Partnering with parents is a vital part of leading small, but a challenging one with preschool! Our world is so different than elementary or student ministries, so it may take a bit more creativity – or in some cases – shaking up your routine! Not long ago I was running late for church and ended up not sitting in “my” seat during church (I’m sure nobody else gets stuck in the routine of always sitting in the same place!) As it happens I ended up right next to the parents of one of the kids that is often in my small group. I knew he had just started a new school and has a difficult time with new situations. When the service ended, I took a few minutes to introduce myself (and yes ask their names, because I only knew them as Tyler’s parents). It was just a quick conversation asking about how the new school setting was going, and letting them know how much I enjoying having Tyler in my group. Not long or complicated but possibly a start to building a relationship and connection.

It made me start thinking about the extra effort that I need to take to build some lasting relationships. Here’s what I’ve come up with to help me do just that:

1. Be aware – look around in church! Do you see any familiar preschool parent faces? In preschool world at my church, parents don’t always attend the same service time, this is a great time to connect. Who knows, maybe it will encourage them to see the value of having a small group leader with a familiar face to their child!

2. Be intentional with communication – Make sure you have a current list of your few and come up with a plan of contacting them. There is nothing like a preschooler who gets a birthday card from you, or a card saying “Thanks for being in my group!” or “I’ve been missing you!”

3. Be fun! – Plan a fun gathering outside of church for your few and their family. I’m currently planning a preschool Fall soiree complete with s’mores and hotdogs! This is such a great way to get to know your few and their families better and for preschool families to start building community!

My routine getting stirred up helped move me in the right direction to set up some goals for partnering with families. What are a few ways you’ve connected with the parents of your few? (Even it was unexpected!)

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Gay Tucciarone

Gay is a mom of three grown up boys and a grandmother to four preschoolers. She was previously on staff at Savannah Christian Church for 15 years as the Small Groups Coordinator, and now she works for Orange where she's had to increase the amount of that color in her wardrobe. Gay is hard at work in the preschool ministry at Cumberland Community Church in Smyrna, GA. Follow her @OrangeGayT to see why we think she's so awesome!

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