´╗┐Characteristics of Pre-school Children

When we are working with pre-school children it is important to realise that they do not think in the same way as adults. Children often think literally and try to fit information into their frame of reference.  Psychologists often categorise thought processes into different types such as physical, social, mental and emotional.  Below some mental characteristics are identified and a comment is made as to how this characteristic might be taken into account by adults.

Characteristic of Pre-SchoolerSuggested adult response
Has an attention span of 3-6 minutesChange activities often enough to hold interest
Is intensely curiousLet the child handle objects. Avoid “do not touch” restrictions
Is very literalisticAvoid songs and stories with symbolism
Has a very limited comprehension of time and spaceTalk about events of the day in relation to other events rather than in
terms of objective time
Likes Bible storiesUse stories to show the relationship between God’s Word and the child’s actions
Knowledge of Bible facts is limitedProvide actual objects, visual aids and activities that help explain facts
Has difficulty distinguishing between God and JesusExplain that Jesus came as a baby and grew to be a man to tell us about his
Father, God
Older pre-schoolers like to pray.
They are able to thank and try to please God.
They know that deliberately doing wrong is bad.
Let them make up their own simple prayer.
Provide specific opportunities to serve (helping, giving, etc)