Are you searching for a way to connect children with an authentic spiritual experience that is inclusive, creative and multi-layered?
A Joyful Path is truly progressive curriculum that is nature centered, joy-full, compassionate, and intelligent. This behavior over belief curriculum is non-dogmatic, inter-spiritual, and heart centered with an emphasis on the teachings of Jesus and how to follow them in today’s world.
A Joyful Path teaches children to:
* Ask questions and be curious
* Go within and find their own inner guidance and wisdom
* Stay focused and calm when needed and to discover and harness divine energy
* Be creative, share their gifts and continue learning about their passions
* To take action toward their own successes and happiness
* Find compassion for all beings, to be inclusive and tolerant, to find the divine in All
* Honor, protect, serve, and be in awe of Mother Nature
* To know the history and mythology of our world religions and spiritual paths
* To be heroes and heroines- to be brave, courageous, and to stand for peace and justice…
* And much more!
All versions include:
* The teacher’s handbook with Teacher Introductory Pages including Classroom Management Tips, Bringing Nature into the Curriculum, Using the Affirmations, and Using this Curriculum
* A Teacher Introduction
* A Teacher Reflection or Meditation
* Bible Verses
* Wisdom Quotations
* Fun and Creative Activities- Art, Crafts, Music, Movements, Meditations
* Spiritual Affirmations with a Full Page Affirmation Art
* An Original Story with Story Art
* Discussion Questions
* Plus 38 – Year One Lessons or 8 – Year Two Units (total of 38 lessons).
What is A Joyful Path About?
Spiritual Curriculum for Young Hearts and Minds
This behavior-over-belief curriculum connects children with their own inner wisdom. It teaches interdependence, self awareness, respect for nature, stillness, forgiveness, prayer, meditation, and integrity. Using the Bible and other wisdom stories, A Joyful Path helps children learn how to follow the path of Jesus, other teachers, and real life heroes in today’s world.
“The great need in the Christian church is for a Sunday school curriculum for children that does not equate faith with having a pre-modern mind. ProgressiveChristianity.org has produced just that. Teachers can now teach children in Sunday school without crossing their fingers. I endorse it wholeheartedly.” ~ John Shelby Spong, Author, Jesus for the Non-Religious
“One of the major challenges for Progressive Christians in the years to come is paying more attention to “equipping the saints.” The dictionary meaning for “equipping” is “to supply with intellectual, emotional, or spiritual essentials.” It is derived from an old French term which means “to put to sea, to embark.” ProgressiveChristianity.org has picked up this challenge and provided congregations and parents with two years of relevant and imaginative curriculums for the 21st century. They have taken the lead in reframing Sunday school teachings and made them into invaluable resources for “equipping the saints” as they head out on the sea of our culture. Whether you are a parent, a Sunday School teacher, a preacher, a spiritual seeker, or just someone who likes to look at ideas from a child’s point of view, this one’s for you.”
~ Mary Ann and Frederic Brussat, Spirituality and Practice
What is A Joyful Path Year One Like?
In A Joyful Path, Year One, we focus on behavior over belief. Focusing on the teachings of Jesus, Year One is all about supporting children to find their own inner wisdom and to connect to the Spirit and God Within All.
Topics Covered are:
God Within All
The Life of Jesus
What is A Joyful Path Year Two Like?
In A Joyful Path, Year Two, we focus on some of the main tenets of Progressive Christianity and Spirituality, giving our children the foundation they need to walk the path of Jesus in today’s world. It has stories and affirmations written to help children clarify their own personal beliefs while staying open to the wisdom of other traditions.
Year Two will be similar to Year One, in that it will have 38 lessons, full color original artwork, a contemplative and introductory section for the teacher in each lesson, 38 original stories, incredible heart warming, feeling based activities, and tips to bring music and nature into each lesson.
Year Two will have be slightly different from Year One, in that we are going to focus more directly on our eight points, breaking them down into 3-5 lessons per point.
Topics Covered are:
The Teachings Of Jesus
How We Treat Others
The Search for Understanding
Peace and Social Justice
The Integrity of the Earth
Life-Long Learning and Selfless Love
What is A Joyful Path Year Three Like?
This is the third and final year of A Joyful Path Children’s Curriculum. Year 3 is designed for ages nine through twelve. The Year 3 theme is All Life is Sacred. The 38 sessions explore how to deepen our spiritual connection with Earth, one another and our more-than-human relatives. Year 3 looks directly to Earth for the lessons She readily provides, namely the importance of relatedness, across and throughout the web of life. As Jesus reminded us through parables and metaphor, the continuing cycle of creation reminds us it is our nature to be loving, generous and united. When we recognize the spark of God in every life, there are no enemies: only new teachers.
In Year 3, we use original stories, exploration activities, discussion questions, guided visualizations, nature-crafting, rituals and celebrations, art, song, and movement to invite everyone (teachers and students) into encounters with the Divine in many forms. Just as in Years 1 and 2, the lessons in A Joyful Path Year 3 are heart-centered and experiential. Giving children experiences that are real, kinesthetic and tangible helps them to more fully understand concepts and make meaning that supports them in their own spiritual formation. With time and encouragement, young people come to embody and articulate their spiritual understanding in ways that hold great impact, individually and collectively. Whether or not they are able to apply the Year 3 lessons right away, experiential learning creates a solid foundation for a child’s lifelong spiritual journey.
The lessons are informed by Christian mysticism and Earth-centered spirituality. The lessons include interfaith and interspiritual perspectives. Year 3 is more about spiritual formation and transformation than religious education. It is inspired by the Eight Points of Progressive Christianity, Creation Spirituality, Interfaith and interspiritual wisdom, and centers Indigenous Earth Based Spirituality. We draw heavily upon Indigenous Wisdom, often referring back to Robin Wall Kimmerer’s teachings found in her book, Braiding Sweetgrass.
This unit was written between 2019-2021. Around the world, communities are facing major social and systemic change. Signs of societal and environmental collapse are evident. Within this reality, Year 3 attempts to ground, prepare and inspire the next generation by providing spiritual practices, self-awareness exercises and organizing tools so communities may rise up resiliently, modeling a healthy and whole way forward for all. Bishop John Shelby Spong has said, “Christianity must change or die.” We have been moved by that charge. A Joyful Path, Year 3 offers a Christianity that is radically inclusive, willing to foster connections and asks questions in pursuit of “the Oneness and Unity of all Life.” Our goal is that Year 3 meets the real needs of communities committed to life and love-affirming social transformation. The lessons aim to equip children and instructors with tools to become radically compassionate, brave lovers of the world, Earth and all creatures.
These 38 lessons, reflecting and drawing upon the 4 seasons:
Suggestions for personal and group reflection (the instructor, the students and the students in community with one another);
Resources to expand awareness to other cultures, religions and ways of knowing;
Practices to invite spiritual discovery, awareness and application;
Embodied activities for direct encounters and experience;
Brainstorms for further action and engagement with the community;
Rituals for celebrating the gifts Earth provides in each of the 4 seasons;
Ceremonies to explore gratitude, engagement/being in the struggling, peace-making, and forgiveness.
Using This Curriculum
This spiritual curriculum is intended for ages 6 to 10 (Years 1 & 2) and ages 9 to 12 (Year 3) but may be adapted for children slightly older or younger. The lessons are written for a classroom setting and are also appropriate for use at home.
A unique and important aspect of this curriculum is that the lessons are both heart-centered and experiential. Through stories and activities, children’s bodies and feelings are engaged as well as their minds. Giving children experiences that are real and meaningful helps them integrate and apply the ideals of the teachings of Jesus and other wisdom teachers, as well as real life heroes and heroines to their lives in the present. Experiential learning also helps to create a solid foundation for a child’s life-long spiritual journey.
*NOTE: We are happy if you blend your curriculum resources together — you don’t have to abandon your own denominational curriculum in order to enjoy A Joyful Path. We get emails from churches all the time about using more than one curriculum and how A Joyful Path blends well with almost any denominational curriculum out there.
A Joyful Path works great for Online Study and Summer Bible Camp!
Videos for Year One and Year Two (feel free share these)