I can always tell when mid-August hits. The peepers are loud outside my windows at night and in the morning my in-box is full of queries: How do I access my curriculum subscription? Do you have a teacher commissioning service? I can’t find your planning calendar. What do you recommend for first communion instruction (with the caveat – “I know, but the parents were raised Catholic.”). The same questions appear year after year and I’ve tried to curate many of those answers within this site.
So here are some links (or documents) in one place to help finalize all those last-minute details as you prepare (or have already begun) to start your Christian education program year. Continue reading Program Year Countdown Resources
Every spring I update the curriculum overview charts that I’ve been doing for about fifteen years now. Not a whole lot has changed in the below charts (for children or youth) but I have noticed a few changes:
- Most years price increases were typically 50¢ per leader guide, student booklet, or resource pack. In my checking for updates on what have become the “staples” on the list, I saw increases of $1.00 or even more. It is either getting much more expensive to publish curriculum (probably) and/or publishers are needing to increase prices to keep the “bottom line” stable with fewer people purchasing a range of products. (Just my personal observation.)
- Almost all leader guides to curriculum are available as a download and those costs are often the same as the print.
- There were fewer “new” curricular programs making a debut in the past year.
In looking at and using the below updated charts, I steer you back to some of my previous postings on choosing curriculum and processes for evaluating and planning educational programming: Continue reading 2017 Curriculum Overview Charts
I always tell congregations that right after Easter is the time to begin evaluating the current programmatic year, especially if a church seeks to discern a new curricular resource to use with children, youth, and/or adults. So this comes a little earlier than in past years, with Easter just days away.
You’ll find my processes and recommendations for evaluation and choosing resources here.
Here are the updated charts that compare a variety of curricular resources from across denominational lines. Granted, this is not an all-inclusive list, but ones that I am aware of that exist within the mainstream. That being said, remember, your choice of curriculum (or any other resource) is dependent on what your needs are. A curriculum will not “solve” all your problems and serve as a tool that can systematically help you achieve your goals. I chose to review the below resources as curricula because they typically involve a Leader’s Guide of some sort, as well as specific lesson plans or outlines for group usage. Continue reading Updated Curriculum Charts
All the planning, implementation, and celebrations of Holy Week and Easter Sunday are now a joyful memory, and those of you working in a congregation have hopefully had a quiet week of reflection and rest. But there is no rest for the weary . . . it’s time to begin evaluating this past year and begin planning for the next program year.
A checklist for the coming weeks:
- Collect feedback from volunteer leaders and teachers about what worked and what needs improvement. Plan how you will be recognizing and giving thanks to all those who have given their time and talents this past academic year.
- Begin the discernment process for calling new teachers and volunteers for next year.
- Evaluate the programs and the resources you have been using. Do they need tweaking or refreshment? Poll participants, including children and youth, about what they have found memorable and life-giving over the past nine months.
- Gather a group of parents, teachers, and other leaders together to discuss the curricula you have been using. What has worked? What hasn’t?
- From your evaluation processes, what will your goals be for next year?
- Discern what curricula and program resources can support your goals with a team that represents the ministries and cohorts of your congregation.
Some tools to help in your discernment: Continue reading It’s Planning Season!