‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ Goes Interactive

At the urging of parents and Sunday School teachers, Great Commission Publications released in April an interactive Sunday School curriculum that corresponds with its “Pilgrim’s Progress” for kids adaption.

A 13-week course designed for elementary school-age kids, the curriculum includes a dramatic audio recording of the book, a CD of “Songs for the Journey,” a musical drama, games, challenges and takeaway activity sheets to capture a child’s interest and imagination.

“The book was intended to whet the appetites of children to read the original. The curriculum intends to draw out the principles in the book,” explains production manager Donnajo Williams.

When they learned they were taking the story of “Pilgrim’s Progress” into a curriculum format, the GCP creative team pulled out all the stops to include tools for all learning styles. The dramatic reading was put together using voices of real actors for the narrator and all characters in the story. The musical CD includes seven songs — with titles such as “Those Burden Blues,” “Vanity Fair,” and “I Want Jesus to Walk with Me” — that are meant to help children remember key lessons.

“Kids play the music continually, and it sticks with them,” says B.A. Snider, Christian Education and Publications children’s ministry assistant.

“When you’re teaching children, you have to take into account all of the different elements that go into learning. Children need to touch a book, listen to an audio recording of the reading, take home activity pages that will help them work through their own understanding, listen to songs that will imprint onto their minds and hearts the overall thesis of the entire book. If you leave off any of those components, you remove a significant part of how children learn,” says director of publications Mark Lowrey.

A teacher’s manual makes each lesson accessible to master teachers as well as to beginning teachers. The curriculum is also designed to be easily adapted to a Vacation Bible School setting, or even in tandem with an adult study of the book.

Ultimately, the curriculum is aimed to help answer the fundamental questions kids are asking and to equip them to interact with a world that’s often dishonest.

“A lot of things the children will read and study combat the false ideas in our culture today. Christian children will be encouraged when they hit struggles … that this is a part of the Christian life and Christ is with them every minute, providing for and protecting them,” explains Williams. “Many fourth-sixth graders are asking the question ‘Am I really a Christian?’ It’s very easy for a child to step into the shoes of Christian, Faithful, or Hopeful, and realize, ‘This is me. This is who I am.’”

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