Friday, December 10, 2010

Rotation Curriculum and a Look Ahead!

Hello! Today we will look at the final type of curriculum and then tie it all together before we take a look at what we will be talking about next week.

  • Rotation Sunday School – this type of curriculum is relatively new to the curriculum “market”.  In this teaching style, you select a lesson and then cover it for one month – four weeks.  Four teachers each take a part of the lesson – story, games, craft and one other station that varies per topic – they will then learn and teach for four weeks in a row.  You divide your children into four groups and they rotate to a different station each week until they rotate through each station over the four week session.
    • Strengths of Rotation Sunday School –
      • Utilizes lots of activity
      • Allows kids to learn according to the different learning styles – intelligences
      • Allows volunteers to learn one lesson and repeat it for four weeks rather than learn a new lesson each week
    • Challenges of Rotation Sunday School –
      • Possibly could put too much activity in the “mix” – kids will have fun, but will they really learn how the activity connects with the Bible point?
      • Relies on Volunteers who are willing to teach in non-traditional methods and who are able to help kids make the connections
      • Children who are with a different parent every other weekend will miss half of each session
    • Examples of Rotation Sunday School –
    • Top Pick of Rotation Sunday School –
      • I really am not “sold” on this model for use on a Sunday morning.  However, I do believe you could take any of these resources and use them for a family event, or divide each lesson in two and use them for two weeks in your mid-week ministry to children – just have the children rotate through two stations each week.
When you understand your church's unique history, community and culture and have a written vision/purpose then you are able to evaluate curriculum types to find the one that will be the best "fit" for your ministry. For example, if your church has a more conservative history and community you may run into opposition if you try to utilize a non-traditional or large group/small group curriculum. This doesn't mean you couldn't make the move to one of those type of curriculum, but if you do you need to prepare your volunteers and help them understand your reasoning for making the change. I once taught a training for a church that made a switch from a traditional curriculum to a non-traditional one. The volunteers at this church were so unhappy with their new curriculum that they literally yelled at me for ten minutes complaining about the things they didn't like with their new materials. Then they apologized for yelling and we were able to talk about their church history, community, culture and vision/purpose - none of these things had been considered when making the curriculum change. Eventually they were able to develop a vision/purpose and found a different curriculum that was a better "fit" for their ministry.

Keep in mind; if you are thinking about trying a new curriculum in your children’s ministry, the best time of year to make a change is with the start of your new “school” year in the Fall. This makes Spring the best time to evaluate and select your curriculum as it allows you time in the summer to provide opportunities for training to introduce your volunteers to the new curriculum and help them understand the most effective ways to use their new curriculum. The month of April we will spend time looking at my Top Ten Curriculum Picks with a side-by-side comparison chart to help you in your curriculum evaluation. There are specific features/tools I look for in curriculum and these are the items I compare each curriculum with in the chart. Along with the comparison chart, I'll provide a key to the comparison chart where I explain each of the features/tools I looked for and why. I hope you'll find the key and the chart helpful as you evaluate which curriculum will best enable you to equip the children in your church in ministry so they are able to remember, understand, and live God’s Word for truly changed lives!

Next week we will talk about planning a ministry of volunteer support and encouragement! This is the perfect time to take a look forward into 2011 and think about what you can do to help your volunteers feel supported and appreciated so we will look at developing a prayer support ministry, planning special events and more! Please plan to join us and tell your friends and family so they can join in the conversation with us!

Remember - January will be devoted to 2011 VBS with my Top Ten countdown and side-by-side comparison charts! 

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