by Jessica Veronesi
I have been the Preschool Coordinator at my church for six years. After attending Orange Conference in 2015, I decided the First Look curriculum was exactly what our preschool ministry needed! However, I knew that making this change wasn’t going to be easy. Before I started working at the church, the Preschool Coordinator had tried switching curriculums, and it didn’t go very well. The word revolt was actually used. Volunteers didn’t like the change and weren’t using the curriculum to its fullest. Not knowing what else to do, the church switched back to the original curriculum.
I have no idea how the transition was done before but I knew this change needed to happen, and I was determined to make this transition as smooth and enjoyable as possible for everyone involved. Let’s be honest! No one likes change, but there are things we can do to make transitions easier. It is important to take the time to plan, communicate, and prepare your team.
First, I sat down and mapped out my plan and set January 2016 as my launch date. That gave me three months to plan and prepare my team. I went through every aspect of the new curriculum to figure out how it was going to work best for our classrooms and church services. I also talked with my Orange Specialist about different ideas that would work for us. She is amazing and is always ready to help with any questions!
Then, I started talking with my team about the changes that were coming. At first, I just mentioned that the change was going to be happening and, that it would take place in January. Then as we got closer I set up meetings with each team where I was able to show them the new curriculum, explain in more detail how it was going to be different, and why. I wanted them to see my heart and cast the vision for them with the new curriculum. One thing I have learned over the years is that there is no such thing as over communicating, so I took every chance I could to talk about the new curriculum.
Lastly, I made sure my team was fully prepared. I prepared them verbally, but I also made sure they had everything they needed in order to use the curriculum properly. I prepped each activity and made sure each classroom had everything it needed. Then the Thursday prior to the change, I sent out an email with the lesson and an encouraging note, so that each teacher was able to prepare ahead of time, and I was able to share my heart behind that change one more time. The only thing my teachers needed to do ahead of time was read their email. Everything they needed was all ready for them when they came in for their service.
I held my breath as we kicked off First Look in January 2016. I kept expecting to hear someone complain but instead everyone was complimenting the changes. Teachers love the Bible stories and activities; our kids are confidently saying their memory verses. One of our kids in our Special Needs class said her memory verse for the first time! Parents are loving it, too. Preparation time is never wasted time!
Jessica Veronesi is the preschool coordinator and volunteer coordinator at Rhema Bible Church. She is a 2010 graduate of Rhema Bible College with a focus in children’s ministry. She has a heart for children and loves being able to share her passion with others.