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Thread: Curriculum for Teaching the Catechism to Children

  1. #1

    Curriculum for Teaching the Catechism to Children

    A friend of mine has been asked by his elders to teach a Sunday School class through the Westminster Shorter Catechism. The class is for ages 8-9. What curriculum and resources do you recommend?
    Seth Stark
    Member, Grace Presbyterian Church (OPC), Springfield, IL (though I live in Decatur, IL)

    (Formerly Ruling Elder, Communion Presbyterian Church (ARP), Irvine, CA)
    M.A. Science and Religion, Biola University
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  2. #2
    Have these children already been exposed to the Shorter Catechism?

    If it is their first exposure, and given their age, initial efforts at memorization with short discussions may be the best route.
    [Introduce each Q/A, have them repeat twice, discuss each answer, repeat twice, move on, then review all at the end of each class (repeating each once, ad seriatum).
    No clowns, but the Answer Duck drops down when little Jimmy repeats the answer perfectly]

    Recent publications that might be of foundational help:

    Meade, Starr, Training Hearts, Teaching Minds: Family Devotions Based on the Shorter Catechism (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2000), pb, 349pp.; 23 cm.

    Van Dyken, Donald, Rediscovering Catechism : The Art of Equipping Covenant Children (Phllipsburg, NJ : P&R Publishing, 2000), pb, 146pp.

    An older work that might not be so readily available:

    Horton, Joyce M., How to Teach the Catechism to Children (Jackson, MS : Reformed Theological Seminary, 1979), pb, 209pp. [Note : Edited transcription of a series first delivered before the women of First Presbyterian Church, Crystal Springs, MS.]

    Lastly, older classics that you might find on archive.org (Boyd's work looks esp. promising, judging from the title):

    Boyd, James R., The Child's Book on the Westminster Shorter Catechism. Forming an Easy Introduction and Help for Understanding that Work, and Committing it to Memory. New York: M.W. Dodd, 1855.

    M.T.S., Home Lessons on the Old Paths, or, Conversations on the Shorter Catechism. New York : Robert Carter and Brothers, 1879.

    Steel, Robert, The Shorter Catechism with Proofs, Analyses, and Illustrative Anecdotes, &c., for Teachers and Parents. London : T. Nelson and Sons, Paternoster Row, 1888.

    Willison, John, An Example of Plain Catechising upon the Assembly's Shorter Catechism: humbly offer'd As an Help for Instructing the Young and Ignorant in the Knowledge of the Principles and Duties of the Christian Religion, with the Grounds thereof and that in a very comprehensive Manner. With a Preface, Briefly demonstrating the Truth of the Christian Revelation and the Unreasonableness of Infidelity. Glasgow: Printed by David Niven, MDCCXC.
    Wayne Sparkman, Th.M., C.A.
    Director, PCA Historical Center, St. Louis, MO
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    "Remember, it is not hasty reading, but serious meditating upon holy and heavenly truths, that make them prove sweet and profitable to the soul...It is not he that reads most , but he that meditates most, that will prove the choicest, sweetest, wisest and strongest Christian." - Thomas Brooks (1608-1680) [HT: Hamalas]
    2 member(s) found this post helpful.

  3. #3
    There is a curriculum out there, based on the Westminster Shorter Catechism, that provides flannelgraphs and etc., I have been trying to remember the name of for years; if anyone out there has a clue, please post.

    Thank you.
    Last edited by Miss Marple; 03-09-2012 at 01:58 PM.
    M. Rothenbuhler
    1st OPC
    San Francisco, CA

  4. #4
    I highly recommend these -- Amazon.com: Caroline Weerstra: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle

    (Caroline is currently working on finishing the series.)
    Heidi
    Steger, IL

    'I cannot live like Jesus, example though he be
    For he was strong and selfless, and I am tied to me.
    But I have asked my Jesus to live his life in me . . .
    Behold his warm, his tangible, his dear humanity.'
    -Betty Stam
    1 member(s) found this post helpful.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Can I assume your friend's church is already settled on using the Shorter rather than the Children's (First) Catechism? Resources specifically made for kids that young will be harder to find for the Shorter. Depending on how much exposure these kids have already had to systematic doctrine, it might be wise to consider the Children's.

    It that case, you'd have GCP's widely used Kids' Quest curricula. It's made for kids of that age. I've used it and found it helpful... and I'm a tough sell. I rarely like any published curriculum.

    Even if your friend is dead set on the Shorter (and there can be good reasons to go with that, too), Kids' Quest might make a nice companion tool. A teacher can still add more richness from the Shorter. I always add stuff to any curriculum I use.

    Just mentioning this in the event Kids' Quest has not been considered. It deserves a look, at least.
    3 member(s) found this post helpful.

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The PuritanBoard exists to promote robust discussion of theology in a Confessionally Reformed context. The modern trend of short statements of faith belies the many places where the Scriptures teach with great clarity. Though our respective Reformed confessions sometimes disagree, we believe that Churches have been given the gifts of teachers and elders to lead to the unity of the faith and the result of that unity is a Confessional Church confessing together: "This is what the Scriptures teach." The Confessions are secondary to the authority of Scripture itself but they arise out of Scripture as a standard exposition of the Word of God.