- Give each child good eye contact (whether in small or large groups). Don’t read from programs. The programs are a tool to help guide you. They’re not meant to be read out word for word.
- Smile at children. Your body language communicates so much!
- Repeatedly introduce the big idea. K-5 leaders need to write the big idea up and refer to each through the lesson. Pre-school need to say it multiple times throughout a lesson.
- Keep your language simple. Don’t use big words. Don’t speak in long sentences. Both will make it much harder for kids to understand. Simplicity in language allows for clarity.
- Keep your equipment to a minimum. Don’t use too many props or too much equipment. Simplicity in resources often enables truths to be communicated clearly.
- Keep things moving. Watch the amount of time each section of your lesson takes.
Rule of thumb: 1 minute per age of child up to 7 years.
Preschool = 3 to 4 minutes in length (story, singing, MV, retelling, prayer…)
K-5 = 5 to 7 minutes in length (i.e. need min four different activities for small group time)
- Keep kids guessing. Vary things within your routine. Change the direction they sit for the next activity. Get them to sit in a circle or squish inside a tent for story time.
- Think about what’s behind you. Use black screens to cover distractions and focus attention.
- Think about the light. Pull blinds down when showing DVDs. Don’t stand in front of a window or doorway with light coming in behind you (kids will squint, and your face will be in shadow). Don’t stand so that kids have to look up at you with the sun in their eyes.
- Indicate clearly when handing over to another leader. Please say good morning to Maggie… Turn around and listen to Michael. He’s got a great game for us. Don’t leave the front of a group before the leader you’re handing over to is in position.
- Command attention. Speak with authority – clearly, slowly, lower your voice.
- Remove distractions before moving into more structured activities. Toys/equipment need to be packed away, money collected for giving, confiscate distractions (collect at the end of the lesson), ask children to place things behind them or on floor in front.
- Be inclusive in your body language. This means your hands will be open, you’ll move your head to visually connect with all kids (even those on the sides) and you’ll move from one side to another or bend down to kids’ level.
- Invite kids closer when telling stories. Closer to you and closer to each other. Storyteller is best to sit on a low box or bench to tell story. Or if doing a dramatic storytelling or chalk story, stand for story and sit for conclusion. If using a lectern, come out from behind it for conclusion.
- Have leaders demonstrate game as you go through the instructions on how to play.