Somehow you have found yourself in charge of planning and executing the activities your mission team will do with a group of children and teens. Perhaps you found out you will serve several hundred children. You may now realize this large group contains a wide variety of ages. Your team may only have a few people or people who have little or no experience with teaching children. Your team may be serving in another country or in an environment or culture unfamiliar to most of your team.
In short, you are feeling overwhelmed and underprepared. Teach One Reach One is in the process of writing an e-book to help even the novice mission team member be better prepared to effectively serve ministries working with children and teens. The strategies shared have been field tested in a variety of countries and environments. Using them will help your experience be better not only for the young people with whom you are working, but your team members and the leaders, staff and volunteers of the groups you are serving.
Since summer is usually the height of mission season, over the next few weeks we will share a few of the tips and strategies we will feature in our e-book. Our hope is that the finished book will be available online (and free!) by the end of the summer at the latest.
If you have questions we don’t cover in these posts, feel free to contact us directly through our website Teach One Reach One. We would love to assist you in any way we can.
Here’s a quick tip to get you started. Are you dealing with large groups of kids? It is much better to divide them into smaller groups and rotate them between activities than to have large groups of children participating together in the same activity.
Since you rarely know the names or even how many kids you will have until the day of the activity, there’s an easy way to divide large groups of children into smaller groups and help them stay with their group all day.
Go to the office supply store and purchase colored dots. This works perfectly for three groups. If you need more groups, consider buying other inexpensive office supply stickers. As the kids arrive, alternate the types of stickers used and place them on the child’s clothing. This should give you fairly even sized groups.
Immediately divide the kids into groups for your opening activity and encourage them to stay in groups by having them identify themselves by their sticker – group “rojo” and group “verde” for example. A quick glance at a child who has wandered away from his group will tell you where he should be – with group “rojo”.
Having kids in easy to recognize groups will cut the confusion and chaos large groups of unfamiliar children can cause. Using office supply stickers also means you can keep costs low and not have much to transport to keep the kids in groups (520 bandanas or whatever can get expensive and difficult to transport very easily!) It’s a simple tip that can make a huge difference for everyone.