If it’s April it must mean I need to update my curriculum charts. So here’s the first installment, focusing on resources that I would consider curriculum for children – meaning they include lesson plans for a teacher to use in a formation setting. By children I mean those between the ages of birth (nursery) through age 12 (5th grade).
With every year comes some new resources while others cease to be published. There has definitely been an uptick in the number of curricular products now available as downloadable documents, either as pdfs or editable docs. Illustrations are more modern and represent more diversity, although I sometimes wonder if publishers are jumping on the “Disney Wagon” in making everything look like a cartoon, including a princess or two. Costs are definitely going up (the cost of paper has skyrocketed this past year due to tariffs); perhaps another reason why downloading materials is becoming more prevalent.
In any case, here is the April 2019 Curriculum Chart for Children. In my research, I did discover more than is presented here. For example, I have chosen not to include one product (I won’t share name or publisher) that offers a giant poster called “From Adam to Jesus” which is a direct family tree and timeline of how Jesus descended directly from Adam and Eve. And I won’t share one that includes a mission statement that “the Old Testament is fulfilled in the birth of Jesus Christ.” To ease your processes in evaluating and choosing curriculum, here are my tips:
When consulting with congregations about choosing curriculum, I always advise that post-Easter is the best time to start the discernment and review process––not in August or September when you suddenly want to try something new! So, now that we are in Eastertide (Alleluia!), below are the updated charts of curricular resources that are published for children (ages 0-12) and youth (ages 13-18), as well as confirmation program resources (for youth and adults) from a variety of denominational perspectives. Continue reading Spring 2018 Curriculum Charts are here!→
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.
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.
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→