Now that my son is halfway through his kindergarten year of school, I’ve recognized some big changes he’s experienced in his life. When he was a preschooler, he was with me most of the time. I regulated what he ate. I monitored his activities. I arranged his friendships. I, or a trusted caregiver, was there to help him interpret experiences and make good choices.
I will never forget the first day I put my sweet little boy on the bus and sent him to all-day kindergarten. The circle of influence in his life had immediately widened to include a bus driver, cafeteria helpers and a handful of teachers. Never in my life have I prayed so earnestly for wisdom in practical strangers!
Thankfully, most of the new leaders in his life have been sincere, kind-hearted people, but every kid bumps into moments when the truth he’s always known is challenged. And, I’m not there to help him. I’ve realized my sweet 6-year-old needed to be able to make wise choices and build friendships independent of me. My brand new elementary kid needs to develop a relationship with, and dependence on, God that’s different than he needed in preschool.
Fortunately, my son received a great foundation through the First Look preschool program at our church. This year in the elementary program, 252 Basics is building on this foundation and teaching him exactly what he needs to know about God to grow his faith.
Sometimes people ask me why First Look and 252 Basics aren’t consistently telling the same stories each week. Preschool and elementary kids interpret life and experience God in very different ways. They understand Scripture in very different ways. And, as their circles expand further outside of family and church, they have different relational needs. There are a few key Bible stories that have clear application points for both preschool and elementary kids, but not every story that my son has heard in the elementary program could have applied when he was in preschool.
That’s one of the reasons we at Orange are so excited about the new One Big Story curriculum we’re releasing this month. We’ve been able to pull together those key Bible stories and create a special unified teaching for both age groups. We’re excited about this special opportunity to teach God’s One Big Story cohesively, and we can’t wait to hear how you use this unique series in your church.
Meanwhile, the First Look and 252 Basics teams, who are specialists in their age groups, will continue to emphasize the developmental abilities and relational and spiritual needs of kids in their specific curriculums.  Want to know how important that is? Just ask the mom of a kindergartener. She can usually be found first in line at the bus stop.