Mrs. Robin Giovanelli, Wiggle Worms
The Wiggle Worms is a Sunday evening program for the preschoolers (3- and 4- year olds) of the church. The children—about 30 to 35 little ones—are dismissed from the service before the preaching and meet for a wonderful time of singing and learning Bible truths and stories.
On an average Sunday, what does your cue card look like?
5-10 minutes – singing a variety of songs
3 minutes – passing out Bible stickers
10 minutes – reviewing different things we have learned or are learning
8-10 minutes – teaching the Bible lesson
2 minutes – singing an action song
10 minutes – having prayer and treats
15 minutes – doing a craft or coloring or playing a review game
5+ minutes – teaching a character song or short story, etc.
What are some characteristics or traits you’ve found in the children attending WW?
They are eager to learn. I teach them songs with the words written out and pictures. They think they are reading, and it is so fun to see their smiling faces.
What are some of the goals you have for each child?
• To sit still in a class environment
• To learn to participate as well as to listen
• To learn the Ten Commandments, the days of Creation, and the books of the New Testament
• To learn about salvation (I would never try to take away the blessing of a parent leading his or her little one to Christ, but I do try to help the children understand salvation and prompt them to think about these things. Then, I encourage them to talk with their mom and dad.)
Working with that many children each week must be a challenge?
I love children! Seeing their faces and hearing them call me “Mrs. Wiggle Worm” when they see me throughout the week makes my day!
How do you prepare for this weekly program?
I try to plan out my program a month at a time. That way, I am thinking about different things to add throughout the week.
How do you decide on what to include (i.e., lesson, songs, activities, etc.) in your program?
I always have a variety of extra songs, stories, and activities with me. Even though a class hour is planned weeks before the day, if the children just don’t seem with it or are antsy, I switch to something else. For example, I’ll throw a song into the lesson or just end the lesson and move on to something else. Their attention span varies week to week, and I try to stay tuned in to that.
What could parents do to help their children be better prepared for this evening program?
Afternoon naps make such a difference in the child’s attitude for the evening. Also, since many of the children are still new to using the restroom on their own, it would be a big help if that were taken care of before parents drop them off.
HELPS FOR OTHER TEACHERS
What techniques do you employ in class to get the children to listen?
I ring a bell. They know when they hear the bell that they need to be quiet and look at me.
What methods do you use in class to help the children understand the Bible better?
I use flashcards, flannel graph materials, and pictures to illustrate everything. Visuals are a must.
If you were to give five tips to the average preschool worker, what would they be?
1. Love children.
2. Be patient.
3. Do not compare one child with another.
4. Always be prepared so that there is something happening all the time. You will lose control of the class if there is a lull.
5. Do not underestimate what a child can learn.
Let’s say a church member is looking for a ministry to join as a helper. What would you say to encourage that member to join the preschool ministry?
If you love to see faces light up and an eagerness to learn, this is the ministry to join. They are so open and loving and very teachable at this age.