Last week we talked about various reasons for choosing a published curriculum. But what if you’re already using published curriculum and the itch to switch arises? Here are some things to keep in mind when switching curriculum.
3 Must-Dos When Switching Curriculum
1. Is it necessary?
Is it time for a switch? In some cases, it might be best to stay with what you have. Is only one leader or volunteer complaining? Perhaps they can serve best in a different way, or if they have a valid comment, you can let your curriculum provider know about the issue. Are the kids still enjoying making new discoveries? Sometimes it can feel a little old hat to leaders who have spent many years with the same curriculum, but the kids are what matters most.
On the other hand, you might have volunteers or leaders who want to stay and avoid switching because they’re used to the material. Again, remember, this is all about the kids. Are your kids experiencing God in fresh ways? If not, it might be time for a switch, even if it means a change of pace.
No matter what, remember to turn to God in prayer when considering curriculum.
2. Evaluate the options.
Not all curriculum lines are the same, even when it’s from the same publisher. Do research on the different publishers and their lines. For example, you can find out all about Group Sunday school lines here. This video describes Group’s R.E.A.L. learning philosophy that runs through all our lines, but you’ll also find out what makes each one different. Simply Loved is designed to help you get back to what matters most in KidMin by helping take the complication out of Sunday School. Dig In has three formats, including a large group/small group format. Our LIVE curriculum is the digital answer for those looking to stay connected. We have a team standing by waiting to help you pick which one is best for your church, but you can also take this quick quiz to help you discover which Group curriculum line is best for you.
3. Hang on tight!
Once you decide on a curriculum, have it approved by a leadership team, explain to the volunteers why you’re making the change, and announce it to families…then comes to fun part-actually using it. There will be hiccups. You and your team are discovering how this new curriculum works. For example, if you switch to Group for the first time, you’ll probably be taken aback by what R.E.A.L. learning sounds like (spoiler alert: it’s less teacher talk and more deep discussions with kids, along with some laughs). The good news is that with Group, you’ll have our team behind you ready to answer questions and guide you on how to make the most out of the curriculum.
Each church is different, but we found that most of the major bumps were smoothed out by the fourth week, and that churches started to see kids excitedly bringing friends and really applying God’s Word. Don’t give up on a curriculum right away. Give it a chance for kids and volunteers to grow into. Also, give the curriculum a chance as is, meaning don’t change anything. I can speak from experience that, at least with Group, everything is in the lesson for a reason. Don’t skip any steps or make changes at first. We see this happen a lot with volunteers who are new. They do a game, but skip the debriefing questions that follow, and the kids miss having a discovery on how the game connects to the Bible point.
If you’d like more information about Group’s Sunday school curriculum, check out Chris’ blog on the four things that we consider critical when we write curriculum here at Group.
Want more articles for children’s ministry leaders? Check these out.