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!