It's a new school year. Time for new beginnings. Time for changes.
Even in preschool ministry, we have an opportunity to take advantage of this time of year. As leaders, there is no time like the present to look at our ministry and see what may need a "tune-up". If you're like me though, actually looking and asking what's not working well can be intimidating. In some ways, we take it personal. We feel like it's a reflection on us and our leadership. However, nothing ever gets better by ignoring it. We have to forgive ourselves for not being "perfect" and move onto figuring out how to leverage the people around us to give us the best indications of what is working in our ministry and what is not.
Ask your volunteers.
Volunteers are on the front lines of your ministry. They have the actual hands-on experience to know if an activity worked well in the classroom or if the classroom schedule is feasible to keep.
At some of our volunteer training events we've asked our volunteers to participate in Keep, Start Stop. We ask them to write down one thing that is going really well in our ministry that they would like to KEEP. Then, we ask then to write down one thing they think our ministry could benefit from starting - START. And lastly, we ask them to write down one thing they wish we would STOP doing in our ministry.
Another quick way we try to get our volunteers' feedback is by asking for it weekly. We ask if they have any feedback or things they may need for the classroom. If so, they can write those things on their rosters before they leave after serving. It's a quick way for them to jot down some thoughts that we can take during the week and follow up with them on it.
Parents have a unique vantage point. While you and your volunteers may get used to a certain way things are done and may think others understand this, a parent (especially a new parent to your ministry), walks in with "fresh" eyes. They can tell you how easy your check-in process really is or if the take-home parent resource is really feasible to do.
Take a parent to coffee to get their feedback. Keep the lines of communication open. On my emails to parents, one of my last lines always says that if they have any questions or feedback, please email or call me. Parents will know you value their preschoolers and their time with you if your are constantly seeking to make it better through feedback.
Leave some time in your week for some reflection. I try to set time aside each week to ask myself what is really working. I think through our processes, our curriculum, our set-up to see if there is any improvements that need to be made. If I feel like I'm honing in on same changes that need to be made, I take them to those around me for their feedback.
Who are you asking around you for feedback about your ministry?