For Christian Parents— Five Things Your Child Better Know Before Entering Kindergarten

All parents experience some degree of angst when their children are about to enter kindergarten.  Their precious gift from God is about to emerge from the cocoon of moral attitudes, values, and behaviors that so intentionally swaddled them for their first few years.  As Godly Christian parents, the anxiety can simmer much deeper realizing their child will, for the first time, be exposed to viewpoints and perspectives contrary to their beliefs.  You worry, “How will I know what my child is being exposed to?”  “Will my child have the ability to discern between truth and error?”  “Will contrary attitudes, values, and teachings cause confusion with my child?”  These are very valid questions.  Take heart, however, for there are also answers that will give you comfort and hope.  As a former public middle school educator and school administrator for thirty years who watched the effects of cultural shift upon children from Christian homes, there are five CRITICAL spiritual understandings your children must have BEFORE they start school for the first time.  But the most significant takeaway from what I share here is that these things MUST begin early and be taught INTENTIONALLY, layer upon layer.  To simply have one or two talks about it with your child as they nod their heads in assent will not, in my opinion, be sufficient for internalization and retrieval.  We all internalize concepts best when they are repeated, sequenced, and layered, and this is especially critical for the preschool child.

1. There is only one true and real God.

Believe me, public school is not devoid of references and discussions about god.  Until now, your child has embraced God with no idea that some people believe in a different god.  How often I have heard within the walls of the schoolhouse, “We may get there different ways, but we all pray to the same god.”  Like it or not, your child WILL be faced with this lie, either as spoken or implied.  Arm your child with truth by teaching them that references to god may not refer to their God.  Begin teaching them as early as age three that our God is the only God who:

  • Created everything that exists.
  • Has one bloodline (begotten) Son, Jesus Christ.
  • Put on skin through Jesus Christ, who gave His life for us.

Now, to clarify, your five or six-year-old will not have all the skills to identify which god is the subject of discussion, but just understanding that some people believe in a different god and knowing which God is theirs can insulate your child against confusion and disillusionment.  It is sad, but true, that consciously teaching this concept that there is only one true and real God, along with which God He is, is the most basic but critical understanding for your child when starting school.  (Read to the end for how you teach this in a repetitive, sequential, layered manner.)

2. Our God never lies.

  • Everything He says is true.
  • God always keeps His promises.
  • When God says something will happen, it ALWAYS does and ALWAYS WILL.

Teaching this concept provides reassurance that we can always count on our God for truth.  Therefore, what He says carries more weight than what anyone else says, any textbook, special speaker, friend, or teacher.  (Read to the end for how you teach this in a repetitive, sequential, layered manner.)

3. The Bible is God’s Word(s).

Now, note what becomes a clear conclusion here.  We accept these three principles by faith, and because There is only one true and real God, because Our God never lies, and because The Bible is God’s Word(s), the only logical resultant conclusion is that everything in the Bible is our highest and final authority for truth.  The Bible is to be relied upon, and so it becomes imperative that your child see Bibles in use, sees adults searching the Scriptures for truth, and sees adults treating the Bible with respect.  It reinforces that truth-seeking is not just for them, but is a critical skill they will need as adults.  (Read to the end for how you teach these three principles in concert.)

4. People who believe differently than we do are not bad people, and we must treat them with love and respect.

Up to this point, probably everyone in your child’s circle has loved and worshipped God.  It can come as a shock to realize that others (be it bus drivers, teachers, or other children,) either don’t love God, worship a different god, or don’t believe in God at all.  They’ll discover that others talk differently, behave differently, and express views contrary to the only view they thought existed.  This shocking reality can plant seeds of confusion if they are not ready for it.

  • “Hero” teachers and other adults who believe differently are not bad people.  This is hard for children to understand because they have very concrete, all-or-nothing thinking. Their teachers, especially, are heroes whose every word is to be believed, right?  One of my grandchildren’s kindergarten teacher was an amazing educator, and my grandchild—not atypical of most children with their teachers—thought the teacher was omniscient and could “walk on water.”  The teacher devoutly followed a different religion that believed in god but not Jesus, was absent whenever there were holy days, and freely shared with the students the reasons for the absences.  This led to questions about the teacher’s beliefs, religion, and god, yet we wanted my grandchild to respect and learn from the teacher.  Teach your child something my dad taught me…We all carry a basket.  No one can see it but it’s always there.  As we go throughout each day, we hear many things from our heroes and other well-meaning folk, some that are not truth.  Don’t fret or concern yourself with those things that are not true.  Instead, simply put the good and truthful things into your basket and leave the rest.  Simple as that.
  • Build self-assurance regarding God’s Truth.  This takes time, but beginning as early as age 2-3 etches a consistent message and pathway for them to follow.
    • As a parent or leader of children, always come back to the first 3 principles, beginning with ‘which God we serve,’ using the three criteria mentioned.
    • Teach them that God never said to argue with others, but instead to ‘stand’ in the truth. Standing firm is the strongest defense of their faith.
    • Teach them that the most precious things in life can’t be proven empirically. Because we accept the first three principles by faith, everything else spiritually falls into place. While there are mountains of evidence that God is who He is, to spend time “proving” something that God intended for us to accept by faith is not productive and instead can foster doubt and discouragement.
  • They will spend lots of time with many smart and friendly people who have very different religious practices or views.  Teach them that, instead of arguing, they should come to you with questions.  This becomes the opportune moment to open the Bible and show them truth.
  • Help them respond in love, yet with steeled principles.
  • Encourage them to continue talking with you so you will know when to intervene directly.

5. Others WILL make fun of us for what we believe, but a relationship with the one true and real God is worth everything.

Until now, your child may not have experienced ridicule or bullying for the sake of Jesus Christ. PLEASE don’t wait until they do to discuss the issue. They may not tell you. You may not know it’s happening. Prepare your child by having advance “quiet time” discussions about the precious treasure we have in Jesus Christ. Help him/her understand that every precious treasure costs something, and the price we pay for having a friendship with the one true and real God will include ridicule and persecution.

  • Our God asks us to be strong when this happens. Let your child know that you expect the same.
  • Teach your child what standing strong looks like, sounds like, and acts like.
  • Conversely, teach your child what this DOESN’T look like, sound like, and act like.
  • Have fun role playing simple scenarios so that your child can practice appropriate responses.
  • Begin as early as age three to teach your child that a relationship with Jesus is worth EVERYTHING, including ridicule and ostracism.

But how exactly does one go about teaching these skills? They seem so high level.

First, let me reiterate that these foundational skills can and should be taught beginning at age 3-4. Children’s attention spans are very short, so quick, frequent bursts are much more effective. Repetition upon repetition upon repetition is enjoyed by this age.

Second, begin to think in different terms from your traditional Sunday School experiences that probably taught Bible stories each week and ended with a “moral of the story.” Although that teaching was interesting, true, and served us, cultural shift and pull demand a much more focused, strategic, and sequential approach. Try this instead:

  1. Begin with the 5 principles laid out here and use Bible accounts as evidence of the principle. So, for instance, the accounts (notice I’m careful not to say ‘story’ as it can be confused with fiction) of God speaking to Moses from the burning bush, creation, Daniel in the lion’s den, the ten commandments and golden calf in the wilderness, Elijah on Mount Carmel, the Hebrews’ delivery from the fiery furnace, and David overcoming Goliath are ALL accounts that provide substantiation that there is only one true and real God (Skeptical? See; Ex. 3:11-15; Is. 45:18; Daniel 6:25-27; Ex. 20:3-4, 20 & Ex. 32:7-8; I Kings 18:36-39; Daniel 3:28-29; I Sam. 17: 43-48). Now, pair these accounts with a single recurring scripture memory verse such as Isaiah 44:6—I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. Children will begin to see patterns of truth woven throughout the Bible and begin to pair memorized scripture with evidentiary accounts. When faced with contrary teachings, the imbedded scripture verse will come back to memory as promised in John 14:26, ALONG WITH numerous accounts woven throughout the Bible. This is the beginning of learning to think and to defend their faith.How about for the principle that our God does not lie? Here are just a few: the fall of Adam and Eve, Naaman’s healing, the battle of Jericho, God’s care for Elijah through the birds and brook, the great flood, and money from a fish’s mouth. These can be paired, for instance, with John 17:17—Your Word is truth.For the principle of the Bible is God’s Word(s) to us, these accounts are evidence: Josiah’s discovery of the forgotten book, Jesus reading from Isaiah, Philip sharing the Good News with the eunuch, the ten commandments, and the story of seeds. Scriptures to be paired could include John 8:47—He that is of God hears God’s words or Psalm 119:160—Your Word is true from the beginning.
  2. Now, utilize a very effective educational technique that I call “loopback learning,” which is the repetitive piece. Let’s say you want to teach one concept throughout each week to your 4-year-old in a focused, strategic, and sequential manner so that she will have them embedded when she begins kindergarten.Week 1—Use the first principle there is only one true and real God and teach her a Bible account that is EVIDENCE of this principle. Teach her the memory verse you have chosen to bring the principle to her remembrance.Week 2—Review the first principle and memory verse, then teach principle two our God does not lie. Teach her the memory verse you chose to be paired with the principle.Week 3—Quickly review principles one and two along with their memory verses, then teach principle three the Bible is God’s Word(s) to us by using the same method of evidentiary account and memory verse.Week 4—Circle back to the first principle there is only one true and real God and teach a new Bible account that is evidence of this principle. However, use the SAME memory verse as in week 1. Review week’s 2 and 3 principles and memory verses.

    Week 5—Now circle to the second principle our God does not lie, teaching a new Bible evidentiary account but using the same memory verse as in week 2. Always review the prior 2 week’s learning.

    Week 6—Circle back to the third principle the Bible is God’s Word(s) to us using a new account but the same memory verse as week 3, always reviewing the 2 prior week’s learning.

    Week 7—Time for the first principle again, the there is only one true and real God. Follow the same procedure each week, circling back with new accounts of evidence.

    Before long, your child will have committed the scripture verses to full memory. You may then continue the rotation of principles but pair an additional memory scripture. You can also begin a new way of review by asking him, “Give me a Bible account that shows there is only one true and real God.” Because of the focused, strategic, and sequential teaching you have provided, he should be able to answer with an account. If you say, “Give me one (or two, in time) scripture verse that tells us there is only one true and real God, he should be able to say, “Isaiah 44:6—I am the first, and I am the last, and beside me there is no God” (or whichever verse you selected). As time goes on and he prepares for his first day of kindergarten, you can role play with him some scenarios in which he should recall or recite a scripture verse or Bible account. THIS IS WHEN you’ll realize with understanding how critical these 5 things were for your child to understand as s/he enters kindergarten.

  3. In conclusion, do you wish there was a Bible curriculum available that was already using these principles?  Could there possibly be a Christian preschool curriculum complete with music and hands-on activities that uses this type of learning?  And, if it is, could it please be affordable?  Good news—check out www.dotcurriculum.com. And by the way, it’s totally free for anyone!

Our Mission

DTBC is committed to the writing and development of focused, strategic, and sequential Bible curriculum unlike any other on the market.  The objective of our curriculum is to develop Godly young men and women who know what they believe, why they believe it, what distinguishes their beliefs from other systems, how to withstand and answer cultural shifts, and how to lovingly draw others into a relationship with Jesus Christ.

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