Children's Formation Resources

Programs and Curricula in use in the Diocese of Chicago

  • Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is an approach to the religious formation of children. It is rooted in the Bible, the liturgy of the church, and the educational principles of Maria Montessori.
  • Episcopal Children's Curriculum extends over nine years for children from ages 3 to 11. Lessons are organized around the seasons of the Church year and draw from The Bible, The Book of Common Prayer, the hymnal, church liturgy and tradition. ECC lesson plans include tips for adapting sessions to small and large class sizes and offer a variety of fun activities that help children grasp important concepts.
  • Godly Play is a formative program that invites children to walk around inside the faith, its stories, traditions and favorite characters and find themselves and their own stories nestled and active there. The child is invited to respond directly to what he or she has experienced in the 'story.'
  • The Journey to Adulthood (J2A) is a complete youth ministry program of spiritual formation for 6th - 12th grades. It uses Bible study, prayer, rites of passage, outreach ministries and both serious and playful activities to underscore its core messages: 1) Manhood and womanhood are free gifts from God. 2) Adulthood must be earned.
  • Keeping the Promise - A mentoring program for confirmation that is meant to be a mutual exploration of the life of faith: major points: bible, sacraments, spiritual life, the Church, ministry, turning points in life.
  • Living the Good News - Lectionary-based curriculum designed to help children be at home in the church and with its basic teachings. I Will With God's Help, a confirmation curriculum, is part of this series and builds on the baptismal covenant, beginning with the creed and devoting the next five sessions to the 5 questions.
  • Workshop Cycles - Children (grades K-5) work on a single Bible story or concept for several weeks using a different approach each week (storytelling, drama, cooking, crafts/arts, computer use), each facilitated by a different person according to his/her skills and interest.
  • Saving Wisdom - Four year Sunday school curriculum for 6-10 year olds Visual presentation followed by conversation and group or individual work response.
  • Seasons of the Spirit - A curriculum which includes ritual, music, visual art, meditation and tangible exploration of the living word. The vision of this program is to provide God's people with lectionary-based, ecumenical resources that empower all ages to be transformed in Christ as they: explore meaning and mystery in the Bible; celebrate in worship, sacraments, education, and service; engage in ministries of love, justice, and witness; and live in inclusive communities of faith, shaped and led by the Holy Spirit.

Copies of full curricula and samples of others are available for review in our Diocesan Resource Center.

Resources

  • Leader Resources offer a great variety of very practical and easy-to-use materials on ministry for children, young adults, adults, leadership and ministry development, and much more.
  • Center for Children and Theology - "The spiritual life of children is the focus of research at the Center for Children and Theology. It is an outgrowth of the observations and reflections of teachers and catechists spanning over two decades."
  • Educator's Resources (Ministries with Young People) - An extensive collection of the materials designed to help with planning church year, Sunday school curriculum and much more. Here you will find lesson plans for small congregations, resources on the different teaching methods, teaching styles and even basic supply list for you Sunday school.
  • Peer Ministry - "If youth aren't leading, they are leaving." This is the philosophy that guides the Peer Ministry curriculum and leadership model. Many excellent resources can be found here for equipping young people with leadership skills for ministry "everyday, everywhere." One particularly helpful resource is the idea that every young person needs to hear "We need you" from their church at least twice a year. This handout gives some practical suggestions how to communicate that crucial message.
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