Commercial Sunday School Curriculum Reviews

Teachers Sharing with Teachers

This page is the place to review Sunday School Curriculum you have experience with. Help other teachers who are looking for information about available products, in order to select the best Sunday School curriculum for their Church or program.

Children Desiring God

"We love the curriculum that comes from Desiring God ministries. It is a company that is out of Minneapolis , Minn. Their curriculum is solid. The only downfall would be in its creativity. You can always add creativity in, however. I have found that if you have a teacher that is has experience, you can hand them the curriculum, and they can add it in. You cannot always trust teachers to add the correct theology in, so that's why you purchase solid curriculum, adding 'fluff.'"

� Kari Heide , KS / age 4 catechism and Sunday School / Evangelical Presbyterian

David C. Cook

"Everything I need for the class is there� less prep time for the teacher, can be adapted to fit needs, and the glossy, colored pictures are good (I couldn't prepare them)."

Downsides: "The curriculum is based on so narrow a biblical interpretation that it's difficult to present the view, especially if this has not been my spiritual experience or understanding/interpretation of a passage of Scripture."

Keep in mind: "Work from the point of view of what the needs of the group are. Knowing the audience means I can discern if a curriculum is timely or appropriate. Just because the product is labeled 'Ages 7-8-9 ' doesn't mean it will work for my group of 8-year-olds."

� Gayle M. Larmond, Ontario , Canada / ages 8-10 Sunday School / independent and Pentecostal

Foundation Curriculum, Freewill Baptist Press

"I like the activities at the end of each lesson for the older students. The prices are reasonable. I also like the small sidebar thoughts, the final questions and suggestions for activities. The only problem is that it's not specific to a holiday. There would be no Christmas-story lesson in December. Even though the store has a Baptist background, the teachings fall within ours and shares concerns relevant to young people."

� Niki Taylor , NC / elementary, middle and high school Sunday School in a small country church / Disciples of Christ

Our Life in Christ, Concordia House

"This curriculum is particularly geared towards the Lutheran faith and includes a catechism section in each weekly lesson to teach children about this specific faith."

How it's set up: "Each weekly lesson begins with a background page for the teacher, explaining the purpose behind the lesson and citing relevant scripture. The lessons themselves are broken into four sections: Gather (opening activities, songs, offering collection), Study (the Bible story for the week and scriptures to read with the kids), Apply (activities, memory verses, catechism lesson and arts and crafts) and Send (closing activities and discussion). Also with each lesson are puzzle pages for each child as well as an Arts and Crafts page, which usually is just punch-out pieces or things to color and cut out for the activities section of class."

Pros and cons: "I like that the curriculum is very organized and easy to follow. The puzzles and other activities effectively reinforce the lesson, and of course the kids always love to do arts and crafts. The only thing I didn't really care for in last year's curriculum was that many of the lessons started with the teacher telling a Bible story using finger puppets. I felt that the finger puppet idea was more for pre-school or kindergarten age students rather than my first and second graders (I tried it once and they weren't too interested). So, instead of the finger puppets, I found other creative ways to tell the story. Kids that age love to get up and move, so many times we acted out the story instead of my just standing up there and telling it to them."

� Lori McKenzie , PA / 1 st and 2 nd grade Sunday School / Lutheran

Episcopal Children's Curriculum

Structure: "The curriculum is divided into three age-bands, preschool/kindergarten, primary and intermediate. Each band encompasses three years of material, meant to be presented in consistant 3-year cycles. In effect, you purchase 9 years of curriculum materials, 3 years each band, and have enough material to take a 3 year old through to the end of 6th grade, without repeating a lesson.

Each band cycles through three theme years, Shell (Baptism), Chalice (Eucharist) and Cross (Worship.) Each theme year is divided into units. The units present Old Testament themes, New Testament themes, Sacrament themes and Church themes, in that order."

Teacher Materials: "The teacher's guide for each year includes 36 lessons in four units. The intermediate level includes a supplimental teacher's guide. There's a teacher's packet with posters and patterns. There are music tapes of the hymns that are suggested to be covered in the lessons. The lessons provide many options for each step."

Student Materials: "a weekly student newspaper. In the primary band there are 'take-home' cards and learner's books, and the teacher's materials includes activity-sheet masters. In the intermediate band, there are symbol cards and a reader that are meant to be given to each child."

Pros: "Material is meant to be re-used - so you have a single curriculum purchase, and only need to replace the student materials each year, if you use them.

The lessons are presented as options in each lesson-section. The teacher can find a way to construct a lesson to fit the the group, the time allowed, and the teacher's own talents."

Cons: "This is a large Church curriculum. In our small Church, our preschoolers are in with the Nursery, and our Kindergartner's join the primary grades - where they stay until they leave for youth group. In effect, we have a K-5 Sunday School classroom. Given that the bands are on a three year cycle, the children begin to have material repeated. We've transitioned over to the intermediate book to try to prevent that, but the material is really to0 much for most of the class - especially our entering Kindergartners.

Some of the 4th unit material has been difficult to present. The unit is meant to focus on the New Testament Church and Church history. Recently I had difficulty teaching the lesson on St. Athanasius and the Council of Nicea to a group that included mostly K-2nd graders. (Although I did very much appreciate the opportunity to review the material for myself.) That's understandable, if the lesson was in the intermediate band. However, it was a primary band lesson. I kind of question it's inclusion for that age group.

The lessons are presented as options in each lesson-section. The teacher has to find a way to construct a lesson to fit the the group, the time allowed, and the teacher's own talents."

� Pauline Price, NY / K-5 Sunday School / Episcopal

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