Daryl Dale with Spiritual Formation Ministries is a small, one-man publisher of his own childrenâ€™s ministry curriculum. He originally began publishing his own material out of a frustration that the materials he reviewed seemed to focus on fun, games, and slick glossy print, but were constructed in such a way that they did not adequately teach children the Bible. He also felt that they lacked an evaluative component to determine if the children were actually learning anything in the classroom.
Dale then began the process to determine what should be taught and in so doing he put together a board of people. After a time of prayer and thought they developed various spiritual disciplines.
They further developed the curriculum over a two-year period, adding Scripture Memory and Bible Knowledge. After some time, he realized the need to add another section dealing with character issues (i.e., Fruit of the Spirit, courtesy, respect, obedience, faithfulness, etc.). The finished product is a curriculum divided into three sections (spiritual knowledge, doctrine, and character). The various age groups would cycle through these three groups of teaching on a two-year basis. Spiritual Formation Ministries curriculum also suggests that teachers use flash cards to review what has already been taught in a given four-week section.
Dale admitted that the difficulty with his curriculum and approach to teaching was that for many children attendance was sporadic and required the cooperation of the parents. Dale also tests his kids in the classroom, and it has been his experience that children enjoy this portion of the curriculum. Sometimes rewards are given for high test scores; sometimes they are not. However, rewards are not given as incentive for learning.
When asked about how he determines success in childrenâ€™s ministry, he replied, â€œOne should look at the teaching staff and evaluate their passion. If they are into it, if they are committed to it, and really care then every thing goes well. But when they are just filling a role there is little success.â€ Dale also shared that one of his big frustrations as a Minister of Education in his church is that teachers did not spend enough time to make the lesson work. He would even make the visuals for them; and since they had no investment and were not familiar with them, they would go unused.
Daleâ€™s definition for a curriculum most closely matches another definition given for curriculum by Brummelen,Â “Curriculum is an organized set of documented, formal educational plans intended to attain preconceived goals. . . .Curriculum is a blueprint from which we build and then assess how well we have followed the plan. This view holds that curriculum planners must first decide goals or objectives. They use these to develop a series of precise prescriptions for teaching and learning.”
This definition closely matches Daleâ€™s philosophy of Christian education because he has written parts of the lesson into every section that shows the teacher how to use various examination techniques (games, flashcards, etc.) to evaluate their teaching. For the purpose of our discussion Daleâ€™s curriculum was chosen because it includes statistical data relating to the topics he has chosen to include in his curriculum.
Dale’s curriculum can be investigated by going to http://spiritualformatioministries.webbuilderexpress.com/index.html
 The information for this section was obtained through a personal interview with Daryl Dale on January 5, 2006.