What does a vital and effective Sunday school program look like?
Faith Quest is a model for Sunday school based on the Workshop Rotation Model. It was developed by a number of Presbyterian churches seeking to solve their chronic Sunday School problems: boring curriculum, boring classrooms, boring teaching methods, bored kids, apathetic parents, and low Bible literacy. These churches wanted to teach Bible stories in a creative manner without the crushing burden of having to find and prepare new material each week. They also wanted to overhaul their classrooms to make them kid-friendly places to attract kids back to the classroom. The result was the Workshop Rotation Model. It reorganizes how you teach, not what you teach, with creative kid-friendly workshops: Drama, Art, Movies, Bible Games, Storytelling and Puppetry.
Kids rotate by class into a different workshop each week for a five-week period. During that time, the story is the same in each workshop. Kids love repetition and need it to remember their lessons. Because each of the workshops teaches through a different style of learning, and a different aspect of the story, the kids don't get bored. Discipline problems go away. This multiple-intelligences approach enhances the learning process.
The workshop teachers stay put. They don't rotate with the kids (though each class has a pair of shepherds who do stay with the kids). Teachers teach in the workshop of their strength and the lesson stays the same for several weeks in a row. This means they plan less and get better as the weeks go by.
Lesson plans are simple. The real difference between this model and the traditional classroom model is that each workshop takes its time teaching the story through one mode. No more frenetic 6-part lesson plans with barely enough time to get everything done. No more 5 minute crafts either. Instead, there are real art projects that take quality time and contemplation. Of course, each lesson includes Bible study and discussion. Teachers easily adjust the age appropriateness of their lesson from guidelines provided by the lesson plan. Faith Quest focuses the gifts and talents of our volunteers.
For God's Word to become part of our children's lives,
it must not just be heard or read, but also experienced.
At the Kirk, Faith Quest provides us with the opportunity to improve attendance, teacher recruiting, and the Bible knowledge of our children. Children are developing relationships with their adult shepherds. The model provides flexibility in the schedule. It allows us to respond to the unique needs of our children and the talents of our volunteers. We can easily adjust the lesson materials to incorporate reflections on current events in the local and global community. It provides the opportunity to realize our vision.
Our goal is to shape children into active Christians
who live the Bible rather than just know it.
Shepherd Pairs - adopt a class for the year and be a companion to the children. Attend the workshops with the children. Develop relationships with the children
Workshop Leader - delivers the lesson during a five week rotation. Attends the Workshop Leaders Bible study.
Great Hall Leader - leads the initial gathering in music, song, and prayer before the children adjourn to their workshops.
Curriculum Team - develops the lesson plans for each unit. Defines the concepts for each study and assigns the memory verse for the unit. Lesson plans are approved by our theological advisor.
Curriculum Team Leader – manages the process for curriculum development. Gathers resources for all and distributes lesson plans.
Theological Advisor – leads Bible study for the curriculum team and workshop leaders. Approves the lesson plans.
The attention to detail and how a child feels in God's house
is a Rotation Workshop philosophy.
Children "read" the environment we create for them. What does our environment say to our children about God?
Interpret the Bible Story in large body movement and physical activities. Children re-enact a Bible story or contemporize it. Children learn the story by being in the story. By acting out the story, children begin to empathize with the characters as real people – their feelings and emotions. “How does it feel?” “How would you react?” The Bible is less abstract when children can place themselves in the story. Children retain the facts of a story they have experienced.
Options: Bible Improv, pantomime, skits, scenes, liturgical dance, stations, etc.
Intelligences: Body kinesthetic
Children explore, identify and act out the feelings of the characters in a contemporary version in the safe, non-threatening environment of puppets. Puppets allow children to express themselves and their feelings in an indirect way. The Drama and Puppet workshops complement each other. One workshop might re-enact the Bible story, the other might focus on applying the message to real life situations and role-playing in a contemporary setting such as the playground or at home. Children can practice appropriate responses to realistic situations for them. In this way, we reinforce the Bible as a relevant guide to living in today’s world.
Intelligences: Body kinesthetic
Visual media plays a big role in our children's lives through television, movies and music videos. This powerful and influential tool helps our children experience and understand their biblical history. Video selections reinforce the Bible story as a re-enactment, placing the story in context, or as a reflection of the Bible story on contemporary living. The workshop leader helps to relate the video story to the unit of study and our response as Christians.
Intelligences: Visual spatial
This is not for crafts. It is for children's art. Art projects are more complex. They require thinking and expressing, not just assembly and cut and paste. Art projects allow a student to manipulate the materials to express the story. This workshop allows a creative expression of the story. We explore with a variety of creative media: clay, paints, crayons, fabric, glass, chalk, sculpture, etc.
Intelligences: Visual, musical, body kinesthetic
This workshop teaches the rotation story or theme with traditional paper, pencils, books, and maps. The children are motivated by the use of fun games and projects. While teaching each rotation's Bible story, the games workshop emphasizes where and how to find the story, facts of the story, Bible geography, Bible culture, and how the story fits into the larger story. Games include: Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, Who wants to be a Millionaire, physical games.
Intelligences: Logical mathematical
Listen to a storyteller, in first person, and in costume. The workshop helps to relate experiences of the Bible story before, during and after the events of the Bible. "Guests" speaking in the first person recount experiences about the actual life and times, weather, economy, customs, games, reactions and responses. Children can talk and ask questions of the Bible character. The setup of this workshop is flexible enough to be adapted to any center activity that would complement the unit.
Intelligences: verbal linguistic
These workshops may be employed when integration with the unit is appropriate. They may also be developed as needed to accommodate growth in attendance and/or as funds become available.
Prepare and/or eat food as an illustration of the Bible story, whether in direct relation to the story, as a symbol of the story, or as benevolent cooking. Children love to prepare food with their hands and eat. The sensory experience of touching, eating, and smelling promotes a powerful experience of the story.
Intelligences: body kinesthetic, visual
Children are comfortable working with a computer and mouse. Most kids are more computer literate than Bible literate. This workshop will allow children to do research with the software Bible or Bible atlas, cross-reference Bible stories with scripture, create newspapers, create computer drawn pictures, develop crossword puzzles and games for classmates. There is a growing number of quality Christian software for teaching and exploring Bible times.
Intelligences: Logical mathematical, verbal linguistics
Name Possibilities: Mouse House, BC to PC,
This workshop invites a news room of reporters to produce a newspaper or a newscast of the events of the ancient Bible story. From the anchor desk or live on the scene reporters and witnesses, we get news of miracles, a weather report of sudden storms in the area or pillars of cloud. We could also print a newspaper with editorials, stories, advertisements created on a computer (future). We could do research on the Internet, or use encyclopedias.
Intelligences: verbal linguistic
Names: WKOK News room (W Kirk of Kildaire),
A welcoming, exciting, colorful place to get information about the workshops and class assignments. A large bulletin board indicates workshop location for each class.
A place for children to gather and congregate at the beginning of the program. Time for singing, prayer, energizers. A memory verse is posted for each unit. Each unit of study provides a new mission opportunity for our offering. This is a place to be united as Kirk kids.
Neil MacQueen, A Brief Description of the Workshop Rotation Model, www.rotation.org