Children Growing in Faith

March 26th, 2012

What should children learn and when should they learn it? This seems like a simple question to answer. But is it really? Think about this.

In church we share the Christian faith in the hope that our children will claim this faith and live as disciples of Jesus Christ. But what does this look like in a two-year-old? A seven year old? A twelve year-old? Obviously it looks different at each age level. Faith development is not that neatly packaged.

In thinking of faith growth, it can help to envision the process as a spiral rather than a ladder. Growth in faith is progressive, cumulative, and dynamic and varies with each child. Therefore, there is no pat answer as to when a biblical theme or concept will be taught. The new Cokesbury curriculum plans for a repetitive process. Each time a child hears a story repeated or reencounters a biblical theme or idea, they bring with them new experiences and a growing maturity. They take away new understandings. Grow, over the three year scope and sequence plans for the boys and girls to increasingly move to deeper levels of meaning for the same basic themes as they grow.

A good example of this is the "Lord's Prayer." All age levels (from threes to tweens) will be studying this Scripture passage. All the children will hear the prayer and begin to learn it (on their own level). But this process looks different at each age level. How much they learn and what the prayer means to them is different, depending on their level of understanding and their developmental ability.

The document included here ("Elements of a Core Curriculum for Children") is the guideline the development editors at Cokesbury use as they plan a new comprehensive Bible study for children from ages 2 to 12. The document highlights the mission statement of the curriculum as well as the biblical themes and content as well as discipleship focuses. Use the document to inform yourself and your teaching teams as to what will be covered and why.

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