1. Set Goals – Get together with all leaders and teachers to plan annual goals for the overall children’s ministry. Develop action plans for meeting each goal. Then teachers can set goals and action plans for their own age-group. Tips:
    • Make goals few in number and measurable, so you can evaluate periodically to see how you’re doing.
    • Goals could tie in with special emphases going on in your church.
    • Goals could come from these categories:
      • For the children
        • The children will recognize the Bible as God’s Word that’s relevant to them.
        • The children will practice sharing their faith with each other.
      • For the teachers’/leaders’ relationship with each other
        • I will look for something to compliment my co-teacher on each week.
        • I will be willing to assist others in developing leadership skills.
      • For yourself
        • I will find an opportunity to speak with each child individually regarding his or her faith.
        • I will pray specifically for two kids each week.
  2. Create Yearly Calendars
    • Coordinators – Mark a calendar with the following dates. Give copies to all your teachers.
      • Registration/Kick-off
      • Events that all age-groups will participate in together
      • Holiday breaks
      • Year-end celebration
    • Teachers – On the main calendar, mark the following dates for your own age-group:
      • Regular class dates
      • Special events specific to your age-group
    • Tip: As you plan, consult school calendars and your church calendar to make sure you’re not overlapping dates that are already taken.
  3. Choose Units and Activities – If you have choices as to which lesson units and activities to do, meet with your co-teachers and look through your lesson planbook. Choose at least the first unit you’ll start with. If you know some of the children who will be in your group, consider where they are spiritually – which Bible topic would be beneficial to them? Also brainstorm activities or special events that would appeal to your kids.
    • Kids love outdoor activities, yet sometimes teachers have trouble fitting them in. So if the weather forecast looks good, try some outdoor activities right away this fall.
    • Often you can do outdoor activities even if you meet in the evening. Round up lanterns or flashlights and enjoy toasting hot dogs over a fire or looking for nocturnal creatures that God made. Children usually love adventures after dark.
    • Invite adults from the congregation to help lead activities that are outside your areas of expertise. For instance, a person who enjoys arts and crafts could help the kids create banners for the ministry room or church foyer. A parent or soccer coach could help you plan a soccer game.
  4. Create a Planning Chart
    • Once you choose your first unit of lessons, create a chart showing:
      • who will be in charge of which lesson parts
      • who will gather which supplies
    • Tip: Have the courage to try something new! If you’re unfamiliar with teaching a certain segment of the program, such as the Bible lesson or the drama time, ask for help and give it a try. You’ll expand your teaching skills.
  5. Get (or give) Training
    • Training is a main key to success in teaching the kids. If you’re a coordinator, give your new teachers basic training and your veteran teachers more advanced, specialized training. They’ll all feel better supported as they gain more knowledge.
    • Tips:
      • Utilize one or more of the downloadable training workshops.
      • Look for a teachers workshop to attend.
      • Read a book that focuses on ministry to children.
      • Attend a children’s ministry conference online or in person.
      • Read the introductory information in your lesson planbook – a section that’s often overlooked!
  6. Get Ready for Class Times
    • Start far enough before your class day to:
      • Gather supplies.
      • Think through directions for a game or project or skit.
      • Make a sample craft (so you won’t lose kids’ attention while you try to figure out how those paper clips attach to those straws!)
      • Read through the Bible lesson so you can teach it naturally, rather than with your nose glued to the book.
      • Memorize the memory verse ahead of time.
    • Tip: Planning far enough ahead for the Bible lesson gives God an opportunity to speak to you through it. You will grow spiritually as you decide how the topic applies to your life, and you’ll also be better prepared to help the kids decide how it applies to them.
  7. Learn More about Kids and Develop Your Relationship Skills
    • Find a list of age-characteristics for the age-group you are working with. If you’ve worked with the same age-group before, jot down children’s names or things that happened in class beside the characteristics that remind you of them.
    • Use the Internet to look up characteristics of kids today.
    • Read an article or book on “listening skills” to use when relating to children.