One of our favorite features of Facebook is the community that is established there and the willingness of our First Look Friends to share what works for their preschool ministry with other leaders.  We often will post a question a leader has asked, and our partners rally with some amazing and creative answers!  We wanted a way to make these “golden threads” of information easy to find for future reference so we have started a series titled, “Facebook Feedback”.  These are simply “cut and paste” sections of common questions and all the uncommon answers that you have provided.  Today’s post contains the answers that were given when we asked how you staff your preschool ministries during the summer.  Here’s what you said:

  • Sharon Rundell We give every volunteer the summer off and use the time to invest in our young leaders (high school and college age) with a program we call “Summer Associates”. The Students apply and are hired for the summer to work every Sunday both services and also at each of our other campus sites. We spend intentional time with them in discipleship and leadership training. Most return and serve as volunteers in various ministries after the summer is over. They feel loved, encouraged, and empowered to do ministry.
    • Kathy Peters Is there a way to get more info on this program? I would love to see what you do for the discipleship and leadership training!!
    • Sharon Rundell Message me Kathy and I’ll give you my contact info.
  • Jen ‘Blasko’ Van Dalen I oversee our 3-5 year olds. Because my husband is a pastor of student ministries, I take a “break” from preschool for the summer. I have another adult teacher who takes on my responsibilities for the summer. This enables me to regroup & focus on the fall for our preschoolers & also allows me to focus & attend our teen summer trips. I do a little teaching, but not as much as I do during the year. I work the summer schedule around everyone’s vacation schedules. We have our volunteers commit from Sept-Aug & then I check in with them at the end of the summer to see if they are willing to serve another year. We make a big deal out of the summer, to make it something different than the rest of the year.
  • Shannon Piner Cox We give our volunteers the summer off. We ask the parents and congregation to fill in. I’m having hard time finding volunteers despite having a large church. We are combining classes which help, but it’s causing some classes to hit max capacity.
  • Nick Blevins We recruit a summer team of volunteers as well. We can’t give anyone the whole summer off, but we can fill in for vacations.

    Like most churches, new volunteers at our church come…
  • Holly Jean Duke Pyles Due to a burst water line we have restructured our preschool groups for June & July. We have all 2-1/2-Kindergarteners in one large room. Our leaders have done a great job of setting up VBS-style centers, beginning with an opening activity that everyone participates in, then the 3 groups rotate through activities. We had to change on the fly in June, but as we prep our lessons for July, my awesome volunteer is going through both sets of lessons and gleaning the best activities and laying out a unified packet for all the leaders to use, further divided by service hour. We have been able to get by with a few less helpers in the room because of the combined aspect, so I’m considering this type of model for next summer already, as attendance is normally lower. The kids & teachers have enjoyed the change!
  • Cove At Bethlehem We work around peoples vacation and just sub as needed. A few years we have used “Summer Serve” where we asked the people in our congregation that do not normally serve if they will sign up for a week or two in the summer and fill in for those who serve all year. We got great response a few years and a few years not so great response. This gives people a chance to serve with out the commitment and occasionally we have had people who enjoyed it so much they stuck around and committed for the next year.
  • Patty Hudson Parker I’m so excited about this question!! This is what we are trying on for size this summer in the preschool
    Department 3-5. We gave our vols the summer off and recruited a smaller summer crew including teens. Because our numbers trend smaller over the summer we combined our individual classes into one big group that starts the day in a large indoor recess room. We travel with our smaller summer volunteer crew and children to the treehouse where we’ve recruited the help of our finishing 5th graders and their small group leaders to lead us in worship. We’ve replaced
    our host and large group positions with the clubhouse vids (which are so good and a nice change from the live lesson). Then we move to the back of the room where we have a combined craft time with a lead craft teacher. Then we end our day outside on the playground. The kids love the change and the new summer faces including more teens than we’ve EVER had volunteering.
    It’s a breath of fresh air and I’m oh so excited to see the difference it will make when our school year vols come back refreshed and ready to take on a new school year. Everyone thought I was crazy but I just might have a job still in September
  • John Thomas Scott We have ‘committ-ers’ for a year; August- August, so we use subs for vacationers.
  • Janita Ronalds Crowe It is ‘winter’ here. School breaks up for two weeks tomorrow. We do what we always do for most if the school holiday breaks. 0-4 1/2 yr groups run right through for consistency. The preschool group breaks for the two weeks which can affect where the program ends/starts for the theme. Summer/January for us, we all take a month off and just run a basic program for the under 4 years. Australia.

If you have other summer staffing suggestions that you would like to share with us, please share in the comments!!