|Background and Key Themes||Connection to Gather ’Round||For Further Exploration|
|Karen Marie Yust||Karen Marie Yust is a pastor and professor of Christian education. She emphasizes that children’s faith formation is about nurturing a relationship with God in church and at home. This relationship is furthered as children are encouraged to know God, know about God, and learn to reflect and critique the world in which they live.||Yust is a behind-the-scenes consultant for the Gather ’Round curriculum. She has encouraged and strengthened our emphasis on the home-church connection and on providing additional support for teachers. Busy teachers find teacher training embedded in each session plan. Throughout each session we teach children the language and practices of our faith. The in-home tabletop resource reinforces classroom learning.||Yust. Real Kids, Real Faith: Practices for Nurturing Children’s Spiritual Lives. Jossey-Bass, 2004.|
Barbara A. Bruce
|Gardner is the original thinker behind multiple intelligences theory, the idea that all human beings are gifted with a variety of intelligences extending beyond the linguistic-verbal and logical-mathematical talents we have traditionally encouraged in schools and on IQ tests. Other intelligences include the spatial-visual, interpersonal, musical-rhythmic, naturalist, bodily-kinesthetic, intrapersonal, and existential intelligences.
Barbara Bruce has applied multiple intelligence theory to faith formation strategies.
|Multiple intelligences theory is incorporated into all aspects of Gather 'Round sessions. We offer a variety of experiences, such as singing, moving, drama, small group activities, time for reflection and wondering, research, word games, hand-crafts, reading, and writing activities. These different types of activities allow participants the opportunity to exercise their preferred intelligences as well as to practice others. They offer opportunities for children to learn to know God in a variety of ways.||Gardner. Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. BasicBooks, 1983; 1993.
_____. Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligences for the 21st Century. BasicBooks, 1999.
Bruce. 7 Ways of Teaching the Bible to Children . Abingdon Press, 1996.
_____. 7 Ways of Teaching the Bible to Adults: Using Our Multiple Intelligences to Build Faith. Abingdon Press, 2000.
|Jerome W. Berryman||Based on Montessori methods of teaching, Godly Play encourages children to seek and find answers to their questions of faith through wonder, art, and engagement with the Bible story.||We tell the Bible story with reverence and simple props. We include a wondering time after the story. By allowing children to respond to the story in their own reflective way, teachers encourage the development of each child's unique relationship with God.||Berryman. Godly Play: An Imaginative Approach to Religious Education. HarperSanFrancisco, 1991.
_____. Godly Play: How to Lead Godly Play Lessons (The Complete Guide to Godly Play Series). Living the Good News, 2002.
|Youth and Family Institute||The Youth and Family Institute in Bloomington, Minn., is an independent Lutheran, not-for-profit corporation, which founded The Child in our Hands Initiative. This program emphasizes that the home is the primary place to teach and nurture faith. Congregations must work in partnership with the home to promote effective faith formation.||In this curriculum, all age groups study the same Bible story each week, helping families and congregations work together to reinforce and apply Bible lessons. The curriculum includes a Parent/Caregiver unit suitable for class or individual use, in which adults can reflect on the same scriptures as their children and explore ways to be part of their children's faith formation. The in-home tabletop resource offers additional suggestions for home application of weekly themes.||Youth and Family Institute. The Child in our Hands handbook and other print and video resources.
Available from Youth and Family Institute, Phone: 877-239-2492.
|Thomas H. Groome||Groome's methodology is known as shared Christian praxis. It has five main components: present action, critical reflection, dialogue, the story, and the vision that arises from the story. This process leads participants from reflecting on their own lived experience to engaging in community study and dialogue of scripture and tradition to responding to reflection with a vision for future action.||The Gather 'Round session outline incorporates Groome's process for shared Christian praxis. In the Hearing and Sharing time, children worship in community, hear God's story and vision for living, take time to reflect, connect it to their lives, and have opportunity to respond in appropriate individual and corporate ways. Parent/Caregiver daily devotional readings and the in-home tabletop resource provide further opportunities for reflection and action during the week.||Groome. Christian Religious Education: Sharing Our Story and Vision. Jossey-Bass, 1980; 1999.
_____. Sharing Faith: A Comprehensive Approach to Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry: The Way of Shared Praxis. HarperSanFrancisco, 1991.
|Sara Wenger Shenk||Shenk is a Mennonite pastor and scholar who argues that education should be grounded in tradition and practice. Principles need to be embodied within the community; particular religious communities should respect and promote their unique heritages, practices, and rituals.||Gather 'Round is produced by Brethren Press and Mennonite Publishing Network. Writers are active members of Mennonite Church USA, Mennonite Church Canada, and Church of the Brethren congregations. The curriculum is grounded in Mennonite and Brethren understandings of scripture and of the centrality of Jesus in our lives.||Shenk. Anabaptist Ways of Knowing: A Conversation about Tradition-Based Critical Education. Cascadia Publishing House and Herald Press, 2003.|
|John H. Westerhoff III||Westerhoff outlines a model of faith formation that he calls enculturation. Faith is not a series of facts we learn, but a developmental process in which we engage as part of a faith community.||Gather 'Round recognizes that families and congregations play key roles in children's faith formation. The Parent/Caregiver curriculum allows adults to study the same scriptures children learn each week. A Multiage unit, designed for small churches, allows for shared experience of the sessions across age groups. Response options encourage learners to participate in the life of the congregation by responding to story themes.||Westerhoff. Will our Children Have Faith? Seabury Press, 1976; Morehouse Publishing and Anglican Book Centre, 2000.|
|Maria Harris||Harris claims that the congregation is the curriculum. The curriculum of the congregation includes community, worship, teaching, proclamation, and service.||Gather 'Round deals with four areas of church life: community, worship, education, and mission. The curriculum builds community in the Gather 'round time; a worship center draws children together for prayer and hearing the Bible story. The Bible story is proclaimed and central to the session, as is sharing faith inside and outside the classroom. Service and mission are encouraged in Connect to the story and Responding.||Harris. Fashion Me a People: Curriculum in the Church. Westminster/ John Knox Press, 1989.|
|James W. Fowler||Fowler's theory of stages of faith development is based on the work of theorists Erik Erikson, Lawrence Kohlberg, and Jean Piaget. The stages of faith are: 1) Primal (infancy); 2) Intuitive-Projective (early childhood); 3) Mythic-Literal (elementary age through early adolescence); 4) Synthetic-Conventional (mid-adolescence); 5) Individuative-Reflective (young adults); 6) Conjunctive (midlife or beyond); 7) Universalizing. Fowler now believes these stages are less rigidly chronological.||The Gather 'Round curriculum provides different age group units to accommodate varied learning needs based on maturation. At the same time, teacher tips help leaders adjust the curriculum material to fit the needs of their particular group of learners. The Multiage unit, designed for children from kindergarten to grade six, focuses on activities in which younger and older children can each be given roles suitable for their ages, abilities, and level of faith awareness.||Fowler. Stages of Faith: The Psychology of Human Development. HarperSanFrancisco, 1995.
_____. Becoming Adult, Becoming Christian: Adult Development and Christian Faith. Harper & Row, 1984; Jossey-Bass, 1999.