Preschool
Gospel Light, David C Cook, 2017 with on-going publications

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Overview

What does it say on the tin?

Gospel Light has designed a simple, three-step teaching plan that keeps kids 2 and 3 years old involved in lively activities, while they learn about God.

What do you get?

Via Disciplr subscription: Access to two years worth of curriculum for children aged 2 – 4 years old. Includes teacher preparation tips, activity and suggested running orders and links to external links needed. Curriculum is split in to seasons (units): fall, winter, spring, summer over the two year period.

Example of session titles over the two years include:

  • Year 1 – Autumn – Escape from Egypt
  • Year 1 – Winter – Jesus tells of God’s love
  • Year 1 – Spring – Jesus dies and lives again
  • Year 1 – Summer -Loving my family
  • Year 2 – Autumn – God made people
  • Year 2 – Winter – Shepherds and angels
  • Year 2 – Spring – Paul tells about Jesus
  • Year 2 – Summer – Esther is brave

Who is it for?

Children preschool aged, 2 – 3 years old

Cost?

Available by subscription to Disciplr or to buy as units (approximately 13 lessons per unit) from $14.99 USD (£11.00) from David C Cook.

Review

  • What is the overall quality of material presentation?

    Very good an easy to understand. The teacher preparation sheets help leaders to see the big picture of the session and to plan. The activities are fun and simple with helpful headings and easy guidelines. The material is accessible online if accessed via Disciplr or can be purchased as a hard copy too from David C Cook.

    How clear are its aims and outcomes?

    Goals for individual children are listed at the beginning of the sessions. For example when learning the story of Moses the three goals listed are: 1. Tell that Moses’ mother cared for him by keeping him safe 2. Name a person who cares for you and 3. Thank God for someone who cares for you.

    How accessible are the leader’s notes?

    Leader notes are very accessible. The teacher preparation sheet for each session helps the leader to see the overall session and all the options available for learning, as well as what is needed. The leader can then look over the full instructions for more details. Clear outlines of time allocation are given and Bible talks are written down simply for the target age group and for stress free delivery.

    Who could lead it?

    Any Christian adult passionate about teaching little children about the Bible. Support would be needed to facilitate if lots of children are present.

    How helpful are the participants’ resources?

    Children have simple activity sheets to complete as an optional activity which are fun, very simple and based on the teaching of the week.

    How good is any digital material?

    Suggestion to buy extra CD for songs, while the main material is also available digitally. All good quality and simple for children of 2 - 3 years old. Each session has a variety of options to choose from to run, depending on context, leaders may choose more or less digital material in sessions.

    How much prep will I have to do?

    Preparation is easy with the handy teacher preparation sheets. These give time scales, a summary of the activities and a list of supplies for each session meaning the leader can then focus on only what they will include when looking at the full instructions. The choices allow for lots of resources or little resources, lots of mess or no mess, so the sessions can be easily tailored for the context and need. Each session also includes a teacher challenge during preparation to help the leader delve more in to the topic they will be covering, before then choosing the activities to run.

    Is there website support? Links?

    Most sessions include external links to a range of songs, crafts, demonstrations or crafts.

  • How well does it encourage interaction with the group?

    This series has an excellent amount of interaction. In particular, children interact with leaders and one another during the ‘play to learn’ part of the session which lasts between 20 - 30 minutes. This includes a variety of different activities related to the theme including: snack time, games, crafts, art, acting, searching and answering questions. A huge variety of interaction which is suitable for any context.

    How well does it cater for a variety of both learning and delivery styles?

    The basis of Gospel Light is to teach children in three different ways: play, listening and talking. Children spend the majority of the session learning through playing as this is an essential approach for children aged 2 - 3 years old.

    How adaptable is it to my situation?

    These sessions are extremely adaptable for any context where toddlers are being churched whether that is in Sunday school, parent teaching time or day care. Each session lasts approximately 1 hour, but as there are a range of activities for each session, leaders can choose to make them shorter by omitting some of the suggestions quite easily. The materials and resources are relatively common and low in cost with the occasional extra purchase (for example a puppet) and songs can be done using a CD or YouTube search. The instructions for the Bible talk are very simple, clear and include easy props to assist with learning. A very adaptable resource with many topics as the curriculum is two years long. The seasonal format means that the sessions coincide with the appropriate Christian festivals, for example, Winter focus on the birth of Jesus and prophecies of his birth in the Old Testament.

    How well does it encourage people to work together in applying the material?

    Children apply material by answering simple questions and by doing activities appropriate ate to the theme. For example, when learning about baby Moses, children may be asked to look at a house and point to all the people who care for them as Moses’ mother, sister and God cared for him.

  • How much of the material is Bible-based?

    The ‘listen to learn’ sections are approximately 10 -15 minutes and include a range of activities where a leader teaches the large group about the Bible and the relevant story. This is followed by 15 minutes of ‘talk to learn’ time where smaller groups talk about and apply what they have learnt.

    How well is the biblical material presented and used?

    Biblical material is presented very simply in order for it to be accessible to the target age group. Specifically, leaders prepare for the talk with the Bible verse, a prayer and a song and this is followed by the talk which is simply written down in the leader notes and includes props and demonstrations. Children the answer simple questions and apply the learning in smaller groups by completing simple activity sheets and Bible story games.

    How well does it apply biblical material to everyday life?

    Biblical material is applied to everyday life in a very simple way for children of this age. They look at what happens in the Bible stories and then look at what happens in their lives which is the same. For example, when learning about Esther they think about times when they have to be brave and trust God. A suggestion for this is when they fall over and hurt their knee.

    Is there a particular theological perspective?

    No specific liturgical references or practices throughout this curriculum. Open and accessible to all denominations.

  • How well does it inspire people towards whole-life discipleship?

    Very gently and in ways relevant to the topic. For example, when learning about David and Saul, children see that King Saul was mean to David but David was kind to him. They learn that David could do this because he loved God and that God can help us love one another day to day. The teacher then asks children questions individually to draw on their lives. For example, ‘…what do you like to do at home? How can you be kind when you … with …?’ A lot of the sessions also encourage children to give thanks to Jesus for what they have learnt and during prayer too.

    How well does it encourage and enable people to grow in their faith?

    Children gently grow in faith by covering a wide range of the Bible from the Old to New Testament. They learn about lots of different people over the two years and the main teaching from their lives which can help us today. This helps form solid foundations of faith for children to keep building on as they grow up.

    How well does it stretch faith and vision of God and his purposes?

    Specifically there are sessions on Jesus and his salvation to the world being God’s plan to savers people. Children learn they are precious and made by God, which means they then love him and act more like Jesus. Each session has a small group time where children apply the learning to their lives in a simple way, relevant to their lives. For example, ‘God loves all people and helps them do great things. What great things do you think God can help you to do?’

    How well does it connect with real life issues?

    Gently for the age group. Children cover topics such as family life, playing with friends, people who may be mean, getting and injury and more.

  • How well does it encourage personal evangelism?

    Very gently on the sessions to do with Jesus coming for all people. Children are asked, ‘who do they love who doesn’t love Jesus? How can they tell them about Jesus?’

    How well does it encourage local or network-based community involvement?

    The series covers a range of ways to have a positive impact on the community from being kind at home to being kind to friend and being kind to creation during the sessions on Genesis.

    How well does it connect with global issues?

    Not a huge focus.

    How well does it encourage global mission?

    Not a huge focus but children do learn about people who were great Missionaries such as Paul.

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