Saturday, April 12, 2008

Sunday School: to craft or not to craft?

Over at Children Desiring God, where they have the temerity not to include craft in their excellent Sunday School material, you can almost hear the anguish in this Frequently Asked Question: "Why aren't there any crafts included in the curricula?" You can read their response here.

I agree that craft can be expensive, that it uses important preparation time, and that it often teaches little. And I don't think it's necessary - I'm pretty sure it wasn't a big feature of my Sunday School growing up, where I learnt heaps in a fun way.

But I am including craft in the Sunday School material I'm writing on the Fruit of the Spirit.

Craft, if carefully chosen, is not only enjoyable, but an excellent aid to communication and memory. But it has to be craft that counts!! Craft that teaches. Craft that is meaningful. Craft that provides a lasting reminder of what's been learned.

Many years ago, Lizzy made a banner which still hangs next to her bed, and every night we pray together through its four words - thankyou, please, sorry, and love. Every night it teaches her how to pray.

Here are some of the craft ideas I've come up with for the fruit of the Spirit:
    - a laminated bookmark with Galatians 5:22-23 on it for their Bibles;
    - a smiley face badge to remind them to be "joyful" in all circumstances.
    - a money-box to set aside pocket money for poor children, to model "kindness";
    - a friendship bracelet or wrist band, to remind them to be "faithful" to God when they're at school.
If anyone has any ideas for craft (or activities) illustrating "patience" (which I now think is about enduring insult and suffering, not about waiting, so the Harold the Snail statue I was planning probably won't do) or "gentleness" (the only thing I've come up with is a fuzzy-wuzzy to stroke when feeling cross, to calm down and help stop the angry retort), please let me know.

6 comments:

Nicole said...

I'm a great fan of doing craft in Sunday School. I've been teaching preschool age for 2 years and I think that sending kids home with something to remind them of what they've learned is helpful for them. And it helps the parents have some idea of what they are learning too, which I think is REALLY important!

Jean said...

Thanks, Nicole, good points all. I guess an activity sheet would do the same?? But perhaps not be so lasting.

richard.starkey said...

Here's an idea for a patience activity that my husband Rick came up with (for older kids probably).

A competition to see who can endure the longest: Two children are up the front, each with a pile of jellybeans. The other children are allowed to come up and take jellybeans (one at a time). The child up the front who calls a halt to the taking first is the loser.

It needs a bit more thought - does it teach some kids patience but most kids greed?! There might have to be a secret reward for the "loser" later.

Miranda

richard.starkey said...

I have a lovely necklace made from a piece of polished wood that I made in Sunday School when I was eight or so. I still wear it but have no idea what the point of it was (if any)!

Miranda

Jean said...

Yeah, I've heard of a patience exercise like that: you put lollies in a tent, tell the kids that those who wait longest will be rewarded, and put extra lollies in throughout the lesson. The ones who waited til the end get the most.

It felt a bit mean to me!!

But the main problem is I think "patience" is about patient endurance of insult and suffering - i.e. "longsuffering". So you'd have to insult and torment them while they were waiting for their jelly beans, and see who could put up with the most. Might not go down so well with the parents!! ;)

Anonymous said...

I AGREE WITH YOUR COMMENTS ABOUT DOING A CRAFT BUT FROM MY PERCEPTION NOT EVERY SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS FOR THE MONTH SHOULD HAVE A CRAFT MAYBE THE ACTIVITY SHEET. ONE OF THE MAIN OBJECTIVES IIS TO ENSURE AND ESTABLISH THE INTIAL REASON FOR SUNDAY SCHOOL IT IS TO TEACH AND AT THE END OF THE DAY TO KNOW WE MADE AN IMPACT AS TEACHERS. IN MOST OF THE INSTNACES THEY MERELY LOOK FORWARD TO DOING A CRAFT AND NOT GRASPING THE MAIN CONCEPT OF WHAT WAS REALLY TAUGHT. I THINK CRAFT ONCE A MONTH, AND THEN ACTIVITIES AND A FULL DAY OF GAMES ANF FUN CONCERNING THE BIBLE SHOULD BE INITIATED INSTEAD.