At the beginning of this year, we started using the 252Basics curriculum. About 6 weeks into the curriculum, one of the costumer service representatives emailed and asked for my feedback on our experience. Here’s what I wrote:
Thanks for the email! I am happy to provide some feedback.
We have been able to implement the 252 Basics curriculum. Currently, we have 6 people on the team including myself. I serve as the worship leader, storyteller, and assistant, and everyone else is a small group leader.
I did connect with my Orange specialist at the beginning for a tour of the website. That was very helpful and exciting to see all the different components of the curriculum. I’ve also sent a few messages (I love the on-the-site message feature) about login troubles and questions about media.
Other thoughts: To be honest, I wasn’t really impressed with the curriculum during January. I thought it was a little too abstract for our kids (Proverbs are hard to grasp for children), and I didn’t think it was really grounded enough in Scripture. Some nights in Large group, we barely referenced the key verse. The stories seemed more like Aesop’s fables — not stories from the Bible. Since we get a pretty limited time with these kids, I want to make sure they are getting as much Scripture as possible.
We were using the Discipleland curriculum, which put a huge emphasis in kids using their Bibles during the lesson. They even built in sword drills and other things to get kids excited about finding verses. I really enjoyed that part of the curriculum and found the “getting into the Bible” aspect lacking in 252.
However, when I expressed these concerns to my team, only 1 of the 5 felt the same way. They said they were using the Bible during small group and felt that it was Bible-rich. I read through the small group parts and never really felt this way about it, but perhaps my team was adapting the material to focus more on Scripture? At any rate, the small group leaders LOVED the curriculum. They said it was it was easy to read, easy to prepare, easy to “grab and go” if they were having a crazy week. They really appreciated the age-based adaptations and thought the kids were really enjoying it.
We have a few older girls (age 11) in the group, and I was concerned they might find the whole program too young. Our kids club is ages 4-11, and we used to have a separate preteen class (ages 9-11), but I thought I’d try us all together since the small group section took up more than half the night. The girls must like it, because they have brought friends every single week since we’ve started!
Now that we’re into February, it does seem to focus more on Biblical stories, so I feel better about that. I’ve always said, when kids leave our Kids club program for the youth group, I want them to be able to pray with power and read the Bible in a meaningful way. I’m not convinced the 252 will accomplish this. I’m going to sit in with the small groups more this month and see if we’re really Bible/prayer focused and see.
Also, we are just starting seriously partnering with parents through the Milestones program (Shift) and Family celebrations. I read through January’s Parent Celebration/Service and didn’t really think it was what I was hoping for. I was hoping parents could join us, sing some songs, hear a lesson similiar to what the kids get each week, and then break up into small groups (2-3 families per group) and practice the skill they learned about in the lesson. I saw other curriculum that helped parents develop a faith plan for the year, or pick a monthly memory verse, or something along those lines. I want parents to walk away with a tool instead of something to add to the to-do list.
Well, I think that’s about it. Thanks for the email — hope it helps!
What About You?
Do you have any experience with 252? What are your thoughts?