Three Key Elements to Look for in a Kids Sunday School Curriculum

Summary: With so many different Sunday school curriculum programs available, how do you choose the one that’s best for your church and your kids? This article will identify the three key characteristics to look for in a curriculum to tailor it for your church, your volunteers, your schedule, and most importantly, your kids.

What are the three key elements?

When searching for a new curriculum, there are so many considerations to keep in mind. Is it the right age range? Does it match with your church’s Bible study schedule? How many weeks does it cover? Is it appropriate for your size church? The hard truth is that there is no ONE curriculum that will fit your church’s needs exactly. But the good news is that there are programs out there that you can tweak to fit your class perfectly! In order to do this easily, you’ll want to find a curriculum that is Bible-centric, Flexible, and Fun.

Bible-Centric

Being Bible-centric means that each lesson is clearly focused on the Bible and what it says. You would think this is a given for Sunday school programs, but it’s not always the case! Some curricula are more Bible “light” than others, focusing on societal norms (such as how to be nice) rather than scriptural truths (such as Bible verses). But how do you know whether or not a Sunday school program is Bible-centric? Here are some considerations to ask yourself:

  • Does the curriculum teach the Bible as God’s inspired and authoritative Word?
  • Is there balance of Old and New Testaments stories and memory verses?
  • Does the curriculum emphasize the importance of faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord?
  • Does the curriculum guide them to grow in their relationship with God and live as Jesus followers?
  • Does the curriculum encourage the teacher to prepare their hearts and minds for teaching the material? Is there a teacher devotional?
  • Are the lesson objectives (Bible learning and life-application) clearly stated for each lesson?
  • Is there appropriate scripting and discussion questions to tie each activity back to those all-important Bible truths?
  • Are Bible truths appropriate to age-level knowledge, abilities, and development?
  • Are kids encouraged to know the Bible and be able to use it hands-on? Are Bible skills taught?

If you can find a curriculum that fits most of these considerations, it will be easier to tweak it to fit your own schedule and parameters. You don’t want to have to spend additional time tying the Bible into your lessons–it should already be there!

Flexible

With so many different churches, there is no way that any one curriculum can perfectly fit them all. Instead, you should look for a program that is flexible enough for you to adapt it to the individual needs of your church, your staff, your facility, and your kids. But how do you know if it’s flexible? Here are some considerations to look for:

  • Does the material provide the teacher with a variety of learning methodologies from which to choose? (Bible-story options, activity options, etc.)
  • Are there enough ideas and suggestions to adapt the material for longer or shorter sessions? Larger or smaller groups? Different age levels? Limited equipment?
  • Does the curriculum provide a variety of ways for students to participate actively in the learning process? (Acting out the Bible story, reading from the Bible, doing motions, call and response, questions, games, singing songs, crafts, etc.)

Pro-Tip: There are series out there which adhere to a specific number of weeks, but if your church is on a slightly different schedule, it may mean extra time spent making it work for you. Instead, find a curriculum that is flexible in terms of scheduling. Looks for those that follow “lessons” rather than “weeks.” That way, you can shorten or lengthen each “lesson” to make the series fit your allotted time frame.

Fun

OK, so maybe you’re saying to yourself, “Well, duh… Of course we want the kids to have fun.” But I wonder if you’ve considered everything that makes a session of Sunday School, VBS, or a midweek program fun? It’s a whole lot more than having a variety of exciting activities.

In fact, a BIG part of making fun curriculum involves making it fun for the leaders and volunteers. Because if the leaders are having fun, the kids will, too! If the leaders bring enthusiasm and energy, the kids will respond to that and the end result will be fun! But if you’re feeling stressed, rushed, or confused, the best activities in the WORLD won’t create a fun environment.

So when you’re evaluating a curriculum, here are some things that can make your life easier and help bring on the Fun:

  • Are the needed materials easy to find? In other words, from your home or the church resource room? Maybe a quick trip to the dollar store? Nothing too exotic or expensive.
  • Is the leader guide easy to understand?
    • Consistency of format: lesson to lesson and unit to unit.
    • Logical flow to the material: Opening activities, Bible story, additional activities, etc.
    • Guided conversation: Scripting is great, particularly for Bible stories, but also to introduce or wrap-up activities.
    • Discussion questions that tie the activities back to Bible truths—open-ended!
  • Do the materials allow for a reasonable amount of time to prepare?
  • Are the vocabulary and concepts appropriate for the age and abilities of the kids?
  • Are the leader guides, student papers, and other materials attractive? Do they encourage involvement?
  • Are the Bible-learning approaches appropriate to the mental, spiritual, social, and physical development of the students?

To Sum Up…

These three characteristics are the markers of a solid curriculum that anyone can tailor to their church:
• Bible-centric
• Flexible
• Fun
Once you find the right curriculum with these key characteristics, you’ll be well on your way to easily fitting it into your existing church program. With a little creativity, you’ll have a perfectly tailor-made curriculum that will help your kids learn more about God and study his word, while also having fun!

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About 28nineteen

28nineteen was birthed in response to the mandate given by Jesus in Matthew 28:19 to go into the world with the greatest product in the world, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

28nineteen Curriculum strives to follow this command by creating Sunday School and Children’s church materials that are fun, flexible, and most importantly, Bible-centric.

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351 Executive Dr., Carol Stream, IL 60188

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