The birth of Jesus lesson will be in the middle of the winter module for all three years. Obviously, the schedule may not line up exactly with Christmas, depending on when your Sunday school begins in the fall. Teachers will be able to shift lesson schedules a bit or skip some lessons earlier in the year in order to match this important event in the church year. The lessons on the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension will also follow the church year more closely.
Publishing the Sunday school module in this way has at least a couple of benefits:
While it could be possible to to use the kindergarten lessons for three-year-olds, it would take a very skilled teacher to do it well. Teachers of young children tell us that there is a very significant difference between the developmental level of a three-year-old and a four-year-old.
The three-year-old series really is age appropriate. On the other hand, many of the copy masters in the kindergarten series would be too advanced for a three-year-old. Even the Bible story is at a level that would require a higher level of understanding and a longer attention span. So, though it could be done, it would require a teacher who really understands the developmental differences between three and four year-olds. And it would require a modification of the materials.
The 48 story approach of the three-year-old program, to a large degree, developed because of requests from preschool teachers. They felt that teaching a core group of key lessons well would provide a very important and solid foundation for learning about God. And for most Sunday schools, the 48 lessons provide more lessons than would be covered in a typical year.
In the minds of those who developed the curriculum, the importance of teaching the core lessons seemed to outweigh the goal of having all the students studying the same lesson.
When we first began to revise the curriculum, we hadn't planned on creating a separate Sunday School module. However, discussions with Sunday school leaders convinced us that we needed to do that.
With the original Christ-Light, if a Sunday school followed the complete plan of taking Old Testament A lessons one year, and New Testament A lessons the next year, followed by Old Testament B lessons for year 3 and New Testament B lessons for year 4, students would study the lessons only every fourth year. Because Lutheran Elementary students study two lessons per week, they would study each lesson approximately 4 times by the time they were confirmed. But Sunday school students would study a lesson 2 times at most, some lessons only once. Most Sunday schools wrestle with the challenge of very sporadic attendance. It could easily happen that a student could make it through 8 years of Sunday school and have missed some very key lessons, like the resurrection of Jesus. Because the typical Sunday school only meets approximately 35 times per year, it simply is impossible to teach all of the lessons that are taught in the Lutheran Elementary schools and still repeat the very important core lessons more often throughout the eight year span of time that a student would be in Sunday school.
Another consideration is that often Sunday schools will have students for only a year. If that was a year when only Old Testament lessons were being taught, some very important truths would be missed. So we felt quite strongly that we need to recognize the reality of what is happening in many of our Sunday schools and make sure we build a solid spiritual foundation in the curriculum each year.
Certainly it is true, some Sunday schools don't fit the average. In some rural areas especially the attendance is much better, and parents spend time teaching the Bible to their children. In those places a Sunday school might decide to use the Lutheran Elementary school module. The second lesson for the week might be sent home for parents to teach. In general, however, it seems that there will always be some students who don’t receive much spiritual training in the home. Therefore it is critically important to teach both promise and fulfillment each year. Therefore the Sunday school module includes both Old and New Testament lessons each year, and repeats key Bible lessons more often throughout the curriculum.
The original Christ-Light curriculum included a fourth set of materials for both the Old and New Testament cycles. Some year-round Sunday schools used that fourth set of materials for the summer sessions. Because the Set Four materials were not widely used, stewardship considerations dictated that we not revise those materials. However, they will continue to be available in the original lesson format. The 52 lessons in the Set Four cycles should provide ample material for a summer program. A benefit of using these materials is that students will study lessons not covered in the other curriculum.
We did want the lesson about the birth of Jesus to fall as close to Christmas as possible. But we ran into several challenges in trying to make that happen in the schedule. One is the fact that Sunday schools don't all start on the same date. Another is that some Sunday schools use one, two, or three Sundays in December for practicing the Christmas Eve service and don't use a lesson on those days. A third challenge is that we wanted to try to get an adequate number of Old Testament lessons in so that in the course of the three year cycle, the children will have covered Old Testament lessons as much as possible. The curriculum is set up with about half of the lessons from the Old Testament and about half from the New Testament. Put all of those factors together with the fact that Christmas isn't exactly in the middle of the school year, and you have a bit of a challenge.
The curriculum provides enough lessons to meet the needs of those Sunday schools that have the longest yearly schedule. If, for whatever reason, the Christmas lesson doesn't line up with the calendar (the same thing applies for Easter--Easter is even more of a challenge because the date varies so much), we encourage Sunday schools to decide ahead of time how to adjust. Some choose to combine lessons earlier in the season (lessons that logically fit together such as "Jacob Tricks Isaac" and "Jacob's Dream"). Others simply skip some lessons earlier in the Old Testament cycle. Still others jump ahead to the Christmas lesson, and then go back and finish the Old Testament lessons that were missed.
In order to help the Sunday school staff plan the year, an annual schedule will be provided for each classroom whenever you order Christ-Light materials. The Annual Schedule is also available online. The schedule will suggest a lesson order, which will place the Christmas and Easter lessons just before we celebrate those holidays.
Your question shows a dedication to cover God's Word thoroughly in the course of the Sunday school year. We thank God for that dedication and that spirit!
By the time the revision is released, Christ-Light will be almost 15 years old -- a long time for any curriculum by most standards.
In order to help you plan for future budget years, NPH plans to keep the cost as close as possible to that of the original Christ-Light. See order form for exact prices.
This is a difficult question to answer. While it may be possible to use the old teacher’s guides with the new curriculum, this is a very extensive revision. Using the old teacher’s guides would require substantially more preparation time for the teacher, and the dramatic improvement in appealing to various learning styles will not be realized.
Lutheran elementary school teachers may also prefer to follow the church year more closely. A seasonal lesson packet of six lessons will be made available as a download. Teachers can then insert these lessons into the schedule as they see fit.
Though the pictures contained in the lessons are for the most part smaller than the original Christ-Light pictures, a teaching pictures CD containing all the pictures will be available. The CD can be used by purchasers to project the pictures on to a screen or to print them to an on-site color printer.
Changing technology is really challenging publishers to try to figure out what people need and would use. The SmartBoard® type technology has been adopted by our schools at a faster rate than some of us may have anticipated. The Christ-Light 2 materials, at least initially, will not be as adaptable to the SmartBoard® as some would like. However, some components will be. The teacher’s guides and copy masters will be offered on CD. There probably is very little reason to project the teacher’s guides. The electronic version of the copy masters may be somewhat more suited to projection technology.
Several components have been created specifically for projection technology. We will be offering the full-color art for grades PreK - 4th, in high and low resolution electronic format suitable for printing and projection. Also, we have created a package of more than 100 Biblical figures for whiteboard. These are simply digital files of the characters from the old felt-board sets that are offered as jpegs as well as in gallery format for use with the SmartBoard®. The teachers’ creativity will uncover unlimited ways those characters can be used with the SmartBoard®.
As a small synodical publisher with a small staff and a small market, we face some challenges as we create a curriculum. When we started the curriculum revision, we had never even heard of SmartBoards®. To change directions now, specifically to fit board technology, would create some expensive challenges for us.
That being said, we are trying to lay out the lessons in such a way that they could be used in different ways. If we can figure out a way to present the student lessons electronically (and if the majority of end users are able to use them that way) we could change the delivery method at a later date. Whether or not we go in that direction will depend upon a number of things, such as the kinds of technology that will be used in schools in the future and the preferences of our market.
But we are well aware of the fact that teachers can find materials, for almost any subject, that have been designed for the interactive board technology. The one exception is teaching God’s Word. There is a void in that area. We are trying to figure out the best way to address that need.
The 3-year-old kindergarten materials consist of 48 core Bible lessons. A teacher’s guide, student lesson sheets, copy masters, and stickers are all available for teaching the lessons. Because these materials were created after the original Christ-Light was published, we decided not to revise them at this time. However, we will continue to provide those lessons along with the revised curriculum.
When NPH decided to update the curriculum, we decided not to tackle the high school curriculum, at least for now. There are at least three factors that played into that decision. The first two listed below are factors that dictated a need for revising the grade school material that do not apply to the high school material.
In the future it is always possible that we would decide to revise the high school offerings. But for now, it didn't seem there was a need to do that.
The original curriculum components will only be available as long as supplies last. Once the supplies are depleted, we won’t be reprinting them. Some of the original curriculum components are already out of stock.
NPH has created presentations for our customers to help you learn about the features and benefits of the upcoming revised Christ-Light materials. Click below to view a specific presentation in your browser:
The revised curriculum does offer options, but in a format that is much easier to navigate. The teacher’s guides have a two column format. The teacher can just use the wide column, which is an entire lesson, start to finish. You don’t have to use the narrow column at all if you don’t want to. If you want to tailor the lesson for variety (or to fit your teaching style and the students’ learning styles), you can choose activities from the narrow column. The appropriate options will always be pretty much side by side on the page.
The teacher guides are on CD. The copyright notice on the CD states that one CD covers a classroom. As long as the teachers teach in the same classroom, you can make a copy for each team teacher and leave one in the classroom for a substitute to use. In the unlikely event that you would have two classrooms at each level, for example two fifth and sixth grade classes, according to the copyright notice, you would need to purchase one teacher’s guide for each classroom.
Various teaching techniques have been built right into the teacher’s guide activities so that they happen automatically. Writers tried to incorporate activities that meet children’s various learning styles (visual, audio, movement-related, touch-related). As a teacher, if you follow the teacher’s guides, you will be teaching in a way that appeals to these various learning styles.
The Memory Treasure CDs contain files that make it possible to do that.
The Christ-Light Memory Treasure CDs contain all of the suggested memory work. The Bible passages are given in six different translations so you can pick the one your church is using. Purchase a Christ-Light Memory Treasures CD for each of the various levels. On each CD, look for the RTF file of all the suggested Bible passages, Catechism parts, and hymn stanzas. You can copy and paste items into your own Word documents to make your own memory treasure lists or booklets.
PDF files are also provided. The memory treasures are assembled by lesson so that you could simply print the memory treasures for any given lesson and hand them out on the appropriate day. If you wanted, you could also use those files to create a memory treasure book.