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C of e Sunday school

(16 Posts)
cardboardandglue Sun 03-Nov-13 13:59:45

Sounds like you're having a tough time in Sunday Schools. We had a similar prob. a while ago so I started writing my own material. I've always loved teaching Bible stories in historical order so children have an idea of how it all fits together. I also teach topics (like prayer or God's love) - so we look at one each month.

I now write for about 25 churches around the UK. It's for 4-11s but I don't write separate material for different age groups. I think that with a little adaptation and using the older ones as ‘buddies’ it's relevant for 4-11s.

Premises and personnel are a major prob. for many Sunday schools esp. smaller ones. We had the problem of one hall and only a few volunteers, so I came up with a new way to teach that's called Carousel - it's 'workshop-style', so children are taught in 3 zones (craft, game and story zones). The children are divided into 2/3 groups and move around the 3 zones. We have one teacher in each zone who teaches just one part ie the craft teacher just does craft but 2/3 times. That way we can work to the teachers strengths and divide the hall in 3 spaces. It works really well for us and other churches like it too :-) However it doesn't solves every problem – we still struggle with a noisy hall - a plastic gazebo is helping but I think we are about to try sun umbrellas too – desperate measures!!

My website is if you're interested.

newlark Mon 14-Oct-13 12:36:20

I go to a large cofE church and we have (mainly manned by a team of parents on a rota doing 1 sunday/month each):

a crèche for under 3s - mainly play but short story from a young childrens bible and some singing

pre-school group for 3-4's - singing, story/teaching/prayer, crafts based on story (often involving a bit of glue/paint/playdoh), more singing

5-7s - singing, story/teaching, prayer, craft linked to teaching, perhaps a memory verse to learn (can be turned into a game)

7-11s - similar to 5-7s

11-14s (not sure what they do but think similar)

We use the Click resources which are different for each age group here

Like superbagpuss we are lucky to have space available to have different groups in different rooms but you could have welcome/singing altogether then split into groups on different tables for age appropriate story/crafts

superbagpuss Sun 13-Oct-13 09:47:28

our church does age groups for Sunday school

under 3, creche - basically supervised play time

3-5 more structured play time, bible story and a relevant activity

5-11 structure learning and play activities

11 plus not sure

each happens in a different area of the church building, we are lucky to have space available to us and volunteers that don't mind helping out grin

Minnieisthedevilmouse Sun 13-Oct-13 09:39:22

Yeah I was wondering whether too or not. I guess I need to be seen there a bit longer first. Apparently it will be approx 18mths til new vicar (is that normal?!?!). I think I should take it slowly. This location seemed good place for research. And I had nowhere else to ask.

niminypiminy Fri 11-Oct-13 14:59:08

I personally don't like Scripture Union resources very much, but they do work for some churches. If you are in an urban setting then CURBS produce some interesting stuff. If your church follows the lectionary then Creative Ideas for Children's Worship might be worth a look. And your diocese should have a children's adviser who could help with training and resources.

But I agree with Fizzoclock that it would be great to get involved. Too often the people running Sunday schools run out of inspiration because they've been doing it with not enough helpers and get demoralised. Simply having someone new around to help can be the thing that helps you to turn the corner.

fizzoclock Fri 11-Oct-13 14:32:27

Your does sound poor. I have always been at fullish family churches where there are age groups under 3s tend to be creche with perhaps a craft activity related to a Bible story. 3-5, primary age and then secondary age could be good divisions.

Secondary need Bible study and discussion really. Primary age need a game, activity and Bible story generally.
Scripture Union is a great resource but there really are lots of options!

I think you should volunteer and then start making suggestions from there.... Do do it though. It would be very sad if the children are badly served just because nobody wants to sound rude!

Minnieisthedevilmouse Fri 11-Oct-13 12:26:51

Really tired, I don't leave her. She's 2.5. That's how I know its a bit ropey because I've sat there and taken part and watched it now for a while with all the different volunteers. I'm not just listening to my dds views. Although she's quite happy really. I just expected it to be more organised, more educational in both social/religious aspects and well better I suppose.

As I said it used to be. Hence seeing the change is disappointing although perhaps I was idealistic in initial expectation.

I've also clearly asked for pro active suggestion here as I freely admit to being no more/better really than present volunteers I'm just objective as I've only just joined so, perhaps like one or two others if your Sunday school is doing something fab would you describe it for me? I suspect they do what they do as have nothing else to suggest? I doubt they visit other churches for ideas for instance. Busy enough no doubt.

It just seems a wasted opportunity. I probably won't say anything tbh. Not without being asked for my opinion anyway. Wing defence your post was good. I will likely take your advice. The Sydenhamset will look thank you very much.

sonlypuppyfat Thu 10-Oct-13 22:21:46

Reallytired thats what happens with it is seen like a babysitting service!

TheSydenhamSet Thu 10-Oct-13 22:01:37

a cirriculum is an idea? this one is excellent: it's used at a very large sunday school in SE London (not cofe. baptist)

ReallyTired Thu 10-Oct-13 21:53:10

Lots of people want their children baby sat, but no one wants to do the work. I suggest you offer to volunteer at the sunday school and then you will see quite how hard it is.

An ideal world children would be split into different age groups, but often there aren't enough helpers and leaders to make that possible. To make life harder our priest wants us to follow the lectionary as much as possible. Some bible readings just aren't suitable for small children (or indeed the 21s century!)

It has to be remembers that many sunday school volunteers aren't teachers and they can only do their best. I wish that neighbouring churches would cooperate more to run Sunday school well or at least events for children. Prehaps its worth googling "messy church" and the name of your town as that would be more appriopiate for 2.5 year olds.

sonlypuppyfat Thu 10-Oct-13 21:41:29

In our church we are volunteers and we are as rare as hens teeth. If you go in complaining about the teaching you are going to hurt a lot of people and for what.

WingDefence Thu 10-Oct-13 21:19:55

Is Sunday School at your church split into age groups? It doesn't sound like it from your OP.

There are lots of resources (i.e. books) which are linked to the lectionary for different ages. Eg for 10-13 yr olds this may follow the pattern of an ice breakers, passages to read, a sketch-play and another game or activity and discussion points. For younger ages it could be a bible story then an activity. IMO 2.5 is too young for Sunday School anyway. Our church starts at 3 and before that it's a creche for younger children.

40 minutes is about standard I'd say and children's attention is held well. It also means they should have a bit of time spent in the main service before going out or perhaps they come in before the service has ended and show what they've been doing.

If you're interregnum at the moment, it'll be hard for anyone who is currently running SS to know how best to take things forward - they may be waiting for a new vicar to come in a steer things for them. If you really want to get involved, you could go on the rota or even just support them prayerfully and once a new vicar has been appointed, perhaps talk to the SS leaders again then about how specifically how your DD might want a bit more. But never forget these people are volunteers, may be pretty hurt if they are criticised outright and will probably wish for more supportive suggestions.

Minnieisthedevilmouse Thu 10-Oct-13 20:54:39

Great! This isn't normal. Phew.

So, how does it work? What do you do? I think its parents doing their best out of their fields of knowledge. If eventually I suggest ideas I'd like them to be good ones used in good churches /schools. Not just plucked out of my also not experienced head....

I didn't intend offence btw, more just it's a bit exasperating. I suppose I expected more. Don't know why. Thank you

sonlypuppyfat Thu 10-Oct-13 20:28:17

I'm a sunday school teacher...... we do our best.

MaryBS Thu 10-Oct-13 20:27:11

They may well be struggling while they are vicar less. This isn't how it should be. Our Sunday school is a massive improvement on what it used to be like in the "good old days", imho. Its much more child orientated, in the same way schools have changed. Its very much down to who runs it though. I think you're being sensible but don't massively upset people just yet. smile

Minnieisthedevilmouse Thu 10-Oct-13 20:22:25

I've recently rejoined the church I grew up at. The Sunday school was fab when I went 30yrs ago. It's 'reduced' to parents cobbling stuff together from books. I feel sorry as it's not as I remember but also as I feel opportunities lost.

That said, maybe it's how it is now? I don't know. I'm not massively knowledgeable but I would like to help. In my day (feck how old do I sound?!) it was school like; it had a welcome, a learning item, a play about, a song, an art item, leaving song. It was an hr. Now it's shoe horned into 40mins during family service. This could work but doesn't. Harvest festival was described as 'used to being about farmers but now about helping fellow man in charitable ways eg food banks' dd is 2.5. Other kids are same to 14. Not only did that seem factually incorrect, the kids had zero clue to what he meant.

They are vicar less. Til one is hired. I could massively upset people but I'd like to once I get more 'seen' offer more. Am I harking to a golden time or sensible?!

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