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A Word About Curriculum

by Karen Brown on June 11, 2019

For most of us, summer is the perfect time to rest and recover from a busy season. It’s also a when we make important preparations for the upcoming ministry year.  For the Family Ministries Team, summer preparations usually involve choosing and laying the groundwork for new resources and curricula.
So how do we evaluate and implement new curricula? 
Family Ministries’ staff and volunteers have often heard my motto: Let the curriculum serve us, not the other way around. This means we should never hesitate to eliminate parts of a program that isn’t effective. It also implies that no curriculum should ever be implemented without care and discernment.
We were reminded of this warning in this recent article by Faithfully Magazine which claims that “ROAR”, our recently purchased curriculum for Kids Night Out (our version of VBS) contains dialogue and activities which are racially insensitive. I believe the people who published this curriculum have wonderful, godly intentions. But they definitely missed some things here the first time around. And in my opinion, the concerns listed in the article are insightful, important, and raise awareness for all of us.
It’s helpful for us to remember that no one is perfect and we all have our blind spots, and I’m pleased that the publishers of ROAR apologized and revised the curriculum at no cost.
In light of this, how can we make the best choices and good use of even flawed resources- especially since only samples are available before purchase? We know from experience that published curricula can save valuable time with their versatile themes, craft kits, recorded music, scope, and/or sequence of lessons. But we, the parents and leaders, must remain the primary resources when it comes to the spiritual development of our kids. In other words, published resources can still serve us well, if don’t ask them to do our job. 
As always, we’ll work hard to make sure Bible stories and God’s character are presented truthfully. And this summer, we’ll take extra care to avoid insensitivity to other cultures and races as we ROAR through Kids Night Out.
My goal isn’t for you to believe I always recognize careless language or cultural insensitivities. Or even to reassure you that we can always choose the best curriculum. I don’t and we can’t.
Our goal is to partner with parents in raising our kids to love God and others better than we do. And this work never takes a summer break.  
We have no hope of reaching this goal without much help. I’m grateful for the parent who cares enough about the discipleship of our kids to send me that article about ROAR. Now that’s good partnership! 
Partners, join me in praying for families and our KNO community this summer. May God’s wild kingdom grow for his glory. 
In Christ,
Karen Brown
- with the Family Ministry Team

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