Children’s Curriculum

June 7, 2007

Psa 78:1 O my people, hear my teaching;
listen to the words of my mouth.
Psa 78:2 I will open my mouth in parables,
I will utter hidden things, things from of old-
Psa 78:3 what we have heard and known,
what our fathers have told us.
Psa 78:4 We will not hide them from their children;
we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD,
his power, and the wonders he has done.
Psa 78:5 He decreed statutes for Jacob
and established the law in Israel,
which he commanded our forefathers
to teach their children,
Psa 78:6 so the next generation would know them,
even the children yet to be born,
and they in turn would tell their children.
Psa 78:7 Then they would put their trust in God
and would not forget his deeds
but would keep his commands.

I need your help.

One of the great responsibilities of each generation is to pass on their faith in God to the next generation. Of course, first of all, this is a responsibility of parents. But the church as a community also has a responsibility to its children. As a young boy, Jesus sat at the feet of the teachers, listening and asking them questions. Our churches should likewise have teachers who pass along the wisdom of God to the young.

So what I want to learn is, how are other churches addressing this need? Specifically, my questions fall into three areas.

1) What kind of curriculum do you use to teach your children? Is it purchased or developed in-house? Does each teacher come up with their own? How effective do you think it is?

2) How do you select and equip teachers for the children’s classes? Is it just anyone who is willing to do the job? Do you just hand them the curriculum and say thank-you for whatever it is they do with the job? Do you seek certified teachers? Do your classroom teachers feel called by God to this work? Or do you have trouble filling the slots with warm bodies regardless of qualifications and motivation?

3) Do you attempt to measure the effectiveness of your teaching program? If so, how?

I’d love to hear some comments on any or all of these questions from a variety of sources. I am particularly interested in the approach and experience of churches with different historical background from my own, but who still hold the scriptures as the divine standard for the teaching of the church. Of course I’d like to hear of your amazing success stories, but I’d also like to learn from the difficulties you may be experiencing. How are you doing this, and how is it working?

I’m looking forward to the discussion.


  1. Our church uses an ICOC curriculum called Kingdom Kids. The Kingdom Kids program starts from infants and includes middle school. It includes lessons, crafts, etc… It was developed by educators and child experts within the ICOC. Our teachers are from our general membership and have been interviewed. They attend a training class in order to serve. We do not measure the effectiveness of our program, although there are tests given at certain age levels. Phil

  2. We used to use the ICOC curriculum but dropped it a couple of years ago. I’m not sure all the reasons as I wasn’t involved but I would hope part of it was just to purge some of the more ickier parts and do something fresh. Originally, before the ICOC (mandatory at the time) curriculum was introduced we did everything inhouse. The coordinators were teachers. For many years it was mandatory that everyone would cycle thru. Now, they ask for teachers for classes and then ask that the parents volunteer for a month to help. The current curriculum is from a denomination’s curriculum I believe (at least there are parts re a certain salvation theology that we’ve had to remove). There is a theater componant where they have skits every week as part of the curriculum. It seems to have been well received. However, I’m not aware of any measurements of effectiveness. I think the older children may have tests, etc.We as well interview teachers as we have since virtually the beginning. Our WML oversees the program.ttk

  3. We help the teachers develop their curriculum. For kids from 2 through 5th grade, we use a variation on Montessori where there are rotating individual activities related to a general curriculum of working through the Bible. This is directly from the direction of one of our elders.1st and 2nd grade is to go through the NT in 2 years.3rd and 4th the OT.Teachers are responsible for creating new activities to keep the children engaged. This has proven to be the most challenging part, even though I believe it requires *less* work than the Kingdom Kids curriculum with the crafts, etc.Don’t tell Joyce C this, but we rarely send the kids home with a craft. :)We Manage By Walking Around – visiting the classes and helping teachers. That is the only “measure” we have – no metrics, etc.With the obvious exceptions for safety, pretty much anyone who wants can teach. We do have trouble getting volunteers.I don’t recall the title, but the idea is from a book by a mainline CoC woman from West Texas. We have a copy, though it’s out of print.There are many churches who actually use The Montessori Method (as opposed to our variant) in Sunday School. Google for “Montessori Sunday School” to see what I mean.

  4. We currently use the ICC curriculum, but teachers are free to add or subtract as necessary.Individuals have taken out various sections and there have been questions about some books taught.We are looking for metrics, it seems the kids are not very interested. We don’t have tremendous problems getting volunteers, but some are more enthusiastic than others.I have been pushing the rotation method, though it is difficult for a congregation without a building. Details can be found at rotation.org. The basic idea is that all of the children’s ministry goes through the same material at the same time, with different centers. The teachers are assigned to a center and they give a similar lesson every week, ramping up or down for the audience (2nd grade, 3rd grade, pre-teen, teen) until all the children come through, then it’s on to the next lesson.Just an idea.I do not know of any congregation that has any metrics on their Sunday school. I can see the purpose of them, but I wouldn’t know what they’d look like. (And I work in a school system.)

  5. John, I’m glad you mentioned rotation.org as I couldn’t remember the name of the site. It has great stuff. And lessons, etc. are shared between teachers from all over. And no, you don’t need a building to do rotations. We’ve never had a building here and we had rotations for years. It can be done – just a little more effort. ttk

  6. The curriculum in my church is a purchased one. Before we went to this one it was an inhouse developed one. The cool thing about the inhouse one was that they had given several activities to choose from so that you as a teacher could evaluate the class. My sister teaches and has for several years she found that you have to be able to take each group differently because some love to play games while others have a knack for crafts. She also gives time for prayer. She has shared some of those with me and boy do those little ones need that time even in the third grade. We have a children’s ministry leader who is great at noticing those who might be good at teaching. We are blessed with lot’s of wonderful folks to teach. My daughter just left a class that had three older folks who have raised their kids. They were so great and loved her a lot. We always have two or more people in the class room and our children’s ministry leader keeps an eye on things. We host Group Publishing and ask that our teachers attend. It has some great ideas and resources. The have curriculms also. We also have a curriculum closet and teachers fill out a paper the week before so that they will have their stuff ready on Sunday mornings or on Wednesday nights. I think that the measurement of how it is working depends on the age of the child. My daughter is seven so she isn’t as versed as my son who is thirteen. I find that both love God and both want to know more. The want to know more is a great way to see how things are going. Both of my kids will fake being well so that they won’t have to miss church.

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