embrace Their Physical Needs

Read Their Mind…

So kids in the three phases of preschool will believe they can win.

  • Know what can be expected of them and know how they think so they will hear what you say and know what to do.
  • BIG IDEA: Preschoolers think like an artist.
  • Preschoolers blend reality with imagination and learn best through their senses.

“Children are most like adults in their feelings. They are least like adults in their thinking. More information does not make them think like us.”

— Catherine Stonehouse

Discover Their World…

So kids in the three phases of preschool will feel they belong.

Zero to One: Am I safe?     The Goal: Establish trust.
One & Two: Am I able?     The Goal: Develop confidence.
Three & Four: Am I okay?     The Goal: Cultivate self-control.

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Interpret Their Motives…

So kids in the three phases of preschool will discern what they should do.

  • Moral emotions are instinctive. Moral development is not.
  • If you want to help a preschooler develop a moral conscience, you have to interpret and influence their motive.
  • The ultimate motive is love.
  • Preschoolers are motivated most by safety.

Play To Your Audience…

So kids in the three phases of preschool will discover how to relate to God.

  • How preschoolers relate to God: God’s story is my story.
  • When you embrace their physical needs you help a preschool know God’s love and meet God’s family.

Three Ideas to Help Preschoolers Mature in their Relationship with God.

  1. Ignite their imagination. Build their confidence in a really big God.
  2. Activate their senses. Help them see, feel, hear, and taste.
  3. Structure their experience. Have a predictable schedule.

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