Here are some of the favorite weekly practices and curricula used by churches in the Diocese of Maine.
Overview: What's important?
What do some other Christian educators in Maine think are the most important things to teach our kids? Creative Basics for Kids is our attempt to answer that question. The purpose is to stimulate your thinking and provide a checklist that you can modify. Also, Anne-Marie Miller of St. John's Church in Bangor has been working on a really interesting version of this.
Gathering - Anne-Marie Miller has a strong way of beginning her Sunday School class at St. John's in Bangor.
Children's Church - The Rev. Peggy Schnack leads a family Eucharist each Sunday at St. Paul's in Brunswick.
Overview of preschool/elementary goals & practices: Here's a fantastic 5 minute video. Don't be fooled by its emphasis on Godly Play, because it will help you no matter what curriculum you use.
Preschool/young elementary: Godly Play is always a great starting point. It engages the Montessori teaching method. Although few Maine churches use the official Godly Play curriculum, many have adapted the model and retain the emphasese on storytelling, "I wonder..." and a view of children's spirituality. Here's the Godly Play YouTube channel where you can find video demonstrations of each Godly Play story. Here's an introduction to Godly Play.
All ages: Free resources for all ages include: Free Episcopal Lectionary-Based Curriculum created by a team at St. Bart's in Yarmouth - Each lesson is divided into three classes: Pre-K, K and 1,2,3 and 4,5,6. Some weeks the project is the same for all three classes, but many weeks, it's different. The format is basically the same in every class, every week. Each season has a theme and we choose prayers and songs that reflect that theme. Here are the Education Standards, an Epiphany sample and a sample from Lent.
Lesson Plans That Work - This is a free resource from the Episcopal Church Center. There are lessons for younger children (non-readers) and older children (elementary). Lessons follow the liturgical calendar and are available for the Gospel and the Old Testament readings. The quality varies, but many have recently been rewritten.
High School: Confirm Not Conform - this confirmation curriculum is great at helping students engage their faith in a tangible way to ask if this is really what they believe on a personal level. There are good field trip and activity options and the curriculum is teacher friendly. (One-time cost based on ASA.) Used by St. John's in Bangor.
High School: Living Compass Teen Program is a free one-year curriculum recommended by St. Ann's in Windham.
High School: The Thoughtful Christian website gives you the ability to download a single $7.50 lesson that will speak to your kids without buying a lot of things that won't work for them. They frequently update with new lessons after major events (Haiti Earthquake, etc...) or pop culture phenomena (Hunger Games Lesson.) (very inexpensive... pay per lesson.)