Curriculum Ideas & Other SpNeeds Kidmin Resources
In the last post I offered an explanation as to why there is a narrow selection of special needs targeted children’s ministry curriculum. Below are a handful of ideas using typical curriculum and other special needs focused resources that may help a church looking for material suitable for their special needs participants. What I show below is obviously not an exhaustive list of curriculum that works in SN environments…this is just what I’ve personally seen (and no, I don’t receive payment from these folks). For products helpful in the special needs environment, see the post Products for the Special Needs Environment. **Please post your ideas and positive curriculum experiences in the comments of this post! ** The blog’s readers will thank you!
Who Benefits: Self-contained special needs church environments catering to children with moderate to severe profound disabilities.
Description: Group’s “Worship-n-Play” provides a toolkit for teaching a basic and relatable Bible story and concept to the earliest learners. The curriculum includes a bright and colorful tri-fold illustration for each of the 10 lessons, a simple and short storyline for the teacher to read, a CD with a Bible verse based song, and an accompanying video to offer complimenting visual images to the song tracks. The material also offers ideas for simple body movements and action prayers for teaching the children. The music on the CD and DVD is fun, repetitive and lesson reinforcing (my typical 5 yr old son loves the music and videos!).
This curriculum’s toolkit requires little advance teacher preparation and minimal enhancement other than adding some physical objects (such as blocks, balls, or stuffed toys that are usually in the inventory of a childcare environment). The material is designed to be repeated, teaching the same concept and story over the course of one month. Many special education professionals and experienced ministry servants share that repetitive teaching is ideal in special needs settings. The two versions of Play-n-Worship are very similar and could certainly be used in the same environment if a church wanted access to 20, rather than 10 lesson plans.
The music in the ” Toddlers & Twos” features children singing the songs and the videos show babies, small children and stationary items such as food that visually engage individuals on the most basic cognitive level. The “Preschoolers” version of Play-N-Worship features slightly more contemporary illustrations and praise oriented music with an adult singer leading vocals. The “Preschoolers” video shows older preschoolers often demonstrating simple hand moves to accompany the music. The suggested activities in the “Preschoolers” version sometimes include simple crafts utilizing slightly more advanced fine motor skills than would be suggested in the “Toddlers & Twos” kit.
Who Benefits: Youth and adults with intellectual disabilities.
Description: Friendship ministries curriculum is designed to communicate with both teens and adults and does a good job of connecting with many ability levels participating in a special needs program. The leader/mentor guides include step-by-step instructions, creative ideas for activities, music, and suggestions for planning each lesson. Take-home papers are bright and colorful and are available for youth and adult. Friendship Ministries offers curriculum focused on teaching Bible stories as well as materials for teaching broader Biblical concepts through life studies.
Who Benefits: Special needs ministry leaders may appreciate the special needs classroom ideas as well as practical suggestions for lesson adaptations and enhancements.
Description: While this book does not provide lesson plans or curriculum, it does contain a handful of reproducible activity pages as well as suggestions for ways to modify existing curriculum. Many articles do offer insight from experienced workers with children with special needs. Templates for visual cue cards as well as program forms and general guidance on special needs related policies & procedures are offered throughout the book.
A review of Lifeway’s Special Buddies Curriculum can be found here.
For more resources useful in the special needs environment, see Products for the Special Needs Environment.
– Amy Fenton Lee