Spark! By Augsburg Fortress: I'm not one to jump on the AF bandwagon immediately, but this curriculum has proved to versatile, user friendly, hands-on, and adaptable. All things I love in a curriculum that I am not writing myself!
Versatile and Flexible:
1. You can get Spark the old fashioned way by ordering the books or you can sign up for a year subscription to the online download system.
2. Spark is also offered in formats that follow the lectionary and in themes. You can use spark as a classroom model or rotation model.
3. There is also preschool curriculum that is user friendly for the multiage classroom as well as the age graded classroom.
1. A director can easily read through the lessons and the overviews and have a good idea of what she/he is asking the teachers to do.
2. The rotation format is set up to be used by those leading the workshop and there are 'shepherd' guides for those who are the small group leaders of the kids.
2. The lessons are set up to be don in an hour time frame including time for opening and wrap up discussion.
1. The activities in the lessons are experiential and touch on the different learning styles of children (especially when using the rotation model, but it is present in all models)
2. The supplies needed are generally common and not difficult to find supplies.
3. Youth and adults can follow the lessons and create a great classroom environment from them.
Adaptable: There are so many choices and ways to use the lessons and activities that it is easily adaptable to large or small or medium sized programs and it can be used in many formats. For example, we used some this summer during daycamp and we are using others for the Sunday morning program!
How to choose curriculum and reviews of current resources. If you don't see one here that you would like reviewed just send us an email and we will update this page!
How to Pick Curriculum for your Setting--
I remember well what Dr. Rev. Norma Cook Everist said over and over again in class at Wartburg Seminary--the PEOPLE are the curriculum. So let's start there. Remember that one size does not fit all when it comes to determining what will be good for your setting. Also remember that needs can change over time so the curriculum that worked 10, even 5 years ago may not be a great fit anymore. Most of all remember that faith formation is primarily about developing relationships that are lived in the light of the Holy Spirit!
- Know your people and your goals for discipleship education.
- Keep an eye not only discipleship of those in your midst but evangelism to those on the periphery, those who are visiting, those who are simply either not consistently or not at all in your midst. For example, consider keeping your Sunday morning education primarily about relationship building and welcoming the stranger. Make sure any child or adult could walk into your ministry that morning and feel some measure of comfort and engagement.
- The practical: consider time, space, and budget. Make sure they also align with your goals. Consider using a curriculum that is easy to manipulate and to 'interrupt' if you want to have time for cross-generational opportunities.
- Scriptural outlook and interpretation need to be considered. Know if you are going to need to modify a lot or a little. READ the sample lessons and decide whether 'their point' is your point.
- Pick easy to use, educational curriculum. Make sure it can be distributed the way you like to distribute (pdf, hardcopy, posting online, etc.)