There are a variety of curricular resources that can be used with children in your Christian formation settings.
They fall into several categories:
- Lectionary-based follows the appointed readings for the Sunday. It includes an Old Testament lesson (Hebrew Scriptures), Psalm, New Testament lesson (an Epistle/Letter, Acts of the Apostles, or Revelation of John), and Gospel (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John). This is on a three-year cycle and the most common lectionary used in denominations is the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL). A benefit to using a lectionary curriculum is that all ages are delving deeper into the same lessons that are heard in worship.
- Sequential curricula take the Biblical story and share it over the course of a year (or more). Often broken into seasonal units, the Fall season often covers stories from the Old Testament and as Advent approaches, stories of Jesus’ birth. Winter usually follows Jesus’ life and ministry, leading up to Holy Week, Easter and post-Resurrection appearances. This type of curriculum covers the most Bible stories, and puts them in ‘sequential’ order, especially helpful for children and helps explore the scope of our salvation story.
- Rotation (aka Workshop Rotation Model) is easily explained as a learning center approach. WoRM became popular soon after Howard Gardiner developed his theory of Multiple Intelligences (each of us have different learning styles). Children move from station to station (one per week) discovering a Biblical story or theme through art, music, drama, cooking, science, computers and more. It is very experiential, which for today’s child is something to be considered. However, if one were to explore one biblical story for 6-8 weeks, there would not be many stories shared in the course of a year.
- Thematic resources are just that – they are focused on a theme. These might be short-term materials that are used during special seasons or when you want to focus on a project. They might be on topics such as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), hunger, stewardship, peace, All Saints, the sacraments: Baptism or Eucharist.
- Montessori style curricula follow the education philosophy and practice of Maria Montessori that fosters rigorous, self-motivated growth for children and adolescents in all areas of their development, with a goal of nurturing each child’s natural desire for knowledge, understanding, and respect. Such programs are Godly Play, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, and Children & Worship.
I regularly develop charts (here is the latest chart) that overviews a multitude of curricular resources to be used with children. While it doesn’t list every resource, it is fairly comprehensive. Within the chart you will find the publisher, website, foundation statement, content articulation, types of activities, teacher support available and cost. Search “curriculum” on this website and you will get reviews and info on many more.