The Story curriculum review
• Takes kids through the Bible, start to finish
• Young children through adults learn the same lessons, encouraging family discussion
• All inclusive – has everything you need and more
• Easily adaptable to different church settings
• Incredibly affordable
• Activity pages are sometimes lacking in creativity
• Parent pages are very detailed; could be intimidating to some parents
• Many crafts and activities require a lot of supplies
Recently, Zondervan publishing sent me some of the products in their “The Story” line to review. (www.thestory.com) I received a copy of each of the “The Story for Little Ones”, “The Story for Children”, “The Story for Kids”, and “The Story: Teen Edition” Bibles as well as the 31-week older elementary curriculum, designed for kids aged 9-12.
The Story curriculum takes the entire Bible and breaks it into 31 stories, allowing your children’s ministry to cover the entire story of the Bible, start to finish, in less than 8 months. This allows kids to see the ‘big picture’ before they’ve forgotten where they started. The Bible has a lot to offer children, they can learn in a basic form so they can obtain a good understanding of religion, such as tithing in the bible, and Jesus’s role within the family.
I love the idea of all age groups of the church learning the same thing, and that’s the premise of this curriculum. (Curriculum is available for early childhood through adult, so everyone learns about the same thing at the same time). It is very family-oriented and encourages and empowers parents to lead their children in the things of God. The curriculum comes complete with a leader’s guide, lesson plans, parent pages, activity sheets, and skit scripts – everything you need. It’s all on a handy CD-ROM, allowing you to print as many or as few of each page as you need. And for under $35 for 31 weeks of the curriculum – come on, that’s a steal!
The curriculum offers guidelines for using the curriculum in a variety of settings (large church, small church, etc.) so it’s truly an option for anyone. There are also several activity options for each lesson, allowing the director or teacher to do what works for their specific situation. Other than gathering materials and making copies, there is virtually no prep work to be done. A church with few resources could get away with the simpler activities while one with the time and people could do elaborate crafts and skits.
The activities and activity pages are, like most curriculums, a bit hit and miss. There are some really brilliant object lessons (did you know a spoonful of sand holds 10,000 grains?) and some that I’m pretty sure I’ve seen before. Some of the activity pages are really great, but some are nothing more than coloring pages. Still, the variety means that each kid will be sure to love it at least some of the time.
My favorite part of the curriculum are actually the books themselves. Well written and beautifully illustrated, The Story for Little Ones and The Story for Children are now my own children’s daily Bible reads. The chapters are the perfect length for daily study with children and each chapter ends with a ‘life application’, for example, “Samson asked God for help. You can ask God for help, too.” It’s unlikely that, at $10 – $19 a piece, a church will be buying these for all the kids who attend, but parents will find the investment well worth it.
In short, The Story curriculum is a well thought-out and well executed curriculum that takes kids through the Bible at a pace and level they can understand. It might not be as flashy or cutting edge as some options available, but it’s solid, Biblically based, and easy to implement. It’s best used by the church as a whole, but would still be good for kids ministry if the youth and adult programs don’t get on board. I would absolutely recommend this curriculum, especially to churches on a budget.