The Sunday School program is structured in the following way:
- Each school year is comprised of FIVE sessions.
- Each session is comprised of EIGHT lessons that last approximately two months.
- Each lesson is approximately ONE hour long.
- Each session is independent of the others.
For most courses, students will receive a workbook, which is theirs to keep. Full of wonderful stories and activities, the workbooks are ideally taken home and shared with all family members.
Teacher’s guides are also provided, giving step-by-step instructions for each lesson. This is a valuable time-saver for teachers, as well as an essential tool for inexperienced teachers or volunteers.
To use the curriculum: On the CDs you will find a teacher’s guide and a student book for most titles. Some courses do NOT have a student booklet, but have the children making a booklet or project related to the session. The student booklets can be printed out – one copy per student. The front cover can be printed onto colored card stock paper, which will serve as a sturdier cover. For variety, choose different color covers for each session.
Dividing the children into various age groups makes it possible to gear the lessons toward the developmental levels of the children. Because you will need separate rooms and individual teachers for each group, being able to make the recommended divisions will depend upon your resources.
The Sunday School curriculum has been developed for three age groups. Each age group has its own set of books designed for that particular age. Each group is called one of Krishna’s names. They are as follows:
Children join a group according to their age and stay in that class the entire year. They should not change to a higher age level in the middle of the year.
You may have to be flexible with the age groups, however. If you do not have enough students, teachers or classrooms to be able to divide into the suggested age divisions, broaden the division. Do limit the ages you will accept, such as 7 to 11, or 9 to 13. If you attempt to teach too broad of an age span, the younger ones will be lost and the older students bored.
One complete year of Sunday School classes consists of five two-month sessions. Having a two-month session allows for a concrete time frame in which to teach a particular topic, regular opportunities for new registration, and more frequent reward incentives for students.
In an eight-week session, Lessons One through Six are the academic lessons. Lesson Seven of the session is reserved for a test or quiz. For Lesson Eight, it is recommended that a field trip be taken or have a picnic or simply a fun-and-games day. It is generally a better plan to keep the seven “real” lessons together and have the final lesson day scheduled as the fun day. Tests can be returned on that day, achievement awards handed out and it offers a short break between sessions.
Again, this is flexible. Many temples find that there is enough material in the curriculum to require a couple of extra lessons. Some have opted for ten-week sessions instead of eight-week sessions. When planning your session schedule, remember to take into account festival days in which you may want to cancel classes.
Regular classes are not scheduled for summertime, when many students travel and attendance is sporadic. If you wish to keep Sunday School classes going throughout the summer, an art or activity class may be the best solution.
Scheduling your class time will depend on the needs and facilities of your local temple. You may wish to hold Sunday School class at the same time as the adult lecture, thus freeing parents to attend. If that’s not feasible, you may have to schedule your classes at a different time. Whatever you do, try to make it as convenient as possible for the parents, so as to encourage regular attendance.
One hour is sufficient for class time. A longer class may cause you to lose the children’s interest.
A different spiritual topic will be covered during each two-month session. Some sessions will have all age groups studying the same topic, only on different levels. Other sessions will have unrelated topics, exclusive to each particular age group.
A student booklet, worksheets and tests, which you may copy for your students, will be provided. Lesson-by-lesson teaching guides will also be provided. Teaching suggestions are given separately by age group, but if you have a small enrollment, you may adapt and teach the classes together.
There may be some hesitation in charging a fee but it solves practically all of the problems associated with a free, drop-in class structure. Parents and students are much more likely to take the program seriously if they must pay for it. You will see your attendance increase and become more regular. With regular attendance, the class can progress systematically. You will know how many students to expect from week to week. And most of the financial needs of operating the Sunday School can be covered by the tuition fee.
The fee can be minimal, for example, $15 per student per two-month session. The option of registering for the entire year for a $10 savings can be offered. Please do not set the fee so high that people will be discouraged from signing up. Discounts can be offered forfamilies with 2 or more children enrolled in your school.
Parents are allowed to register their children only on specified registration dates. The two weeks prior to the beginning of a new session can be designated as the registration period. No new registration is permitted once a session has started. Anyone wanting to register after a session has started should be encouraged to apply for the next session. This will prevent new students from entering your class in the middle of a session and disrupting the progression of the class. Be diplomatic if you have someone wanting to register in mid-session. Explain to the parents that they will get much more out of their tuition if the children attend the entire course.
Every two months there will be a registration period. Tuition is to be paid at the time of registration. A handout with Sunday School information and times can be given to new applicants, along with the Sunday School requirements.
To motivate the children to attend regularly, as well as participate in class, achievement awards are given at the end of each session. To qualify, the student must have attended at least 6 out of the 8 classes and passed the final quiz. We grade the final quizzes very leniently so that children will feel some success and encouragement in attaining the achievement awards.
In this Introductory Kit you will find a reproducible award chart. It is a very simple way to mark the children’s progress and is a visual encouragement to the students throughout the year. The award charts can be placed on a separate Sunday School bulletin board in a visible location.
If you prefer, ribbons can be awarded at the end of the session, a different color for each session. Ribbons must be ordered from a trophy shop. The session number (Session One, Session Two, etc.) and year can be printed on them. Anticipate the date of the awards ceremony and order the ribbons two to three weeks in advance.
Children, like all of us, respond well to encouragement. To praise them in their Sunday School work, you can schedule a short awards ceremony after each session. Those who qualified for the achievement awards can receive them at that time. “Certificates of Participation” can be given to those who didn’t qualify but were registered.
Whatever you do, make it public. The awards can be given out in the temple room during the Sunday Feast or in a smaller gathering with parents. Each age group can chant the session verse they learned, songs can be sung, or projects displayed. A public presentation accomplishes many things. Participating students are encouraged to continue and are proud of their achievements. The Sunday School program itself gains recognition among the congregation. Finally, all parents love to see their child get an award.