10 Keys for Evaluating Children’s Ministry Curriculum

10 Keys for Evaluating Children's Ministry Curriculum

When was the last time you evaluated your children’s ministry curriculum? If it’s not quite as effective as you would like, then perhaps it’s a good time to take a look at other curriculum options. If you’re not sure where to start, then take a look at these 10 keys for evaluating children’s ministry curriculum:

1. Scope and Sequence. What is the game plan of the curriculum? Every good curriculum has a scope and sequence, which should include a breakdown regarding topics and Bible passages covered. If it’s not posted online, then a quick email to the company will usually allow you to take a good look at the scope and sequence.

2. Biblically-focused. Does the curriculum focus on the Bible? It might sound like the Bible should be an obvious part of any children’s ministry curriculum (and you’re right), but not all curriculum focuses on the Bible. A good curriculum bases every lesson on Scripture.

3. Teacher-friendly. Do the teachers feel empowered by the curriculum? A good curriculum for teachers gives them creative ideas and easy-to-follow instructions, but also allows them to adapt the lessons as needed. With a good curriculum, teachers can become more confident and effective as biblical communicators to kids.

4. Developmentally-appropriate. Can the children understand the curriculum at their level? Good curriculum is designed to be developmentally-appropriate for your kids, and focuses on three areas of growth: cognitive (head), affective (heart), and behavioral (hands) growth. Each lesson should teach your kids and disciple them in each of these three areas, at a level that they can understand.

5. Family Component. Does the curriculum provide a way for the family to get involved? A top-notch curriculum will provide a way for parents to get involved in it. One example of a family-component is a take-away sheet, which is given to parents and care-takers after your weekly kids event. Then, the kids can be discipled throughout the week using the take-away sheet, which functions as a mini-devotional that stirs conversation and teaching at home, based on what the kids are learning at church each week. Some of the best curriculum providers have a pre-Sunday weekly family devotional, which allows parents to disciple their kids during the week, then let the church continue the discipleship on the same topics on Sundays.

6. Builds Relationships. Good curriculum encourages friendships between kids and mentor relationships with their leaders. Usually, this takes place through very intentional activities that encourage conversation and relationship-building.

7. Practical Application. Does every lesson provide an application for the kids? There’s so much we can learn from the Bible, that a curriculum should be overflowing with practical applications for kids.

8. Flexibility. An excellent curriculum provides flexibility for you to adapt it according to your ministry’s needs. Some curriculum cannot be purchased in an editable document, which certainly makes adapting it pretty difficult! Good curriculum will allow you to adapt it and even offer multiple activities for you to choose from each week.

9. Affordability. A basic question, but an important one. Is the curriculum affordable? If it’s not, consider emailing the curriculum company and asking for a discount. Many times, they are willing to offer you a discount so that you can try the curriculum for one year. Another question to ask is if the curriculum is re-useable, or is it a one-time use curriculum? If you want a lot more bang for your buck, look for a curriculum that can be re-used multiple times.

10. Compatibility. One of the most important factors for your curriculum is it’s compatibility with your church’s mission, vision, and values. The curriculum needs to match up with the direction of the church, so that the children’s ministry can be a strong complement to the whole church, not just another “silo” within the church.

Looking for new children’s ministry curriculum? Take a look at The Huge List of Children’s Ministry Curriculum Providers!

  • Rosanna Kao

    I think most of the curriculum on the market satisfies these 10 points except the affordability. They are quite expensive and also with the copy right issues, it is not able to be reused as one cannot copy the student copy. For small churches it is an issue. Estimating the number of students is kind of difficult as there are some irregular attendance. If you order more, that would cost money. If you do not order enough copies, the irregulars may not have a student copy to work on and sometimes, one has to violate the copy right and make a copy for the irregulars. Nowadays, some of the authors would make a note that one can make copies for the students. Those are good. Hope more authors will do this and that really would benefit for the small churches with wide fluctuation of attendance. Thanks for the info.

    • Pat C

      I agree with you. Thank you for sharing! I could not have say it better.

    • Karen Simmang

      I was happy to see tru curriculum by David C Cook reprice their product this year and made it much more affordable.

      • Rosanna Kao

        thank you for sharing,

  • Jenni

    I have just started leading our children’s ministry and a curriculum was already in place. It’s awful! I think it was free and as the children’s ministry was not regular, no one took charge seeing if it lined up with the Word. I don’t believe it lines up with any of the 10 keys! I’m really looking forward to starting the new curriculum in 2016.

    • That’s great – congrats on taking the lead and choosing a new curriculum! Which one did you go with?

      • Jenni

        One from High Voltage Kids. We are really excited for the kids!

  • Karen Simmang

    I am so encouraged that the curriculum we use: David C Cook’s “tru” for us fulfills nearly all of these! It was picked by my predecessor so I can’t take credit for it.

    • Tammy Forsythe

      We just started using “tru” in September. I love it and so do our teachers.

  • Tama Brenneke

    We use Empowering Kids videos for children’s church. We love them!! You can find out more about them at http://www.whowillyouempower.com