Welcome to the WORLD News Group family!
We come into the world eager to understand it. Maturing from early childhood to adulthood is a process that involves accessing information and learning to filter and apply it. WORLD News Group recognizes the stages of development in that process and offers age-appropriate products to maximize not only knowledge acquisition but the development of biblical wisdom.
As adults, our primary source of knowledge about the world and culture where God has placed us is news media. But so much of the news is tragic, discouraging, and even misrepresented. How do we consume the news appropriately, sift it for truth, and find ways to apply it to real life effectively? All year round, our editors bring readers actual news events with specific biblical applications for leading pre-readers to discover, young independent readers to explore, young teens to discern, and those approaching adulthood to apply. The good news underlying every story is that God is working His purposes out in all things, and He uses His people to bring about His kingdom work on Earth.
Within days of birth, a newborn baby’s eyes begin to focus so that she can take in her world. For the first year, her world is limited. But by age two, there she goes! The very young child exhibits a desire to take on independent adventures. She toddles off toward whatever catches her eye. She climbs. She touches. God’s world is a fascinating place for preschoolers. There is just so much to discover!
That natural desire for discovery is a gift from God. We need it in order to grow up into mature people in God’s kingdom: parents, inventors, thinkers, problem solvers, teachers. The preschooler has an insatiable desire to discover all that’s new in God’s Big WORLD! But does she know what she will do with her new knowledge? Not yet. That’s one reason why teachers and parents are so important in young children’s lives, and it’s why God’s Big WORLD is here to help.
God’s Big WORLD is designed for 3-to 6-year olds. The stories are selected, designed, written, and illustrated to fuel that God-given craving for knowledge, but to do so in meaningful, constructive, orderly, and developmentally appropriate ways.
Regularity: Each mailing, which arrives every other month, contains 8 pull-apart lessons. Each of those lessons has three stories and one skill-building activity. Used weekly, God’s Big WORLD helps you bring structure and order to your child’s discovery. The regularity reinforces the basic concept of the passage of time which you are already teaching. Consider setting a certain day each week to sit down together, look at the pictures, read, and try the activity page. Another time might be set aside for your preschoolers to watch the videos—with more pictures and added information—for each story online.
Accessibility: A large image and a very short, easy-to-read block of text draw young children—even pre-readers—in. The images ignite their interest without overwhelming them with more text than they can manage confidently. Let your children pick out the words they already know. Help them sound out a few more challenging words. Gradually encourage them to read the simplest sections aloud to you. The teaching tip, written for adults, gives you the “backstory,” so you can talk about the story and reveal more details in your own words.
Variety: There’s so much to know in God’s Big World! So we choose a variety of topics to cover. Some stories are about people. Some about animals. Science, places, crafts, inventions, weather, celebrations, solutions. When nearly everything is new to these young ones, nearly everything is interesting! That’s a plus to build on, so that education is never drudgery. After reading the week’s stories, point out to your preschooler just how much he learned about today. A little at a time, his sphere of experience is being broadened.
Range: Preschoolers typically think of the world as that which they can see and have experienced: my house, my neighborhood, my church, my school, my store, my park. But they want to know all they can. That makes this the perfect age to stretch their boundaries on geography. Each week’s section will contain at least one story that you can take to the map and point to a different location, far from the others. Watch their horizons expand as they begin to grasp the presence of cultures and places, climates, and terrains that differ from their own.
Perspective: The stories you will find in God’s Big WORLD focus on the positive. If there is a problem at the heart of the story, we tell a positive solution or note progress. Some of the stories are merely designed to elicit wonder and awe. Every story will have a Bible verse reference to read and think about with your child. It is, after all, God’s Big WORLD, and He has a purpose for all of it. Because of His sovereign rule, every story has hope inherently in it.
1) Keep it simple. These preschoolers and early elementary children are often compared to sponges, and that’s a very good quality. They don’t need to be heavily taught, but respond well to being exposed.
2) Set aside a specific time—just 5-10 minutes each week—to go through the print pages with your child. Let him study the picture and tell you what he sees. What does he think the story will be about? Can he read the headline yet? Let him try. Fill in with reading as needed. Share as much of the teaching tip in your own speaking voice as possible, rather than reciting it rote from the page. That makes the experience enjoyable and authentic, not detached.
3) Listen, and then respond. Wait to see if your child has thoughts to add or questions to ask. You may have to wait for hours or even days, but keep listening. At some point, he will make connections: “Oh, this is like what we read in God’s Big WORLD!” Affirm the connection, even if you don’t quite understand it. He is stretching his thinking when he ties content from one experience to another.
4) Keep learning! Use the video stories online at godsbigworld.wng.org to give your preschooler some of his own exploration time. The website is a safe place for your child to explore and interact independently. The simple setup lets him click on a story by number. The “storybook” opens, and with another click, he can watch a video while an expanded version of the print story is read aloud to him. He will learn more and retain more because of the added visuals and the additional spoken voice. Some find the best time to share the videos is later in the day. Read early in the day, then later, let your child watch online using a computer, tablet, or phone near you. Another plus: That gives you 10 minutes of hands-free time to do something else!