Curriculum Overview


Samples of curricula marked with * are available at the Massachusetts Conference Resource Center. 

The curricula below are listed in alphabetical order. 

*Akaloo
Publisher:  Augsburg Fortress (Publishers for Evangelical Lutheran Church in America)
Foundation Statement:  Everyone is united behind a single theme: We are called to follow Jesus.
Content:  The program is organized by age group—Children, Youth, and Adults—with each stage focusing on five areas or units of discipleship: Bible, God, Disciple, Church, and World.
Teacher Support:  Answers stop a conversation—questions keep it alive. With Akaloo, disciples grow through age-appropriate questions that increase in complexity and repeat across the lifespan: "Who is God's Son?" "How can my family help others?" "What is God calling me to become?" Each Akaloo lesson responds to these questions, offering further questions and continued growth.
Format:  Downloadable and printed materials.
More information:  www.akaloo.org

*Best of Whole People of God
Publisher:  Woodlake Publishing (non-denominational)
Foundation Statement:  Explore, live and celebrate our faith with lessons related to everyday life.
Content:  Lectionary based.  Follows the Revised Common Lectionary.
Teacher Support:  Detailed lesson outline for each class. 
Format:  All materials are download-able.  You print only what you need.
More information:  www.wholepeopleofgod.com

*Connect:  Tween Sunday School

Publisher:  Augsburg Fortress

Foundational Statement: With Connect, tweens (grades 5-6) revisit the Bible’s greatest stories, uncover major biblical themes, and discover how the Bible relates to their own lives. It’s Bible-centered Sunday school with just enough quirky tween humor to get them hooked.
Content: Kids explore an Anchor Text that sets up the lesson’s theme, along with up to 3 Supporting Texts to see how that theme plays out in the Bible. As they explore the text, kids highlight, underline, sketch on, search through, and draw in the pages of the Connect Bible.

Teacher Support: Tweens watch a video that blends witty, slap-stick, just-for-them humor and solid theology to introduce the session theme.  After exploring the text and themes in the Bible, kids relate the themes to their own lives through project-style activities included in the Connect Learner Sheets.

Format:  DVD, Leader Guide and Learner Leaflet.

More Information:   wearesparkhouse.org.
 

*Crossings for Kids
Publisher:  Logos Productions (non-denominational)
Foundational Statement:  Every Sunday school curriculum resource sets out to teach the Bible. But most don't teach the whole Bible. Crossings for Kids focuses on the eight "core" stories of the Bible and draws on children's multiple intelligences to explore a range of Bible stories in several chronological themes, pairing spiritual appropriateness and cognitive readiness. And it includes at-home materials to nurture whole families in faith.
Content:  Crossings for Kids introduces children in Grades 1-6 to the entire Bible within the context of eight core stories:
1. God’s call declares God’s intention to be in relationship with us.
2. The exodus invites us to enter into the freedom God gives.
3. Sinai covenant explores what it means to live as God’s chosen people.
4. Promised land celebrates the fulfillment of God’s promises.
5. Davidic rule marks God’s presence with us, in good times and in bad.
6. Jesus’ life reveals to us the heart of God.
7. The cross marks our life in Christ as followers on the way.
8. Resurrection life opens us to the full and abundant life God intends for all people.
Teacher Support:  Complete session plans and background information tailored to the needs of each grade level. Includes 10 unique color teaching pictures and the Crossings Story Time Line
Format:  Leaders Guide, teaching pictures, student journal and Crossings at Home.
More information:  www.logosproductions.com

Faith Practices
Publisher:  Pilgrim Press (UCC)
Foundation Statement:  Faith Practices provides activities that give Christians ways to practice
their faith. These practices can be taught and learned and implemented, and they can lead us into discipleship. Faith practices teach us attitudes and values of the life of an authentic follower of Jesus.
Content:  Each year Faith Practices introduces resources for four “Circles of Practices.”  The components are broken up into age groups and settings.  The resources may be used in a variety of settings.  
Teacher Support:  Activities are described and links are provided to additional materials which may be needed. 
Format: All downloadable from the internet.  One purchases a subscription which gives access to the materials.
More Information:  http://www.ucc.org/education/practices/

*Feasting on the Word

Publisher:  Feasting on the Word

Foundation Statement:  Feasting on the Word offers pastors and church educators focused resources for sermon preparation and education. All resources in the Feasting on the Word collection utilize the biblical texts assigned by the Revised Common Lectionary, and for each text, readers will find brief essays on the exegetical, theological, homiletical, and pastoral challenges of the text. The two main collections under Feasting on the Word are the lectionary commentary series Feasting on the Word: Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary and the new Feasting on the Word Curriculum: Teaching the Revised common Lectionary.

The editors of these resources are from a wide variety of disciplines and religious traditions. These authors teach in colleges and seminaries. They lead congregations by preaching or teaching. They write scholarly books as well as columns for newspapers and journals. They oversee denominations. In all of these capacities and more, they serve God's Word, joining in the ongoing challenge of bringing that Word to life.

Content:  Follows the Revised Common Lectionary with lessons for each grade or a multi-age group.

Teacher Support:  Detailed lesson for teachers, color pictures sent separately.

Format:  Downloadable or in Fall 2012 can get it printed/shipped.

For more information:  http://www.feastingontheword.net/Pages/Item/1444/Curriculum.aspx

 

*Gather Round:  Hearing and Sharing God’s Good News
Publisher:  Brethren Press and Mennonite Publishing (Publishers for Church of Brethren and Mennonite Church USA)
Foundation Statement:  Bible Story centered with an emphasis on strengthening the connection between church and home, discipleship, and peace and justice issues.
Content:  Biblically based on three foundational texts; Luke 10:27 (…where two or three are gathered…), Matthew 18:20 (the golden Rule) and Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (the shema).
Teacher Support:  Teacher guide contains detailed lesson plan for each class.  Accompany pack with posters and reproducible sheets
Format:  Leader’s Guide, resource pack and magazine for kids
More information:  www.gatherround.org

*Grow, Proclaim, Serve!

Publisher:  Cokesbury

Foundation Statement:  Grow, Proclaim, Serve! was created to offer the highest degree of flexibility while still maintaining those elements that are important to you—Bible-based, easy-to-use, and flexible session plans, and age-appropriateness.  Grow, Proclaim, Serve! provides a full faith experience for children with Bible stories, activities, crafts, media, and games and is packed with helpful features for your church.  This curriculum has a strong “mission” component. 

Content:  Bible Story based on a three year cycle.

Teacher Support:  Detailed lessons provided for each week.  Web resources and links to mission projects. 

Format:  Leader’s guide, resource packs, optional dvd, flexibility to meet many budgets, web based tools and more.

More Information: www.growproclaimserve.com

 

*Holy Moly:  The Bible Brought to Life

Publisher:  Augsburg Fortress

Foundation Statement:  Holy Moly irresistibly captures the imagination of kids by bringing the Bible to life. Kids walk away from class excitedly retelling the stories they just learned and eagerly awaiting what’s next.

Content: 32 Bible based Lessons, DVD, Leader Guide and Learner Leaflet.  For Pre-readers and Readers.  Each Holy Moly lesson starts with an activity to jump start kids’ imaginations about what they’ll see and do! Kids get a preview of who they’ll see in the video & learn something special to watch for.  Next, kids talk about the story they just watched. Kids relate to the Bible story and each other. They talk about what surprised them & what made them wonder!  Create: Then, creativity flows as kids complete activities that reinforce the lessons they watch in the Bible story retelling.

Teacher Support:  There is a dvd with a  short cartoon like clip, leader’s guide which then amplifies the lesson. 

Format:  DVD, Leader guide, Learner Leaflet.

More information:  http://holymoly.wearesparkhouse.org/


 

 

*A Joyful Path:  Spiritual Curriculum for Young Hearts and Minds
Publisher:  the Center for Progressive Theology
Foundation Statement:  A groundbreaking progressive Christian children's curriculum that celebrates a joy-filled life, compassion for all, and the wisdom within.
Content:  Thirty six full lessons for children ages six to ten years old.
Teacher Support:  Teacher guide contains detailed lesson plan for each class. 
Format:  All comes in one spiral bound book.
More information:  (www.progressivechristianity.org)

*Living the Good News
Publisher:  Morehouse Publishing (serves the Episcopal Church)
Foundation Statement:  A lectionary-based curriculum that helps bring the weekly readings alive for all ages.  Has materials catered specifically to United Church of Christ congregations.  You can look at these at http://www.livingthegoodnews.com/
Content:  Lectionary based
Teacher Support:  Detailed lesson outline for each class.
Format:  Leader’s Guide, take home sheet and companion visuals
More information:  http://www.morehouseeducation.org/living-the-good-news/lectionary-based-curriculum.php


*Seasons of the Spirit
Publisher:  Multidenominational (distributed by United Church Press)
Foundation Statement:  To provide God's people with lectionary-based, ecumenical resources that empower all ages to be transformed in Christ as they explore meaning and mystery in the Bible and  celebrate in worship, sacraments, education, and service
Content:  Lectionary based
Teacher Support:  Leader’s guide includes materials for photocopying.  Detailed class outline with variety of activities.   The congregational life material ties the learning in Sunday school to worship experience.
Format:  Materials can be purchased on paper, disc or downloadable
More information:  www.spiritseasons.com

* Spark – Active Faith
Publisher:  Augsburg Fortress (Publishers for Evangelical Lutheran Church in America)
Foundation Statement:  Spark is a Sunday school faith formation program designed to activate faith in children ages 2 through grade 6. It's innovative, intuitive and designed to ease the burden of planning and teacher preparation for Christian Education Directors and Sunday school teachers.  Spark is the only Sunday school program that offers three curriculum model options, including Classroom, Lectionary, and Rotation, that can be customized to seamlessly integrate with your church's existing program. Bible-centered, it encourages kids to open the Scriptures and explore God's Word through a variety of age-appropriate activities designed to accommodate all of the different ways children learn.

Content: 
Spark Classroom:  Walks the children through the Bible in a two-year sequence
Spark Lectionary:  Follows the Revised Common Lectionary
Spark Rotation:  Provides 8 rotations for each Biblical Story.

Teacher Support:  Leader guides include detailed lessons for each class.  Leader Resources are posters, pictures and supplemental materials.  Each learner also has activity pages and Spark leaflets to take home. 
Format:  Print materials sent from publisher.
More information:  www.activefaith.org

*One Room School House (for smaller multi-age settings)
Publisher:  Cokesbury (Publishers for the United Methodist Church)
Foundation Statement:  Living and Learning God’s word.  A curriculum specifically created for small multi-age classrooms.
Content:  Quarterly scope and sequence 33% OT and 66%NT
Teacher Support:   Teacher book contains specific plans for designing lessons.  Pictures, games, maps, songs, posters included.
Format:  Everything comes packaged together
More information:  www.cokesbury.com

Workshop Rotation Curricula

Come Join the Circle - www.logosproductions.com
Come Join the Circle welcomes learners and leaders into the heart of the Bible’s great stories.  These rotation-style learning materials help create the kind of learning environment where the Bible is at the center and fun and creativity abound. (Publishers description)
• Features of Come Join the Circle:
• Holistic - Relies on leading mainline theology -  Honors all people and cultures through language, music, and art -  Encourages learners to live their faith in community - Raises awareness of the wider world
• Inexpensive - Each unit includes all necessary materials for students and teachers - One unit equips any size church school - Each unit can be used for 3–5 weeks - Resources are reproducible and reusable
• Intergenerational - Ages 3–12 explore the same story each unit - Reproducible newsletter shares themes with the whole congregation
• Supportive - Each unit includes teacher training - Come Join the Circle Planning Guide ($12.95) offers program overview and additional background information
• Complete - Biblical and educational backgrounds included for leaders - Three to six storytelling options - Response activities organized in eight different learning centers - Resource comes with print music, reproducible lyrics, CD, and color teaching visuals
 
*Cornerstone - http://www.cstones.com/
• Cornerstones Publishing is committed to supporting and empowering the educational ministries of the local church by providing creative, flexible, biblically sound educational resources. With engaging curriculum, both participants and teachers will develop a faith that is integrated with their life experiences.
Cornerstones Publishing is the only Christian education curriculum that allows you to customize your education program. Our unique CD format allows you to custom fit the curriculum to meet the educational goals of your congregation.
Cornerstones offers you:
• The convenience of over 600 lessons at your fingertips with our exclusive CD format - Every story has up to 11 lessons for you to choose from - The ability to choose one lesson at a time, a full unit or a full year of curriculum - The ability to have instant access to lessons via our web site ordering process - The ability to edit the lessons to suit your congregation - The ability to email the lessons to your teachers. (Publishers description)         

*Potters Workshops - http://www.potters-workshops.com/
The Potter’s Workshops writes and publishes Christian Sunday School Curriculum for the Workshop Rotation Model using the multiple intelligences theory of learning by Howard Gardner and is biblically based using key themes and concepts. The Potter’s Workshops believes that the workshop rotation model is more than just snazzy room environments and fun activities. They believe that Biblical concepts drive the rotational units, stories and engaging activities are the vehicles, and the room environment is an enhancement. The Potter's Workshops curriculum will uphold the integrity of your workshop rotation model Sunday school. It honors children as multi-dimensional learners with God-given multiple intelligences. It is solidly based on theology, current research in education, and educational best practices. (Publishers description)
• THE POTTER'S WORKSHOPS PROVIDES YOU WITH multiple intelligence based curriculum, biblically based curriculum using key themes and concepts, creatively designed curriculum for children Kindergarten through Sixth Grade, rotational units on CD that are adaptable and easily modified to your Church's needs, curriculum that makes spiritual connections to children's lives, teacher-friendly lessons.


*Spark Rotation (see above)

5 week Rotations from Woodlake Books (publishers of Whole People of God) www.woodlakebooks.com

  • A People on the Move (Exodus Story)
  • Adventures of David
  • Birth and Childhood Stories of Jesus
  • Easter Stories
  • Family Ties (Stories of Abraham and Sarah)
  • The Story of the Bible


 

Additional web based resource can be found at www.rotation.org

Other Methodology
*Godly Play – www.godlyplay.com
http://www.faith-at-home.com/godly-play.html This website offers a very good description of how Godly Play works.

Godly Play teaches children the art of using religious language - parable, sacred story, silence and liturgical action - helping them become more fully aware of the mystery of God’s presence in their lives.
"Godly play" is a term coined by Jerome Berryman to describe an approach to children's spiritual formation that is based on creating a sacred space in which to present the stories of our faith, wonder about them together, and then allow the children open-ended opportunities, usually with art supplies, to engage the story on their own terms.
The stories are told very simply, with simple props, and without interpretation or moral instruction. After a story is presented, the children and the storyteller wonder together about aspects of the story that draw their interest. For instance, with the parable of the Good Shepherd, they might wonder together how the sheep felt as they followed the shepherd. Or whether the sheep have names. Or how it might feel to be inside the sheepfold.
After a time of exploring the story with wondering, the story is put away, the children choose the art supplies they would like to work with, and they spend some time creating whatever they choose, in response to what they feel is most important in the story, or most interesting.
All Godly Play materials can be purchased through the Godly Play website:  www.godlyplay.com

Another good resource for Godly Play is Young Children and Worship by Jerome Berryman and Sonja Stewart.  Which includes patterns and instructions for box items.

Other:

*Jesus and His Kingdom of Equals by Cheryl G. Binkley and Jane M. McKeel (Polebridge Press)A study of the historical Jesus for grades 4-8

 

*The Green Church (Abingdon) Resources for Caring for Creation – Child-Adult. 
Burst Green Church Leader: Short-Term Teen Studies by Tim Gossett (Teen)
Green Church:  Caretakers of God’s Creation by Daphna Flegal (Child)
Green Church:  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rejoice by Rebekah Simon-Peter (Adult)

 

*It is Easy Being Green (Abingdon) 60 Bible lessons on recycling and care for the environment for ages 6-8.

 

*The Story of the Bible: How the World's Bestselling Book Came to Be by Cheryl Perry (Woodlake Books)

 

*All in One Bible Fun (Abingdon).  For preschool and elementary age children.  13 Lessons on variety of topics.

 


This list was compiled by the Massachusetts Conference United Church of Christ Resource Center.  The Center is made possible by Our Churches Wider Mission and Fellowship Dues.