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-Schooler||Suggested adult response|
|Has an attention span of 3-6 minutes||Change activities often enough to hold interest|
|Is intensely curious||Let the child handle objects. Avoid “do not touch” restrictions|
|Is very literalistic||Avoid songs and stories with symbolism|
|Has a very limited comprehension of time and space||Talk about events of the day in relation to other events rather than in |
terms of objective time
|Likes Bible stories||Use stories to show the relationship between God’s Word and the child’s actions|
|Knowledge of Bible facts is limited||Provide actual objects, visual aids and activities that help explain facts|
|Has difficulty distinguishing between God and Jesus||Explain that Jesus came as a baby and grew to be a man to tell us about his |
|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)