We have assembled a leadership team and spent some time determining the purpose of our Vacation Bible School. Next, we jump into evaluating curriculum.
Part Three- The Curriculum Evaluation Checklist
Making decisions about curriculum can be one of the most daunting parts of early Vacation Bible School planning. There are so many variables to consider related to the curriculum that it is easy to get confused or frustrated. Below is a checklist to help you as you sort through the different curriculum options. If you are unsure what curriculum options are available .http://ministry-to-children.com/vacation-bible-school-themes/ is a great place to start.
*What are the main theme of the curriculum?
*Do these themes (or Bible Points) connect with your purpose for VBS?
* What are the daily Bible stories? Do these stories connect to your purpose? (If you have a strong focus on reaching unchurched kids, will the Bible stories in the curriculum be confusing or complicated without prior knowledge?
*Does the Bible teaching line up with your church/denomination’s theology?
* What is the cost of the starter kit?
* Cost of take home items and student materials?
*Craft costs- are the crafts individual kits for purchase? Are there more budget friendly options available? Do the crafts require costly supplies?
* Other budget considerations: cost of music cds, decorating kit, additional leader manuals
*Is the theme appealing to kids? (I ask my children what they think of various themes)
*Does the theme have relevance in your area?
*What are the decorating suggestions based on the theme? Are these ideas feasible in your setting (consider space as well as budget in this item)?
*Is the theme the star or the Bible stories? I have seen far too many VBS curriculum themes go so far overboard that the Bible teaching gets lost in all of the cool theme stuff.
* How many stations needed?
* What kinds of personalities/talents are needed for each station? (for example- Do you need serious actors for the Bible story station or will it work to have leaders who are better at discussion)
* How clear are the leader materials? Will your leaders be able to get a big picture understanding of the program by reviewing their leader manuals
*Is the music fun and engaging for all ages? (Preschoolers like anything with a beat and motions, but older elementary children are much more discerning)
* Are there any popular Christian songs the kids may already know? Any old hymns being updated?
*If you use a DVD to help teach the music, what’s the quality of the videos for each song?
* How much tweaking or editing of station materials will be needed to fit your program/setting? Are you able to do this tweaking easily?
*Does the mission project fit your church’s overall mission? What costs are associated with the mission project? (Our kids loved making the fleece blankets from Group Publishing several years ago, but the costs were much higher than we anticipated due to shipping)
*How are the children divided into smaller groups? Does this work in your setting or will you need to make modifications?
*What are other churches in your community using for curriculum? While you would not want to use a substandard curriculum just to do something different, if the entire town is using one publisher’s curriculum it may be wise to look at other options.
You would not apply the entire checklist to every possible curriculum on the market. If the big picture items do not fit your purpose, move on to another curriculum. The first few categories can be assessed by digging through the publisher’s website, but you may need to get a loaner kit or spend some time really looking at the materials in a Christian Bookstore to complete the checklist on the curriculum you like most.
Did I miss anything on our checklist? What is your primary focus when choosing a curriculum?