Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Curriculum Reviews - Best Buys - kidz Connection!

Kidz CONNECTIONThis week I'm closing my 2012 Curriculum Reviews with a look at curriculum resources which are both excellent and easy on the budget! I will focus on a couple curriculum lines each day and then I'll release my Best Buys Curriculum Side-by-Side Comparison Chart. There are some really well designed curriculum resources available, but they are expensive. I understand the need for companies to make a profit so they are able to stay in business, however; what good is it if you have a truly excellent curriculum, but churches aren't able to afford it? I once had someone from a curriculum company tell me, "If churches really cared about the children in their ministry, they would be willing to pay whatever it cost to have the best curriculum available." I disagree. I believe churches care very much about the children in their ministries, but they have to be good stewards and paying too much for something - even if it is the "best" is not being a good steward. Plus, many churches are struggling with their budgets - the economy is difficult for everyone . . . including our churches and this does impact what churches are able to do when it comes to curriculum. I sincerely appreciate it when I see a publisher who has produced quality materials and have priced it so it is affordable.

So, let's begin with the Best Curriculum Buy Reviews! The first curriculum I'm reviewing is kidz Connection - It's All About the GROWTH. Once again, the first thing I need to say about this curriculum is, I write it. Since I write it, while I certainly want to be un-biased in my review, it really isn't highly likely this will be the most un-biased review you will ever read! Having said this . . . allow me to share with you some information about kidz Connection curriculum! kidz Connection is a Large Group/Small Group curriculum resource. It makes my "Best Buys" list for a several reasons;
  1. I'll give it for free to any church if they are unable to afford it
  2. I've priced it so it should be affordable for most churches - $50 per   quarter for preschool/early elementary and $50 per quarter for elementary
  3. Churches are welcome to make as many copies as they like for use in their ministry
  4. Each lesson includes an optional second service lesson for children's church, mid-week, longer church services - or however a church wants
I invite you to take a look at kidz Connection and consider if it might be a good "fit" for your ministry. 
  • Publisher - David Freeman Publishing 
  • Website - www.kidzconnection.us
  • Price - $50 per quarter for Preschool/Early Elementary and $50 per quarter for Elementary - or free as I give it to any church if they can not afford it.
  • Type - Large Group/Small Group
  • Scope - Through the Bible, but based on a topic - each series of lessons work from Genesis to Revelation with the goal of providing children a complete view of what the entire Bible has to say on the topic/focus for each year.
  • Available for Preschool/Early Elementary and for Elementary age children.
Strengths -
  • Biblically Sound
  • Unified Scope and Sequence
  • Entirely reproducible - and you are welcome to make as many copies as you like for no additional cost.
  • Includes an optional Second Service lesson each week - use it for Children's Church, Mid-week, a longer Sunday School or for two weeks.
  • The optional second service involves children in personalizing the Psalms or Proverbs and then praying them back to God.
  • Children are intentionally engaged throughout the lesson by helping with the dramas - this allows the children to help teach the lessons.
  • Scope is built around a topic - Grace, Obedience, Talking with God and Walk of Faithfulness are currently available with Relationships and Heart for God and others still in development - and follows this topic each quarter through the Old and New Testaments so children are able to fully understand what God's Word has to say about it from cover to cover. Quarter one focuses on "Why" I need Grace, or to Obey or to Talk with God, etc. Quarter two focuses on people from the Bible who did or did not choose Grace, or to Obey, etc. Quarter three focuses on how my life changes when I choose Grace, or to talk with God, etc and the fourth quarter each year begins with one month of review for the entire family and two months spending time in the Gospels to see Who Jesus is and how He shows His great love for me!
  • Optional Second Service lessons involve children with science projects and other object lessons, engage children in personalizing and praying the Psalms back to God and end with the leaders praying Scripture for each child in a blessing.
  • Each week has activities for children to do during the week to live what they learn.
  • Each quarter has a "Put Feet to Their Faith" service project.
  • Parent flyers are included so parents are able to continue the learning at home throughout the week.
Would like to see - 
  • Music to go with the lessons
  • Colorful graphics
  • Teacher Devotions
It is my desire to see children intentionally engaged in the teaching of the Bible lesson during large group time with the guidance of their Small Group Shepherds and Lead Teacher and then involved in real and meaningful conversations in small group time so they are able to remember and understand God's Word. I want them to be able to take what they learn out the doors of the church and live it in their everyday lives for genuinely changed lives. kidz Connection is written with the goal of providing the tools churches need to do exactly this. 

Some of the churches using kidz Connection have reported their children love being able to participate in the teaching of the Bible lesson with the dramas and "can't wait to come back the next week to see what they will be doing"! I have had churches report they have children get saved each quarter and their parents love how all their children are learning the same lesson the same week! They said their teachers love the creativity and the way the kids are intentionally engaged throughout the class time. I have also had churches use it where they said their teachers thought there were too many things to do. I recommend downloading the sample lessons and trying them - you may find they are a great "fit" for your ministry!

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