Over the past two weeks, I've written an article on how we've selected curriculum at Sojourn and one on the curriculum we use. But what if we weren't using the Gospel Story curriculum? What would we be using? Here is list of my top 7:
1. Treasuring Christ by Providence Baptist Church (Raleigh, NC)-- an excellent curriculum driven by five distinctives: (1) Gospel-centrality, (2) Connecting Church and Home, (3) Unified Lessons, (4) Teacher-friendly lesson plans including games, original songs, creative ideas, and teacher devotionals, (5) Mission--curriculum is free for the nations (ministries outside the US), church plants (under seven years old) and missionaries. Check out their website. Download Samples.
2. Show Me Jesus! by Great Commission Publications-- We actually did use this curriculum for several years. It was the one originally chosen in 2007, and we have only recently moved away to the Gospel Story curriculum in the last year. The curriculum is not unified like Gospel Story or Treasuring Christ, but this is a philosophical difference not neglect of family-equipping. It is clear in the title of all three curriculum sets that Jesus is central. Show Me Jesus! is built around a classical model of education as described in Susan Hunt's Heirs of the Covenant: Leaving a Legacy of Faith for the Next Generation. Following this model, Toddlers learn a vocabulary of faith. Preschoolers learn about God's covenant promises and how he keeps them. Then, Elementary students learn to respond to God by trusting, obeying, and worshiping Him. Check out their website. Download samples.
3. The Little Village / Kid's Village by Village Church (Flower Mound, TX) The Village Church curriculum is also pre-publication. It is incremental as well. However, Village has done an excellent job putting together their lessons, and they give it away free to church plants who contract with them to use it. In each lesson, the Little Village preschool curriculum teaches one of five foundational truths: (1) God Made Everything, (2) Jesus is in charge of Everything, (3) Jesus Came to Save Sinners, (4) God is Good, and (5) God wants to talk with us. In each lesson the Kid's Village grade school curriculum teaches one of four primary truths about God: (1) God is wise. God knows what is best. (2) God is generous. God gives what is best. (3) God is loving. God does what is best. (4) God is Good. God is what is best. Visit the Little Village website. Download Little Village Samples. Visit the Kid's Village website.
4. What's in the Bible? Church Edition is a 52 week digital video curriculum based on the new 13 DVD series by Veggie Tales creator, Phil Vischer. The curriculum as a whole is designed to walk through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation with grade school kids presenting it as the story of God and what He has done for us. The stated goal of the curriculum is to help kids know what they believe and know what it is like to live those beliefs in front of the eyes of a watching world. Check out the website. Download samples.
5. Generations of Grace by Grace Community Church (Sun Valley, CA). Generations of Grace is a unified, digital, biblically-based and God-centered Sunday school curriculum designed for children three years old through the sixth grade. Over a three-year period, this curriculum covers the Old Testament historical books, the life of Christ, and lessons from Acts and Revelation. The basic outline is very similar to Gospel Story. Check out their website. Download samples. **Note Generations of Grace is more polished than the pre-publication Gospel Story curriculum, but they are also more convictional/close-handed about some doctrinal issues on which Sojourn does not take a firm stance. Issues include young earth creationism, the cessation of miraculous spiritual gifts, and a generally dispensational view of the relationship between the Old and New Testaments and the end times. We chose not to adopt this curriculum for this reason.
6. Children Desiring God by Bethlehem Baptist Church (Minneapolis, MN). CDG's aim is to impart to children a vision of God, who He is, and who we are in relation to Him, and to establish them with a foundation of doctrine and truth. CDG wants to see kids biblically grounded, seeing God as the hero of every story, with a God-centered world view and a faith that will hold them when the days of testing come. They want to seek kids love the Lord their God with all their heart, and to delight in Him forever. Like Show Me Jesus!, CDG's curriculum is incremental rather than unified. Unlike most curricula, the CDG materials begin in the church nursery! Their nursery and parenting resources are some of the very best available. Their conference resources (seminar notes all past conferences online) are amazing as well.Check out their website. Download samples.
7. Praise Factory! by Capitol Hill Baptist Church and 9 Marks Ministries (Washington, D.C.) This curriculum is designed to teach systematic theology and church history to kids through big questions and answers and music. The curriculum is digital and incremental. All of the Praise Factory curriculum is free of charge for those using it for non-commercial, educational purposes. 9 Marks asks for a one-time $150 tax-deductible donation from those who can afford it. Check out their website.