Late last week I got an email from Skip Coulter. He said he had a question for the CMO tribe. I liked that. I know there’s a decent little crowd of regular readers and the “CMO tribe” has really helped me out in the past when I’ve had questions on illustrations, ideas or other things I was working on. So, here’s Skip’sÂ question:
I really believe that the integrity of a children’s program is in the quality of its material.What recommendations (brand name) would you make as excellent sources of material for pre-school and grade school materials?Â I’m a lay worker in a small church in Alabama, but we have a wonderful children’s minister and kids that we just enjoy and want to invest their lives glorifying God.Â Can you give me some advice?
So, could some of you pipe in and give Skip your thoughts. I’ll wait until later to give my thoughts.
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Coming from a small church, I have tried various curriculums in different price ranges looking for the best value; quality curriculum that doesn’t over tax our already limited budget.
I would recommend, without reservation, the Orange curriculum 252 Basics for elementary aged and First Look for preschoolers. It is not only economical as the price is tiered per number of kids, it is also the most comprehensive curriculum I have used. Not only is there an enormous amount of quality material included, it is highly customizable. And their customer service is phenomenal. You can even try 3 months of the curriculum for free http://www.whatisorange.org/free-curriculum
I recommend using the trial for 252 because you also get access to the family experience scripts, which are an awesome start if you are ever thinking about doing family services.
I hope this doesn’t sound too much like a commercial, I just honestly really love this curriculum.
I agree with Jared M as far as 252 for school age. Not very familiar with First Look as we use LifeWay for our preschool program specifically because they provide babies-2 lessons. Lifeway’s 3-preK material is good, but not a great fit for our set-up. Takes a bit more tweaking…
I love 252 because they provide SO much more than just the hour of learning on Sunday, though that alone is stellar. Ton of material and easy to tweak to fit each of our different locations, big and small.
I agree with the 2 people about basic 252 and first look. I just started using both in my church. My elementary kids love the basic 252 and if you are a small church like we are (I have 15-27 kids on a given Sunday in my elementary program) They also sell a video to use along with the curriculum that uses story tellers and skits to go along with the curriculum
I just love the preschool curiculum as well it provides materials for babies all the way to going into kindergarten. It uses the same them but does it at the correct level. ALso they think outside the box. We did super heros and how God is our super hero. Our kids loved making super hero capes and hearing about super heros from the bible. Good luck .
First Baptist Church DeLand
Children’s Director of “Static for Kids”
I use Elevate for my K-5th Graders, and the kids seem to love it. There are several options such as using a DVD which has helped us while training and building up new lead teachers, and an option to Perform it Live yourselves as well. Two draw backs I have on purchasing more is
1. It is very expensive, but Creative Pastors gave us 3-4 curriculum at 50% off because we were struggling and simply couldn’t afford it.
2. It’s broken up into 8 week series that sometimes cater to the older kids at times and I feel like my little ones are lost so they get bored, or it’s geared toward my younger group and the older kids are bored or feel it’s too babyish.
All in all, it’s been a trustworthy curriculum that we have been able to adapt well.
I also adapt my own lessons from LifeChurch, they have free online lessons, graphics, and oodles of resources.
Before I became Director, I know our church also tried using the Willow Creek Promiseland Curriculum, but found it very difficult to customize to our small size and wound up spending too much money for something we couldn’t use well, or for very long. Hope that helps!