Summer. Time to fire up the grill, jump in the pool, hike up a mountain, listen to a concert in the park, watch a ballgame … and prepare for Awana.
Yes, seriously, prepare for Awana … but we’re not talking about the 2015-2016 schedule or lining up Large Group lesson speakers or preordering (although all those things are important). What we’re talking about is delving into the world of the kids with whom you work. Kind of like a course in “kid.”
Ok, for sure, you won’t have time to do all the “research” on this list, but do at least a few activities … and look for opportunities to get into the minds of whatever age you work with.
So, let’s say that you lead a group of energetic, but sweet and lovable fourth graders. Here are some ways to learn about the age group (apply this to whatever age you teach). I would also like to say, that just because you have your own personal fourth grader, that doesn’t mean he/she is into the “typical” fourth grade stuff. As a Christian parent, there are probably TV shows, movies, books, games etc. that you don’t want your child to be exposed to. As a leader, however, you probably deal with kids who are allowed to watch, read, play etc. with little supervision. Knowing what these things are will help you relate to where they’re coming from and will help you answer with wisdom if they ask you if something is right or wrong.
- Watch one or two TV shows geared to elementary-school kids. Even one episode is good or watch just long enough to know what it’s about.
- Learn how to play a video game popular with fourth graders. (Maybe your own child, a niece or nephew can teach you.)
- Go to a toy store and look around. If it’s not real busy, talk to the manager and ask what the most popular toys are for elementary –school kids.
- Go to the library and ask what books kids are reading (and then read one or two of them). You can also get the ten-most popular children’s books on Amazon.
- Read blogs by fourth grade teachers. What teaching methods do they use? What creative projects have they done that you could apply to your group? (You can find these simply by searching for “fourth grade teacher” blogs.)
- Look at websites geared to elementary school students.
- Talk to a fourth-grade teacher. What are the trends in school these days?
- Look up websites that list the current kid trends.
- Find out what music fourth graders are listening to (and many of them are listening). Listen to a song or two.
- Talk to parents of fourth graders. What questions are the kids asking? What Bible subjects are they interested in? What would the parent want you to teach during Large Group lessons.
- Can you sub in a fourth-grade Sunday morning class this summer? (If you already don’t teach one.) Does your church have a VBS program? Could you volunteer to teach the kids? That’s a great way to get to know the kids and invite them to Awana in the fall.
Have fun this summer – but be aware of your target age group. What can you learn about those kids that will help you relate to them better during club?