“Curriculum Choosing” Season

Children-clipAs springtime rolls around for Christian educators (even in the midst of Lent), thoughts turn to reviewing curricula, especially if your church is feeling the need for a change or what you have been using is about to be discontinued. Now is the time to begin the research, as it really takes a concerted effort to evaluate what you’ve been using, what’s been working, what’s not been working, what direction you want to go (or continue on), and how the needs of your church (and its families and children) have changed.

With that in mind, springtime has meant a time for me to update the curriculum overview charts that I’ve been doing for 10+ years. Most of the time, each year I simply need to make sure the website address for each resource is correct and update the prices (which inevitably go up a few dollars and cents every year). There’s always a program that is no longer being published or a new one making its debut.

All that remains true for the 2014-2015 program year, with a few additional changes I’ve discovered as I updated, added, and subtracted from my 2013 charts:

  • Despite churches having fewer funds to purchase curricula and more “writing their own” (see the results from the curricula survey I did a year ago), a few publishers are cranking out more new products in a field that is already full of stuff.
  • Older resources are being converted to pay-and-download only (which may be extending their life) for a less-expensive fee.
  • Most publishers offer webinars to introduce new curriculum and/or videos on their website (or YouTube). Teacher training is also offered via video on the websites.
  • There is an increase in video usage in programs, but not all DVD-based. Use of life-streaming is making an appearance.
  • More resources and actual modules for home use. For some, the “Sunday School” portion of the material is a small part of the lesson plan – the rest is meant to be done at home as a family.
  • Pricing is increasing to a license-based model (especially on-line and downloadable material) and as these are often based on average Sunday attendance, the number of children in your program or (now) whether it is used in a home-setting (for homeschoolers).

I’ve expanded the chart this year with several additions – some new curricula (Whirl, Shine On), programs I wouldn’t exactly call curriculum but I know are being used as such (Messy Church), and a few that publishers actually contacted me about, wanting their materials listed on the chart (Discipleland, Faith Practices). So . . . here it is . . . my 2014 Children’s Curriculum Chart!

April2014ChildCurriculumChart

2016 UPDATE! Charts for all age levels (and confirmation) can be found here.

Let the e-mails fly back to me as they usually do with whatever errors you find or missing material you feel I should have included. Happy evaluating!

And if you want more help in evaluating and choosing, don’t forget to visit Building Faith’s Curriculum Center in the Resource Room.

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