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To Date or Not to Date?
Sometimes curriculum materials come predated. In my opinion, this isn’t the best approach. Dating curriculum prevents the material from being used repeatedly or on a day other than the one printed on the materials. If for some reason class is cancelled or postponed, the teacher may end up wasting the predated materials because he or she doesn’t want the students to see the wrong day on the items. Or the teacher may already have new items, and the materials for the previous week generally get thrown away. Believe it or not, even preschoolers and primary students notice the wrong date on materials and quickly point it out to the teacher.
In addition, dating curriculum eliminates a teacher’s flexibility. If the teacher wants to plan a special activity for his or her class, he or she is discouraged from doing so because the predated materials do not allow for postponing the lesson for another week. Also, the teacher cannot miss the lesson without getting behind on the curriculum’s agenda. Since when is the curriculum supposed to put condemnation and guilt on the teacher for wanting to bring something special to class? Or when is curriculum supposed to rule over the subject matters being taught in class? Or why should a class of students have to miss out on a special blessing because the curriculum isn't flexible encough to allow for special times and why should the teacher feel stressed out about asking the leadership if he or she can set the lesson aside for a special activity or guest speaker in class?
I know curriculum can be a great guide for teachers and the Holy Spirit can use it for His Glory. However, it is the Holy Spirit in the believer’s heart that is supposed to lead and guide us to all truth. If the Holy Spirit puts a special activity or lesson on the teacher’s heart, with permission from the church leaders, he or she should be allowed to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit without being bound by predated curriculum materials. Also, the dated materials and curriculum’s agenda can put stress on a teacher, not to mention throwing away unused materials the church purchased because they could not be used on a different day.
In addition, the teacher may get opportunities to do special activities in class. For example, a parent may want to bring their musical talent or a special craft project into their child’s class. Or perhaps the church has a special celebration, such as a baptismal, picnic or guest speaker, and wants to have the children participate in this activity. Therefore, the leadership will not have Sunday school one week, and the materials purchased for that day will still have the date on them.
Also, predated curriculum materials must be continually replaced with new materials. No one wants to use materials with dates from previous years on them. As a result, churches and other organizations that use predated curriculum materials have to keep spending more money on new materials. Consequently, companies that make curriculum keep their customers bound up on a conveyor belt of continually putting money out for new materials that will be used briefly and thrown away, if they are used at all.
Why not make Sunday school curriculums that can be used repeatedly and with flexibility? Which is better—to date or not to date?
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