Commercial Sunday School Curriculum

Your Questions Answered

A commercial Sunday School curriculum is probably your greatest aid when it comes to preparing a class quickly and well.

"If I adopt a planned curriculum, everything I need for the class is there (and more) � pictures to color, mazes and activity sheets, questions for students. Less thinking and planning time is required on my part,"

said Gayle M. Larmond, who has taught ages 8 to 10 in Pentecostal and independent churches in Ontario , Canada .

Karen Azucena of El Salvador , Central America , has always preferred to teach preteens at the Hispanic churches she has attended. After using a Baptist Sunday School curriculum on different occasions, she said that commercial Sunday School curriculum

"helps teachers focus on specific themes throughout the year rather than jumping from one topic to another, which could jeopardize students' attention and understanding."

Getting thorough prep work delivered in one neat package comes at a price, however. Many commercial Sunday School curricula and student books add up to double digits. While this may not significantly budge a larger church's budget, smaller churches cringe.

In addition, smaller churches struggle in finding Sunday School curriculum suppliers that understand their particular needs. For example, which curriculum do you use to teach an entire Sunday School of five children ranging from three years to 12?

But before we address small church needs specifically, let's briefly skim the commercial Sunday School curriculum scenario.

What commercial Sunday School curricula exist?

There are dozens out there, covering all ages � from 1st grade Sunday School curriculum to current event curriculum for youth. Some major name brands you may have heard of are:

  • Gospel Light
  • David C. Cook's Bible-in-Life
  • Echoes
  • FaithWeaver
  • Promiseland

Lesser-known, denomination-specific brands also exist, often at more accessible prices, such as

  • Seedlings (Episcopal)
  • Our Life in Christ (Lutheran).

How are they sold, and what do they cost?

Many Sunday School curricula are sold by age-appropriate or grade-level "kit," which saves having to order each item for teacher and student individually. However, always examine the contents of the kit because the kit may include only one student handbook, for example, and you may need five.

  • On the lower end, Accent Bible Curriculum, a Baptist Sunday School curriculum, advertises a Primary Teacher's Classroom Kit for $23.99. Each Student Reader and Learning Activity Book must be purchased separately for an approximate price of $6.
  • A mid-range Sunday School curriculum would be Group's Hands-On Bible Curriculum for grades 1 and 2, adding up to $89.97 with all the bells and whistles. The advantage of this Sunday School curriculum is that all handouts can be photocopied, so no student books are needed.
  • On the higher end, you can buy Promiseland's Grades K & 1 Curriculum Kit for $299. While the price looks higher, the kit contains everything you need for 30 children.

Other curricula, such as Discipleland, are sold by units.

Do I buy a curriculum once, or do I buy a new one each season or year?

Some Sunday School curriculum, such as Walk with Me, may have a higher price ($99.95) but can be reused every year just by ordering additional student cards (at approximately $9). Most of what's out there, however, is sold quarterly or yearly.

How can I get samples to evaluate before buying?

Almost all Sunday School curricula offer free samples. These can be ordered by phone or online. Some can be downloaded directly from the Internet.

Are they specific to particular denominations?

Always check any "about us" sections or mission statements. Many Sunday School curricula are non-denominational, while others are denomination-specific. Wesley Curriculum, for example, advertises itself as "the choice of growing Sunday schools that value the holiness doctrinal distinctives."

What are commercial Sunday School curricula like?

The best way to find out is to visit Sunday School curriculum websites and take thorough notes of the products they offer. Additionally, talk to Sunday School teachers who have used different Sunday School curricula. They'll be able to give you a real-life classroom perspective without the rose-tinted glasses. Click here to see what Sunday School teachers have to say about various curricula.

Do curriculum for small church settings exist?

Yes, in fact, several Sunday School curricula are specifically geared toward small churches.

If you still find that commercial Sunday School curriculum is too expensive for your small church, you can seek to participate in a curriculum exchange, or to purchase used or excess curriculum from nearby larger congregations. Contact the education director at several Churches in your area to determine what may be possible.

Want to Share?

If you have used a commercial Sunday School curriculum, we'd love for you to share your opinion about it with our readers, may of whom need to choose a product. Contact Us with as much information as you'd care to share.

Prices as quoted on as of 8/2005, current prices may differ.

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