5 Ways to Stay Connected with Preschool Families from VBS

by Klista Stortschalkboard headshot

Connecting with new families is one of the main reasons for conducting Vacation Bible School in your community.  If it’s not, you might need to take a closer look at why you’re doing it!  And because we most often target elementary aged kids with VBS, you might be overlooking an important group that needs your connection – families with preschoolers.  Here are five ways to consider how you can reach those families and keep them connected to your church.

  1. Pair up the child’s future Small Group or Sunday School teacher with the VBS leader when making a follow-up visit to a preschooler’s home.  The child has bonded with the VBS teacher during the week, and chances are, so has the parent! That transition on Sunday morning should go a lot more smoothly once they’ve met.
  2. Enlist parents with similarly aged kids to connect with a specific preschool family. Give a gift card to help pay for a quick meal at a local kid-friendly restaurant to encourage them to make a play date.
  3. Offer classes on parenting, finances, marriage and other family issues that would benefit preschool parents.  Now that they know you’ll take great care of their children, and made new friends of their own, they’ll be more likely to attend.
  4. Make sure they know you have other activities! Put together a calendar of future events and classes—include your Sunday morning services—and invite them to come.  The number one reason people attend is because they were invited!
  5. Promise to meet them at the front door on their first Sunday morning. Show them where their children’s classes are, take them to your small group, and sit with them during worship! Everything is easier when you do it with a friend!

My prayer is that these will just get you started. Keep that connection going all year long. Love on these parents and their children.  Let them know that your church cares, not just the week of VBS, but the other 51 weeks as well.

Let us know how your church connects! Blessings, friends!

The Power of Preschool VBS

photo-2The following post was written by Ronette Burnett, preschool VBS leader at Hilton Terrace Baptist Church in Columbus, GA. Wife to pastor John Burnett, and mom to eight year old Jack and ten year old Meg, Ronette says, “Each year, the VBS theme tends to consume our whole family which is why we still have a ring toss game and juggling balls in the foyer!”  

Preschool VBS takes a lot. It takes more workers; each of the activities requires a heavy amount of adult to child interaction. It takes more supplies.

During my non-VBS life, I teach language arts to sixth graders, and if I had to, I could teach my whole first unit with a couple of Post-Its and a dry erase marker. However, I would not dare enter my VBS classroom without most of the items listed in the front of my Preschool VBS Leader Guide. I do get a few strange looks when I roll my supplies in on my handy Radio Flyer wagon, and I try not to compare myself to the school-age teachers who have packed stylish totes with all of their supplies.

Preschoolers also have their own unique crafts, music, missions, and recreation. Yes, Preschool VBS can be quite an effort, but I can truthfully say, no problem is too big and no price is too high for such a powerful way to touch families with young children.

As I plan for VBS, I try to think about ways to send children home so excited about what we have done that they will ask their parents to please, please, PLEASE take them back. When we are closing out each day, I often take my dollar store microphone in hand and I ask children to answer the question all parents ask, “So what did you do today?” They love to talk into the “mic” and we get lots of conversation starters going that I hope they will use on the ride home. (Can’t wait for the Takin’ It Home CD in VBS 2014!)

I also try to have what I call a “moment with mom” when children are picked up each day. I try to talk to each parent about something I’ve noticed about the child like “Matthew is so persistent when working puzzles,” or “Lauren always takes such good care of our baby dolls.” Parents love to talk about their children, and I love to tell parents all the positive things I see in their little ones. My prayer is that these short conversations are words of blessing over the lives of these families, and that the quality of our Preschool VBS tells families that our church loves and celebrates young children. When you need to build relationships with families who need to find faith or re-connect with church life, look no further than the power of Preschool VBS.

Read why Ronette “Always Says Yes to Preschool VBS” on her personal blog, From Baptist Mom.

Why do YOU think preschool VBS is important?