Thursday, April 26, 2012

Curriculum Review - Best Buys - Spark from Augsburg Fortress!

Spark is a Bridge Sunday School curriculum from Augsburg Fortress with a strong focus on teaching God's Word! Spark is one of my "best buys" for the following reasons -
  1. Churches with definite budget issues could purchase just the teacher books for $8 per class per quarter.
  2. Churches are able to purchase student materials as their budget allows -   student materials for $5 per student per quarter. 
  3. If budget concerns are a strong factor, a church could purchase just one or two Spark Bibles per class and then have the children share those Bibles in class.
Again, I want to emphasize my "best buys" are those curriculum resources which are the most affordable - I know there are those who believe "you get what you pay for" and the "least expensive is not the best", but I disagree. The curriculum lines I'm designating as "best buys" are well written resources and are affordable as well. Curriculum does not have to be expensive to be the best and sometimes those which are more expensive are not "better" than less expensive options. Allow me to share with you some information about Spark!
Strengths -
  • Biblically Sound
  • Each Bible lesson is taught from the Spark Bible - older children find the lesson in the Bible
  • Variety of interactive options included for each lesson to engage children in thinking about the point of the Bible lesson
  • Unified Scope and Sequence
  • Focus on involving children in a "Live-it"-type project each week!
  • Option in the Elementary materials for a Class Service Project - love this!
  • Take Home papers are focused on getting children to think about what they learned all week and involves parents in talking with their children. IF parents commit to using these with their children they are well worth the investment!
  • Reproducible resources are available
Would like to see - 
  • Stronger focus on involving the children during the teaching of the Bible lesson in a drama-type activity - not just as an activity after the lesson is taught.
  • Quarterly service projects to "Put Feet to Their Faith" - the Elementary ages talked about doing something to serve the younger kids, but I'd like to see this as part of each quarter for every age level.
  • Optional second service
Spark curriculum is written with the goal of intentionally engaging children so they are able to learn and live God's Word for changed lives. If you are looking for a Bridge curriculum with a strong focus on being solidly grounded in God's Word, this curriculum is well worth taking a look at to see if it may be a good "fit" for your ministry! Augsburg Fortress says, "Spark is a faith formation program that gets children ages 2 through grade 6 excited about God’s Word. Spark lessons bring to life 150 stories from the Old and New Testament through games, art, music, and science, to accommodate all the different ways kids learn. And Spark’s online resources–activity ideas, preparation videos, and more–make lesson planning fun and easy for teachers."

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