First Steps Together
Jenny Cheung, Premier Youth and Children’s Work, monthly resources from April 2017

£38.40 (Approx)
3.8
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Overview

What does it say on the tin?

For years, Premier Youthwork provided top-notch (even if we do say so ourselves) session plans for youth groups and we decided it was high time we did the same for children’s groups too. Every month, we’ll be providing you with four sessions for 0-5-year-olds (called First Steps Together), 5-11-year-olds (Growing Together) and 11-18-year-olds (Journeying Together) – choose the best age group for the children in your church community. All three age groups will be exploring the same Bible passages, so you’ll be able to mix and match if you have a mixed age group.

NB This review will cover the July 2017 edition

What do you get?

Access to Premier Youth and Children’s Work online resources and session plans, as well as their monthly magazine – available at: https://www.youthandchildrens.work/Resources/First-Steps-Together?page=2Free first month’s initial subscription, including magazine and online resources. £38.40 monthly subscription going forward.

Who is it for?

Children aged 0-5 years, 5 – 11 years and 11 – 18 years. NB This review covers 0 – 5 year old material. Small groups.

Review

  • What is the overall quality of material presentation?

    Good, easy to navigate online and clear layout with clear subtitles.

    How clear are its aims and outcomes?

    Clearly written at the beginning of the session under ‘meeting aim’.

    How accessible are the leader’s notes?

    Very accessible and easy to follow, presented on one A4 page.

    Who could lead it?

    Adults and children’s workers passionate about working with children.

    How helpful are the participants’ resources?

    Very helpful, relevant and varied with a choice available online.

    How good is any digital material?

    N/A however website support is helpful and easy to access.

    How much prep will I have to do?

    20 minutes - 1 hour preparation. Leaders will need to buy/collect items for craft and Bible story sections.

    Is there website support? Links?

    Yes via the website: https://www.youthandchildrens.work/download/file/773282

  • How well does it encourage interaction with the group?

    Very well during the ‘Bible story’ section, and ‘chatting together’ section. This comprises a recommended 15 minutes of the session.

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

    This is done well as there are ways to learn through craft, chatting and interactive Bible telling techniques. There is not a variety of choice though, so the leader is not required to choose different elements of the session as the sessions are laid out as one option.

    How adaptable is it to my situation?

    Very adaptable, with a recommended running time of 40 minutes per session. This means it can be used as part of a church service, lunch club, after school club or just in small groups. The sessions are straight-forward to run and can be held in small and large spaces. No access to digital material is necessarily needed so it can be easily set up in different rooms. Depending on the size of your group, adult supervision will need to fit accordingly. Each month, four sessions are produced within one theme with the intention that one session would be completed each week. If you have children of older ages, there are equivalent sessions on the same topics but with adapted content which could be run alongside the FIRST STEPS TOGETHER resource. There are also separate All-age service layouts which can be used and further games ideas.

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

    Appropriately for 0-5 year olds. They apply material by making a craft related to the theme and answering questions with each other.

  • How much of the material is Bible-based?

    Approximately 10 minutes out of the full 40 minutes per session.

    How well is the biblical material presented and used?

    Presentation of biblical material is done well, as it varies from session to session to keep the children engaged. For example, stories are portrayed by: role play, props, asking questions to the children as the story progresses and making crafts along the way.

    How well does it apply biblical material to everyday life?

    Very gently again to be appropriate for the ages it is written for of 0-5years. For example, some questions which arise in the chatting together section include: ‘Do we find it easy to share?’, ‘Is it easy to do what God wants?’ and ‘What happened in the story that made you happy?’

    Is there a particular theological perspective?

    No, open to all denominations and perspectives. No specific liturgy or references.

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

    Gently, by asking and showing children what it means to be a disciple. It also covers the fundamentals of who God is so that children can learn more about the character they are following. For example, they are asked, ‘Why is it important to follow God by doing what he says?’ Children are also taught about how to pray and speak to God, which is essential for any young Christian’s journey.

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

    Gently, taking in to account the age group it is for. Children learn about stories in their Bible, what happened, why it happened and are then asked questions relating to their response to what happened. This creates a helpful structure for children to learn about how they can follow God, by first teaching them about him before they then apply it. They are asked at one point, ‘What does today’s session tell you about God?’

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

    Different sessions focus on different aspects of God and his purposes, but all sessions draw God’s purposes from things the children have learnt in the passage from that session. For example, in the session on Daniel, they are asked, ‘Do you think God will look after you if you make choices like Daniel did?’

    How well does it connect with real life issues?

    Well enough for young children with limited knowledge of life’s issues. They are asked to pray for difficult situations, and challenged with questions which are relevant to them at their age such as, ‘Do people sometimes try to get us to do things we know that God wouldn’t like?’

  • How well does it encourage personal evangelism?

    Very mildly and indirectly.

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

    Not a main focus.

    How well does it connect with global issues?

    Indirectly by teaching children about the work of significant characters in the Bible and how they served God.

    How well does it encourage global mission?

    Indirectly by teaching children about biblical missionaries.

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