Wednesday, January 8, 2014

#KidsMin from A to Z: Curriculum & Communication

Happy Wednesday, Friends! 

I am so excited about this Wednesday!  For one thing I have missed my little ones terribly.  I've seen them on Sundays but our program takes a 3 week break for Christmas on Wednesdays and I haven't seen several of my kids since the last time we had AWANA and Transit back in 2013.  I'm also super excited because we are entering my favorite month in all of AWANA!  It's time for Arctic Snowball Month! 

Arctic Snowball time is simply put incredible.  In my neck of the woods we LOVE snow!  We so rarely see it that when there is even a hint of that fluffy and white winter goodness we kind of go crazy.  We go to bed with dreams of snowmen and snowball fights and wake up rushing to the window praying that when we pull back the curtains we'll see snowflakes.  Unfortunately, more often than not all we see when we pull back those curtains is dirt and dead grass.  I have come up with a way to motivate my kids to learn there verses and to bring them snow all at the same time.  Throughout the month they earn points to accumulate snow for Miss Mary's Snow Mountain the first week of February and it is a huge success!  I'll be doing a detailed post on this in a couple of weeks.  In the meantime if you'd like more information feel free to ask in the comments!  

I'm also excited because I think we are coming out of this dreadfully cold polar vortex.  Yesterday we had a high of 28 and today we are moving all the way up to 44.  That's much better for this southern girl.  Like I said yesterday, if we aren't having snow then I don't want it to be so dreadfully cold. 

Today, I'm covering the letter C in my newest series on #KidsMin from A to Z. 

Curriculum and communication are such big and important topics that I couldn't think about leaving either one of them out.  In fact, they are so big that I'm breaking the letter C up into 2 days.  Today I'll cover curriculum and I'll come back and finish up with communication tomorrow.  

Curriculum:  Let me just say that I am so thankful for my fellow Children's Pastor friends because they are a lifeline when it comes to curriculum.  I can't count the number of times that we have all e-mailed each other asking for recommendations on what has worked for us and what hasn't.  I said this when I covered AWANA but I think it is so important that I am going to say it again.   What works for one ministry doesn't work for everyone.  We use a variety of curriculum from a variety of companies for our different ministries and I truly believe that I have found the best fits for my ministry.  However, that doesn't mean it is the best fit for you. 

Here's what we use and what I like about it:

Connections (or Sunday School): Group's Hands on Bible Curriculum for preschoolers-5th graders.  I absolutely love this curriculum for my connections hour.  It's simple and easy for my teachers because everything they need comes in their box (minus the basics such as crayons and markers).  The lesson plans are easy to read, understand, and teach from and it provides a variety of activities to keep the kids engaged from start to finish.  

Children's Church: The Gospel Project by Lifeway for our K-3rd graders.  This curriculum is simply amazing and I love what it has done for our Children's Church hour.  It's a wonderful media based curriculum that provides opportunities for both large group and small group times which is working wonderfully for our rapidly growing kids church.  It also provides short videos (you don't watch a screen the whole time) that correlate directly to the lesson and keep our kids engaged and interested.  

Wednesday Nights: AWANA- I think I summed this up pretty well on the letter A so visit here to see what we like about this fantastic program!  

Transit (Grades 5&6)- For Transit we also use another program by Lifeway called Flyte that is designed specifically for pre-teens and I love this curriculum!  I think that I can speak for my volunteers and say that they are enjoying it as well and enjoy teaching it.  Like the Gospel Project it is a media based program that keeps the kids engaged.  It also provides great ideas for games, activities, and small group time.  I have seen such a great amount of growth in the heart of our pre-teens since we started using this program and they are really connecting with it and learning from it. 

For our toddlers and preschoolers we use short 4 week series done by various people such as Veggie Tales to give the kids something that is simple and on their level.  Many times my volunteers for these classes will come in with their own lessons that they have designed at home based on simple Bible lessons and I always have a big supply of books, coloring sheets, and Veggie Tales stacked in my office for them to choose from.  Our babies listen to Praise Baby worship songs throughout our service and we consider that their teaching time and lesson. 

That's what we use and why we like it.  It's so important to provide your volunteers with solid curriculum that is easy for them to use.  Make sure that you are asking your volunteers what they like or don't like and that you are listening to their suggestions.  I get catalogs from companies monthly that I look through and I am always open to changing a curriculum or using something else if what we have isn't working.  The thing I remember about curriculum is that it's always about flexibility. 

Do you have a curriculum that you would recommend?  

Sound off in the comments below!   

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