What Makes Deep Blue Children's Curriculum Different?

February 1st, 2017

Deep Blue is the name for a curriculum that grew from wide-spread adoption of the CEB Deep Blue Kids Bible. The CEB Deep Blue Kids Bible respects the reader, speaks to the child about theology with care and grace—including some of the more difficult scripture stories—and invites children into God’s great library through questions that make space for wonder, curiosity, and love. When this children’s Bible appeared from the Common English Bible team, the children’s resources team at The United Methodist Publishing House quickly recommended it in a previous line of curriculum and then began brainstorming how to create a full curriculum consistent with the same foundational beliefs about God and children.

We began as usual with the core age levels, Cokesbury’s traditional classroom model for Sunday school, then turned our attention to revising the One Room Sunday School and Large Group/Small Group teaching resources. During this process the curriculum development team drew upon years of experience in the congregation, the classroom, and the seminary. We know that scripture, experience, wonder, and service lay a strong foundation for lifelong spiritual formation, but we wanted the resource itself to create space for invitation into grace, relationship building, respect, and God’s stories. So for every session we set out to write, we first sat in a circle, discussed the theological implications of a particular Bible story, explored what exegetical experts say about it, and created activities to meet our goals.

We didn’t proceed further until we connected with children’s ministers around the country. We talked to teachers at small and big churches, rural and urban churches, conservative, moderate, and liberal churches. We asked teachers about their passions, ministries, communities, and their points of pain. “How can we partner with you?” is the way we ended every call.

These calls led to the development of Deep Blue Rotation Stations, the Deep Blue Bible Storybook, Deep Blue Kids Church, Deep Blue Family Take-Home Sheets, Deep Blue Life, the Deep Blue Toddler Bible Storybook, and our new curriculum emphasis—Deep Blue Kids Learn & Serve. Going forward, we will still make these calls because we know we’re better together than apart.

This rigorous listening process distinguishes Deep Blue from most other children’s curriculum. As a nonprofit denominational publisher, we are committed to using the best and most innovative educational theories. Not only are we engaging children in mission and service; not only are we drawing on a shared Wesleyan tradition and theology; not only are we teaching scripture in a fun and engaging way—we are partners with churches and with the ministers who work alongside children and families. Instead of making resources somewhere separate from the teams who use them, we are creating them together. Deep Blue is different because it’s grounded in the respect for the imago dei in all people of all ages and trusts the movement of the Holy Spirit through the reading of scripture, the wonder of God, and the body of Christ.

Brittany Sky is the Senior Editor of Children’s Resources at The United Methodist Publishing House. She served as a minister with children and families in local churches in Oklahoma before coming to Nashville to work as a development editor on children’s Sunday school curricula. Brittany is the author of the Deep Blue Bible Storybook and the editor of the Deep Blue Toddler Bible Storybook.

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