Choosing a Curriculm

Choosing a Curriculum - this workshop was given at Super Saturday on March 9, 2013.
Martha Butler Cook explores the process of choosing and using curricula for your congregation. This workshop is a requirement for the MACUCC Christian Education certificate. The information from her handouts can be found below and at:

Guide to Making Curriculum Selections

Adapted from for the Massachusetts Conference Resource Center
Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. — Hebrews 12:1c
Curriculum. The word is Latin for “race course” and conjures up images of runners sprinting from the starting line toward the prized goal. Curriculum—in the church—is a course of events, relationships, discoveries, and transformations that congregations
experience along faith’s journey. When carefully selected, curriculum resources and materials may help your congregation fully experience God, the Bible, and faith along the way. 
This guide offers you a step-by-step process to select the curriculum resources that will best help your congregation run its faithful course. Use these steps to guide your planning over a long period of serious educational study or as a quick help for a one-time selection committee. The questions are helpful even if it is your sole responsibility to select and order
Our prayer is that God will prepare the course ahead of you and that the prayerful selection of resources will enrich your congregation’s educational ministry.
Steps for Curriculum Selection
  1. Pray for God’s guidance.
    Throughout the entire planning selecting process, take time for prayer and prayerful discernment.  Your curriculum choices will invite persons into particular experiences with God and with one another. Call on God to help you imagine the appropriate outcomes and experiences for your congregation.
  2. Select a team.
    Call together a group that is excited about your church’s educational ministry. Choose people who are responsible for making resource selections—try to include teachers, learners (children, youth, and adults), ministers, and others who represent the whole congregation. Develop a list of names of people who will make a commitment and note the unique perspective each may bring to the work.
How to Select Curriculum Resources
 Use the following to develop a statement of vision:
What hopes do you have for your congregation?
What is God calling your congregation to be and do?
How can education support that calling and hope?
After answering these questions, state in a sentence your team’s vision for education.
  1. Identify your vision.

    Determine your congregation’s vision of education, outlining the goals and hopes your congregation has for its educational ministry. If time allows, test your team’s vision with others in your congregation.   Make needed changes in the vision statement that will enhance the overall congregation’s commitment to the vision. See how it relates to your congregation’s mission statement and to the mission of other committees.
  2. Evaluate and select resources.

    The following questions will help determine theological themes and teaching approaches that will match the educational need for each of the identified settings and the needs and interests of learners. Skim catalogs, curriculum samples, publisher web sites or other resource information that match your vision and needs.   If time allows, test the resources with persons who will actually use them.  
Create a check list for each resource reviewed to include the following:
Curriculum Resource Name:
For use with what group?
General Review
  • How will these resources help you carry out your congregation’s vision for education?
  • How do these resources relate to the overall life of the congregations—its worship, outreach, and mission?
  • How could these resources be helpful in our setting?
  • How is the Bible used in the material?
  • What are the theological commitments of the material?
  • How do they reflect the commitments of your congregation and/or denomination?
  • How do these resources reflect diversity, or the need for diversity in your congregation, denomination, or community?
  • How are leaders and teachers supported in ways that give them confidence?
  • How do these resources encourage home or parental participation?
  • What would be the overall cost—including all required materials—to use these resources in this setting?
Teaching and Learning
  • When the learners have finished using these resources, what new information do you imagine they will know and what kinds of experiences will they have had?
  • Are the materials accurate, appealing, and age-appropriate?
  • Are the lesson plans easy to use, as well as flexible, for the setting in which they will be used?
  • What transforming impact might the resources have for individuals and the whole life of your congregation?
  • Why would you recommend or not recommend this resource for use?
  • What should be done as a result of your recommendation (order, check out another resource for a particular teaching approach, call a publisher for answers to questions).