Starting September 2014 there are two new Sunday school curriculums to consider. Mennomedia and Brethren Press, the publishers for the Mennonite Church and the Church of the Brethren, is replacing its Gather ‘Round curriculum with Shine: Living in God’s Light. Whirl is the latest curriculum from Sparkhouse, the ecumenical branch of Augsburg Fortress, the Lutheran ELCA publisher.
Shine lectionary curriculum
Shine’s emphasis is on “God’s light shining through us,” and uses Isaiah 9:2 and Matthew 5:14-16 as its foundational Scriptures. The publisher states that the curriculum seeks to inspire children and their families to be light in the world around them.
Shine On Bible Storybook
Shine curriculum is based on a three year Bible overview with an emphasis on spiritual practices and peace themes in the Bible. A new children’s story Bible called Shine On: A Story Bible is used with the curriculum.
Shine curriculum options
Shine is for children age 3 to 8th grade and is divided into age levels for early childhood, primary, middler, and junior. The curriculum includes teacher guides, student pieces, resource packs, music CDs and songbooks.
Small churches will be glad to know that there is also a multiage component available. The multiage curriculum is geared toward children in Kindergarten through 6th grade.
Shine Together: The Essential Guide for Leaders and Teachers includes information on using Shine and may be used by individual teachers or for teacher training.
Whirl is a lectionary based curriculum and is for children grades PreK through 6th. Each lesson follows a four-part sequence: Welcome, Hear, Respond, and Launch.
The lessons begin with students identifying where they are in the church year. Then they watch an animated video with characters who model what it’s like for kids to live out their faith.
Whirl Story Bible
Students dig deeper into the lesson using either the Whirl Story Bible or Whirl NRSV Bible and creative leaflet activities. The lesson is reviewed and the class prays before being sent out.
Whirl Learner Packs
Whirl curriculum connects kids to their families since the learner leaflets include seven different ways families can put their faith into action during the week. Whirl also includes ideas for kids to explore their church building and experience the life of the church.
Church Year Floor Mat
Grade levels are PreK-K, 1st/2nd, 3rd/4th, and 5th/6th. There are leader guides, learner leaflets, and DVDs, as well as a reproducible director’s guide with large group openings, children’s messages, worship bulletins, and more. There is a music CD and songbook. A floor mat of the church year is available as well as a wall poster of the church year.