Recently, I posted a review of David C. Cook’s Rio Curriculum based on some sample materials I received. After taking a look at the review, Sharron Jackson, a Rio Product developer, responded in the following email:
Thank you so much for taking a close look at Rio and for sharing your thoughts with us and with those who read your blog. I’ve spent some time on your Growing Kids Ministry site and am thrilled to hear how God is using you to further His Kingdom! I’m also excited to see that you’re thinking about using Rio’s early elementary curriculum for your group. It’s easy to see you’re tuned in to the needs of your kids, and you’re doing exactly what we hope to see all our Rio users do—you’re letting Rio work for you by making it fit your unique group. Blessings, my friend!
I’m encouraged to see that several facets of Rio fit well with where God is leading your ministry. Like you, we want kids to get increasingly into the Scriptures with Bible in hand and to begin hiding God’s Word in their heart through more meaningful memorization. We’ve also intentionally included activities that serve a purpose within the greater lesson experience as well as plenty of flexible opportunities for kids to get involved. So excited to hear your thoughts on these things as well!
Thanks also for your feedback on Rio’s scope and sequence. We’re deeply committed to full Bible coverage so have crafted Rio’s scope and sequence to show how all of Scripture, from Genesis through Revelation, is interwoven and points us to the redeeming work of Jesus Christ. You’ll find that even with accounts that you might consider familiar, Rio often includes more than just one Scripture passage, and frequently combines verses from the Old and New Testaments in order to help kids develop a fuller understanding of God’s grand story. So, for example, in preteen creation is unpacked with John 1 alongside Genesis 1.
Each Scripture account is also presented from a God-centered perspective. In the past, many Sunday school lessons focused more on the Bible character in the passage than what the passage showed about God. Sometimes David was the main character; other times it was Paul or Noah or Esther. In actuality, God is always the main character. So even when your children and leaders encounter a Scripture passage they are already familiar with, Rio challenges them to approach it with fresh eyes, asking the question, “What does this passage show me about God?”
Full Bible coverage in Rio also means each age level paints a deeper picture of understanding the character of God. Therefore, if you have not yet had a chance, I encourage you to take a close look at the scope and sequence for all three age levels. You’ll find a great variety of Scripture passages, some lesser known than others, throughout all three age levels. (Earlier today I was part of a preteen lesson brainstorm on the passage from Acts 8 about Peter and John’s encounter with Simon the sorcerer. Good stuff J )
Vocabulary cards are used from time to time when a passage contains particularly tough words. Keeping our end goal in mind—to disciple leaders and equip kids to access God’s Word for themselves—we have tried to provide tools and these word cards are just one. You know, as believers we throw around a lot of terms assuming everyone knows what we mean. This helps us get leaders and kids [and even parents] on the same page. I wouldn’t want you to miss some of the other methods Rio provides: simple conversation prompts, easy-to-no prep games, and discussion questions.
Most of all, Rio is designed to be spiritually forming—to help leaders and learners know God, not just know aboutHim. Personally, I really appreciate the fact that each lesson depends upon the Holy Spirit to be the primary teacher. By pausing throughout the lesson to give kids the opportunity to respond to what they’re hearing, Rio creates an environment that teaches kids to listen to what God is saying to them. Guided journaling pages are only one type of response activity included throughout Rio. Discussion prompts, artistic responses, purposeful games, and creative prayer times are among other opportunities designed to give kids space to begin to recognize and respond to God’s voice. Of course, response opportunities are age-appropriate. For example, those at the early elementary level usually give children the option to draw or express themselves in other non-writing mediums.
Thanks again for your thoughtful review of Rio. May God continue to bless you and your ministry, and may His Kingdom expand!
Sharron Jackson (on behalf of the Rio Team)
Rio Product Developer
Check out the original post here: Rio Curriculum Review
Check out what others are saying about the Rio Curriculum