Gather ’Round is a Bible-based curriculum nurturing children, youth, and their families in becoming followers of Jesus: people who know and love God, interpret God’s word, belong to God’s gathered community, and share God’s good news.
Gather Round strengthens church-home connections. All age groups study the same scripture texts each week. The Talkabout, produced each quarter for home use, helps families engage the weekly scripture texts throughout the week.
Gather ’Round is easy to use.Clear, step-by-step weekly lesson plans give busy teachers confidence. Every session includes a Bible story summary and insight, teaching tips, easy-view lists of supplies, and basic preparation suggestions. Every session element reinforces the faith focus for that session.
Gather ’Round emphasizes important biblical themes that are often absent in other Sunday school materials.Written from an Anabaptist perspective, Gather ’Round teaches all ages to embrace service and peacemaking. Gather ’Round lifts up the teachings of Jesus, and gives children and youth vocabulary to give voice to their understanding of God and faith. Gather ’Round understands faith formation as a process, and helps young people move from a faith of innocence toward an owned and accountable faith.
In addition to the points above, customers appreciate that all ages study the same Bible stories each week, offering opportunities for families and congregations to connect to the Bible themes more deeply. The Talkabout is another resource that helps congregations reach out to families and connect church and home. Creative suggestions help parents and children enjoy talking about Bible stories and applying them to their everyday lives.
Gather ’Round is a joint project of the Church of the Brethren, Mennonite Church USA, and Mennonite Church Canada. It is published by MennoMedia and Brethren Press. Members of the development team live and work in various locations throughout the United States and Canada.
Gather ’Round has a broad appeal. In addition to Mennonites and Brethren, current users include Presbyterians, Baptists, the United Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ, the United Church Canada, Mennonite Brethren, and others. Many have selected Gather ’Round after extensive review of other curricula.
There are six age levels: Preschool (ages 3-4), Primary (kindergarten through grade 2), Middler (grades 3-5), Multiage (grades K-5), Junior Youth (grades 6-8), and Youth (grades 9-12).
Each quarter, Gather ’Round offers teacher’s guides, student books, resource packs, and a Talkabout. Teacher’s guides include step-by-step guidance and flexible ideas to make teaching easy. Student books help each age group relate to the Bible story in a way they understand and enjoy. They are used in class all quarter and then may be taken home at the end of the quarter. Resource packs include colorful story pictures, posters, games, cut-aparts, and other learning aids. The Talkabout has content connected to each week’s session and is designed to be used by families at home.
The youth material is written for leaders, with reproducible student sheets for selected sessions. Gather ’Round is published new each quarter, and is available about three months prior to the date of usage. All materials are designed specifically for the quarter of usage.
Yes. Because all age levels are written on the same text and theme, Gather ’Round is very flexible. Since readiness varies greatly from child to child and group to group, teachers may feel free to group children as appropriate, and purchase the material that is best for them. For instance, Gather ’Round suggests using the Primary materials for children from kindergarten through grade two, but you might decide to separate your Primary children into two groups and have the younger group (especially non-readers) use Preschool material. In any given quarter you may purchase whatever fits your children best.
We recommend that you purchase one student book per regular attendee, plus a couple of extras so that guests feel welcome. You may also order more of any materials throughout the quarter of usage.
The Multiage unit is designed for congregations that have a small number of children of varying ages. The sessions suit a range of ages, from kindergarten through grade five. Multiage students may use either the Primary or the Middler student book, depending on their age. The Multiage teacher’s guide coordinates with both student books.
No. Having fresh content every year is an investment in our children and in our Christian education program. Gather ’Round is written new every quarter, with the Bible texts and themes rotating in a four-year cycle so teacher’s guides and resource packs are not needed again after the quarter of use. You may choose to save some of the contents of the resource packs, if space allows, but you should also feel free to recycle the paper or give the posters to children and others who would enjoy taking them home.
The New Revised Standard Version of the Bible was selected for use in Gather ’Round because it is a translation used by many congregations and schools. It was produced by scholars who sought to translate the words from the original texts as literally as possible. When scripture is quoted in the curriculum, Gather ’Round uses the language of the NRSV. Younger children generally hear a paraphrased version of the story. Junior youth and youth usually read from their own Bibles, which can be a translation of their choosing.
No. Gather ’Round places the highest priority on using the same scripture texts for all age groups each week. In order to maximize the number of texts, we use a four-year rather than a three-year outline. This precludes the use of the lectionary, which is on a three-year cycle. However, Gather ’Round scripture texts are chosen with the church season in mind, so that, for example, Advent and Lenten themes are emphasized on appropriate Sundays.
Mennonite and Brethren congregations may order directly from their denominational publishing houses, Mennonite Publishing Network and Brethren Press. Materials can also be ordered online at www.gatherround.org.
The youth material is provided as a download or as a CD. Go to the Gather ’Round store, at www.gatherroundstore.org, and click on the button for youth. Once you have paid for the youth download with a credit card, you will receive an e-mail with your username and password. Follow the link in the e-mail to open the material, download it, and save it. You may download either the individual sessions or the entire quarter; you do not need to download both.
When you click the link to the youth download, your browser will take you to a new page. Enter your username and password. You will then be admitted to the page and will see the files for the quarter. Find the file you want and click on it. You will be prompted to either save or to open the PDF file. Make sure you save the file(s) to your hard drive or to another place on your computer.
FAQs for the youth leader resource are available after logging on to the download page.