When it comes to 252 Kids and Preteen curriculum, we tend to get the same several questions.
- What’s your starting point?
- Where do themes fit in?
- What’s the goal?
- Why virtues?
We love questions like these. They help us evaluate why and how we do what we do. We also feel that anytime our partners can get a peek behind the scenes at our process, it’s a great way to get to know us and our heart behind the curriculum.
Our starting point: Jesus.
This might sound like the typical Sunday school answer, but it’s true.
Our starting point is Jesus.
Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.
How Jesus learned as a kid, and what He taught as the Son of God.
Everything we teach in 252 Kids curriculum is filtered through the lens of the resurrection. We believe that while the writers of the Bible were each inspired at different points throughout history, their collective voices point toward an overarching narrative of God’s love for creation, exemplified through the life of Jesus. So when we teach stories that were originally part of the Jewish Scriptures, we make sure to connect them to Jesus.
Our goal: transformation.
We hope that whatever information we cover becomes a catalyst for growth and transformation. And we know that reaching the next generation is always a long game. Our hope that kids who experience 252 Kids curriculum grow to become adults with an everyday faith in Jesus that transforms the way they love God, themselves, and the rest of the world.
Of course, the way we engage kids in the process of transformation isn’t always easy. 252 Kids currently partners with over 8,000 churches from over 80 denominations. That combines to reach about 300,000 kids!
Not everything we say may align exactly with your church’s unique theological perspective. But we do hope that we can stack hands on some essentials that lead kids to a growing faith in Jesus. And we’ve made our resources editable so you can tailor the messages as needed for the kids in your ministry.
So . . . how do virtues fit in 252 Kids?
We’re glad you asked!
First of all, let’s talk about the word “virtues.” For the 2022-23 curriculum year, we’ve made the change from “Life App” back to “virtue.” Mostly this was for the sake of clarity. As we talked with over 2,000 parents inside and outside of the church, the term “Life App” wasn’t immediately easy to understand. The word sometimes got in the way of helping families understand how they can implement Orange materials in their home.
On the other hand, “virtue” is a word everyone understands. And every parent wants their children to grow in areas like honesty, courage, and kindness. This approach gives families an immediate point of entry in the 252 Kids curriculum. Especially for those who are unfamiliar with the church or faith in Jesus.
How are virtues used in the Bible?
The concept of virtues is seen throughout Scripture.
Matthew 5-7 captures the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus cast vision for what it means for people to follow Him and be part of the Kingdom of God. Jesus clearly prioritized the importance of practicing our faith beyond just knowing about our faith.
In Luke 2:52, we see how Jesus grew throughout the early part of His life. Jesus grew in wisdom. He connected with friends and others around Him. And, as a human, Jesus grew in His relationship with God. Jesus grew up learning the Jewish Scriptures and learning how to put His love for God and love for others into practice.
Jesus wanted His followers to be known for their love. Through the Greatest Commandment in Matthew 22:37-39 and the new commandment in John 13:34, Jesus emphasized how important it is that we love one another. Virtues give kids a clear and direct application of how to love God and love others in their everyday lives.
Paul continued this idea as he talked about the transforming work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those who follow Jesus.
In Romans 12, Paul described how we can put love into action as a result of the transforming work of the Holy Spirit. By showing virtues like honesty, love, hope, joy, patience, faithfulness, peace, and goodness.
In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul explained how love is expressed through virtues (patience, kindness, humility, honor, joy, and forgiveness).
In Galatians 5:6b, Paul made a bold, direct statement.
“The only thing that really counts is faith that shows itself through love.”
Our faith in God is expressed through the way we live our lives each day.
And, of course, Paul also described the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. People can see that we follow Jesus by the “fruit” that is evident in our lives (i.e. virtues like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control).
Virtues are strategically ordered in 252 Kids curriculum to connect with a kid’s experiences.
Ultimately, we want kids not just to know about Jesus. We want them to practice their faith in Jesus.
At their phase of life, elementary-age kids need help connecting the dots. They need to see how the things they’re learning about God in church will relate to their everyday lives. We organize our scope and cycle by virtues because this allows kids to see how they can apply the stories and truths from the Bible to their practical life experiences.
That’s why we order the virtues throughout the year on purpose. We want each virtue to connect to what a kid might experience at a given point during the year. For example, we might talk about friendship at the beginning of the school year, as kids are starting new classes with a new group of friends. Or we might talk about resilience in May, when kids really want school to be over and for summer to start. We plan our teaching content strategically to help kids connect God’s unchanging truth to their everyday world—and so they can clearly understand how to live out their faith each day.
Finally, let’s talk about monthly themes.
We choose our themes in 252 Kids as the final step in the scope and cycle planning process. When we consider these themes, we take a look at everything we’re teaching—from the Bible stories to the virtues, to where each monthly series falls in the course of the year.
We consider current youth culture to see what’s connecting with kids now. That’s why we work using themes to leverage what kids already enjoy to help them feel like church is a place where they belong.
Our themes are strategically important, because they give us a way to bring the context of the Bible into the everyday world of kids. They give them the “hooks” they need to stay engaged. The goal is to get them to enjoy their time at church and want to return week after week. Themes are an important part of that strategy.
We hope this helps to answer some of your questions about our 252 Kids curriculum. But if you still need some help, feel free to reach out to your Orange Specialist. Not sure who that is? Check out FindMyOS.com. Our team is standing by to help you make the most of the Orange strategy and 252 Kids curriculum.