Diddy Disciples
Sharon Moughtin-Mumby, SPCK, 2017

£29.99 (Approx)
4.4
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Overview

What does it say on the tin?

Diddy Disciples is a new worship and Bible storytelling resource for those who work with babies, toddlers and young children. This inspiring book aims to encourage participation, discipleship and leadership from children’s earliest years, using storytelling, singing, colour, repetition, art and lots and lots of movement!

Leaders can use the material to create a service that follows the pattern of their church’s Sunday worship, a simple mid-week baby and toddler singing session or anything in between!

THE UNITS ARE:

  • Jesus’ Wonderful Love: six weeks introducing some of Jesus’ most famous parables
  • God the Maker: six weeks on creation and caring for it, including a Harvest celebration
  • In November We Remember: four weeks, including All Saints and Remembrance Sunday
  • Getting Ready for Baby Jesus: five weeks journeying through Advent to Christmas

What do you get?

Resource book with over 20 weeks’ worth of fully worked out sessions, all the information needed to set up and run sessions, online access to the members’ area and photocopiable activities at the back.

Who is it for?

Babies, toddlers and young children. NB this review covers specifically Book 1 (September-December resource).

Review

  • What is the overall quality of material presentation?

    Good exterior cover with glossy A4 cover and images. The material inside is very comprehensive which means the layout takes some time to get used to and navigate. There is quite bit of jumping around pages to get all the information for one session.

    How clear are its aims and outcomes?

    Aims are laid out in the ‘building block’ called ‘Introducing the Unit’ and leaders explain the unit and session they are on.

    How accessible are the leader’s notes?

    This resource is extremely comprehensive which makes it excellent in content but it can take some time to navigate at first. Once leaders have decided what they want to include in their session, the contents are all clearly written word for word so is easy to follow once the layout of the resource is understood. Titles and subtitles help to guide leaders along the way too.

    Who could lead it?

    The resource states that it is passionate about growing leaders both young and old. It encourages different strengths and resources to be used for the different roles and splits these in to four categories: preparation, spoken lead roles, unspoken lead roles and clearing up after the session. It is explicit in encouraging leaders to take young peoples’ church seriously, with the understanding that early years’ growth is just as important for spirituality as adult years are.

    How helpful are the participants’ resources?

    Good - there are books, crafts and photocopiable resources all relevant to their sessions and adaptable to different ages.

    How good is any digital material?

    N/A unless the taster videos are used in sessions. Taster sessions are helpful to demonstrate to the leaders how the songs are done.

    How much prep will I have to do?

    Preparation time depends on whether leaders follow the strict session outline or choose to create their own ‘building blocks’ for a session. Preparation also depends on the context in which sessions are being run as this resource is very versatile and can be used for large or small events, with different ages and learning styles. In all cases, resources may need to be photocopied and materials collected if doing a craft or game. Leaders should familiarise themselves too with the guidance on how to run a session, who is needed to assist and what training and space is needed. Preparation depends entirely on the context but as a minimum approximately 2 hours will be needed to build and plan one session.

    Is there website support? Links?

    Yes, this can be located at: www.diddydisciples.org where full members’ access is granted if a book has been purchased, and there are instructions on how to set up and run sessions, as well as other background information and explanation on the thinking behind the book.

  • How well does it encourage interaction with the group?

    Extremely well. Every activity includes lots of interaction with the group, including various different ways of getting children involved. This resource has a huge focus on different ways of learning and engaging children.

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

    Extremely well. The activities take into account: movement, imagination, our faces and bodies, symbols, creative activities, music and song. There are lots of different ways to learn through movement, repetition and discussion.

    How adaptable is it to my situation?

    This resource is extremely adaptable to sessions with babies, toddlers and young people. It is designed to be church for children and not just to be an aid to church learning. Sessions can be run in order or not, but generally the sessions are designed to follow seasons of the liturgical year. There are different building blocks to create unique sessions which are comprehensive in explaining how to do this well. There is guidance on ‘including babies in mixed groups’ and also options for storytelling with babies. There are traditional options as well as building blocks with less of a focus on common worship lectionary. There is guidance on space allocation, set up and choosing different leaders. Sessions can be made to last from 10 minutes to several hours depending on context but planning time increases with longer sessions. This resource is extremely adaptable and comprehensive but this means taking time to understand the layouts and activities.

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

    Very well as every building block is interactive and focused on the session topic. For example, worship may include actions and repetition, with questions to answer the whole way through and songs are relevant to the theme and teachings. Children apply knowledge through craft, prayer, songs and written resources.

  • How much of the material is Bible-based?

    The sessions are designed so that the Bible storytelling block is the focus of the session, and the other blocks should complement this. However it is difficult to say how much is Bible based, as leaders will build and design their own formats based on time allocations and context.

    How well is the biblical material presented and used?

    There are many suggestions about how to present biblical material to children in the ‘Bible Storytelling’ building block. Each session has a few different options of what you can do for example, learning verses through: song, actions, props asking questions and including children in the story. The biblical material is cleverly woven through continuous stimulation and engaging methods for the children to stay engaged while also having fun. Children learn key messages in the main Bible teaching, and leaders are given a choice of what to include or exclude depending on their group and context.

    How well does it apply biblical material to everyday life?

    The themes are made relevant to everyday life. For example, in November ‘we remember’ so the sessions ask children to think about if they know anyone who has died and remember them - they then have discussions about what they feel and what they are thankful for. There are many other opportunities for children to apply the material, in particular through the building blocks for creative response and prayer, and in the Bible storytelling section itself which asks children questions throughout.

    Is there a particular theological perspective?

    There are options for common worship lectionary and some prayer and response options but these can be chosen if and when wanted by leaders. For example, one session gives the opportunity for children to learn and share The Peace, another offers communion.

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

    As suggested by the resources title, it aims to grow and inspire as well as teach ‘Diddy Disciples’. This is done in two ways, 1) by teaching children and engaging them in the importance of Jesus and significance of Biblical stories and 2) by teaching good practice and routines. There are many key stories covered which teach the principles of Christianity. There are also building blocks in each session for prayer, thanking God, saying sorry to God, creatively responding and praying for others.

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

    This is done well as there is such a vast amount of content and so many brilliant messages for children. Children learn about the backbone to Christianity but also about less well-known stories, passages and characters to help them delve deeper in to the Bible. This can vary depending on age groups, and there is guidance on storytelling with babies and younger children. Children are taught good practices and routines to get to know God, such as how to say sorry, thank you and how to take God’s love in to the world. A very well-rounded and consistent approach.

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

    As this resource is written to follow seasons of the liturgical year, children learn about God’s work and purposes appropriately to the festival they are in if sessions are done in order. They learn two huge concepts throughout this book, one is that God loves us and gave his Son so that sins are forgiven, and the second one is that once we have accepted this, we can take it in to the world. This is key as then every other passage included links God to us and what our jobs on earth are: safeguarding the planet and talking to others.

    How well does it connect with real life issues?

    Appropriately for the age group and the topics covered. Children mostly learn about how God and the teachings can impact and transform their lives and their hearts more than in practical ways. Some sections have practical advice, for example children remember people they have lost, pray for them and pray for the sick.

  • How well does it encourage personal evangelism?

    Very well as there is a focus on our responsibility to take what we have learnt about Jesus and share it with the world. Children are given practical steps on how to do this, and how to share God’s peace and plans with others. Unit 1 teaches parables about God’s love and commands that we share that love with others.

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

    Very well. Children are taught that God made the world so we need to take care of it. They remember those in need and learn about the power of prayer for them and for all other people. Children learn to share God’s peace with others and learn about the importance of community.

    How well does it connect with global issues?

    Children learn about looking after our planet and about helping those in need across the world.

    How well does it encourage global mission?

    Not a huge focus, but covered indirectly in the ‘Jesus’ Wonderful Love’ chapter.

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