Fall is fast approaching, which means many Sunday School and Midweek children’s programs will launch soon. Besides recruiting volunteers (often a huge task), there are many preparations that should occur well before the first day of class. Don’t lose heart. Some thoughtful pre-planning can go a long way toward a fruitful autumn.
This is a crucial component in all aspects of ministry. We need to pray for qualified, passionate, and caring teachers, small group leaders, and worship leaders. We also should pray for the curriculum implementation – for leader preparation (not only of the lessons but their own hearts), receptive hearts of the students, good communication with parents, etc.
Given time constraints, it’s helpful to know what’s most helpful for launching a successful curriculum cycle.
- Order early to help this process go smoothly. (We work with a print-on-demand warehouse that takes 3-4 business days to print, package, and ship materials; shipping times are in addition to that.)
- Read introductory materials in the Teacher’s Guide or Leader’s Edition to learn how to use and prepare the materials, provide suggested classroom schedules, etc.
- Create a schedule (or spreadsheet) of what lessons will be taught each week, including the lesson title and memory verse. This will help leaders in their preparation, and doubles as a communication tool with parents so they know what to expect, or what was covered in case of an absence. The scope and sequence page in the preface of each curriculum is also a useful guide.
- Think through classroom management before the year begins and share your plan with your teaching team.
Preparing all visuals before the year starts decreases stress on teachers.
- Laminate visuals to make them more durable for years of use.
- Put each lesson’s visuals in a manila folder labeled with the lesson number and store them in a crate or file box. (Remind teachers to return them for future use.)
- For the curricula with electronic display options, be aware of which visuals still need to be printed.
Organize Student Materials (Coloring Books, Workbooks, Notebooks, Student Journals)
These supplemental materials are a key component of the curriculum for moving head knowledge to heart application. They are helpful tools while leaders review, apply, and lead the children to further understand the lesson. (Consider giving leaders a copy of the workbook. At least in older elementary, it's helpful for the leaders to go through the workbook ahead of time to make sure they know the answers.)
Partner with Parents
Parental involvement is essential for fruitful instruction. Decide on the best way to communicate with parents. You could:
- Print out the Parent Resource Pages for the entire year (available in the resource files in the Classroom Kit). Put them either in the visuals folders mentioned above or use a similar system where they are readily accessible by lesson for the teachers to send home.
- Email the Parent Resources Pages weekly. This is not only a helpful reminder, but ensures that the resource actually gets to parents.
- Email a month’s worth of Parent Resource Pages with a newsletter sharing prayer requests and evidences of God at work in the classroom.
- Send home spiral-bound GIFT (Growing in Faith Together) booklets at the beginning of the year (available for purchase for our revised curricula, and as the GIFT App).
- Encourage parents to use these resources during mealtime discussions. Periodic email reminders about using them might keep the parents on task. Parents of multiple children might focus on a different child’s curriculum each day or each week.
- Invite parents to participate in the classroom. For example, one teacher gave families an opportunity to be the “family of the week” to introduce parents to the class, find out more about the family and their child, and provide an opportunity for the children to pray for this family.
If you have any questions about using the curricula, please contact our Customer Care team. We’re always happy to help (info@Truth78.org; 877-400-1414).
May the Lord bless you as you prepare for the next season of ministry, sharing God’s glorious Word and Gospel with the next generation "so that they should set their hope in God" (Psalm 78:7).
About the author: Lori Myers is a Partner Relations Specialist with Truth78 and loves working with donors, customers, and translators. She has served in churches as small group leader, worship leader, preschool teacher, and administrator for family discipleship ministry. Lori is blessed to have two amazing daughters, two wonderful sons-in-law, and five adorable grandchildren.