Welcome to the Sunday School plan developed for Emmanuel Community Church in Calgary Canada. Emmanuel is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. Lutheran tradition provides strong foundational principles for teaching children:
Scripture: Luther taught that each Christian finds their relationship to God through Scripture, unmediated by any priest or special theological training. Foremost, before all else, our Sunday School tells the stories of Holy Scripture, simply, as they appear in the Bible. We do not try to force any interpretation into the stories.
Inclusion: Adults, children, teens: all of us who are baptized are equally part of the Body, equally members of “the priesthood of all believers.” The scripture story the children hear comes from the week's Revised Common Lectionary, the same lessons that the adults hear. After church, parents and their children can share their responses to the same readings.
Worship: Luther gave the church hymns in everyday language to popular tunes, so that God's people could respond from their hearts. Children respond in the same way as adults: through the arts, including music – often the same contemporary worship music being sung by their parents and grandparents.
Our Sunday School programme implements these principles by applying Montessori education techniques, informed by the work of Montessori religious educators Sophia Cavaletti (The Religious Potential of the Child; The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd) Jerome Berryman (“Godly Play”, Young Children and Worship) and Sonja Stewart (Young Children and Worship, Following Jesus: More About Young Children and Worship.) We tell the story of Scripture using vivid, beautiful materials that children can touch and see; and then use iconic bookmarkes to directly connect the materials and the stories back to the Bible whence they come. Children choose to use the story materials or high-quality art supplies to work out their own response to the Scripture. Worship songs help the children transition smoothly between the Story Room and the sanctuary.