**Please note this Package includes 1 Spiral Bound Book plus 1 DVD that contains all the same materials as the book. You can print out the Affirmation Artwork or the Full Page Story Art to send home with the children; or, use the DVD to email the lessons to different teachers.**
A Joyful Path- The Inner Wisdom Series
Spiritual Curriculum for Young Hearts and Minds
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 on 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, will be designed to provide:
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; and
Ceremonies to explore gratitude, engagement/being in the struggling, peace-making, and forgiveness.
Each lesson will provide a way of learning through the mind, body, emotion, and Spirit.
“Knowing that you love the earth changes you, activates you to defend and protect and celebrate. But when you feel that the Earth loves you in return, that feeling transforms the relationship from a one-way street into a sacred bond.” ~ Robin Wall Kimmerer, a Potawatomi Indian and botanist
Some of the Authors and Teachers we will draw upon in this curriculum:
Robin Wall Kimmerer
Rev. Dr. Matthew Fox
Bishop Jack Spong
Also, mystical teachings, sacred texts, and ancient mythology…
Year Three List of Lessons
Week 1 Thanksgiving Address — Story: Wambleeska And His Gratitude
Week 2 Autumn Nature Crafting And Ritual Preparation
Week 3 Autumn Ritual Celebration
Week 4 Praying With Creation — Story: Makai Prays With The Ocean
Week 5 Trees As Teachers And Family — Story: My Best Friend Is A Tree
Week 6 Protecting Earth And Right Relationship With Earth
Story: What Are We Going To Do With The Time Given To Us?
Week 7 Growing Food, Growing Community — Story: Growing Community
Week 8 Death Is A Part Of The Cycle Of Life — Story: Grandad Died
Week 9 Ancestors — Story: Makai Listens For Her Kupuna (Ancestors)
Week 10 Every Creature Is Full Of God — Story: Wolf And Sheep
Week 11 Every One Of Us Is A Mystic —Story: Am I A Mystic Too?
Week 12 Every One Of Us Is A Prophet — Story: I Have To Do Something!
Week 13 My Unique Gift — Story: I Am A Water Keeper! —
Week 14 Everyone Dreams — Story: I Dream Of A Better World
Week 15 Winter Nature Crafting And Ritual Preparation
Week 16 Winter Ritual Celebration
Week 17 Awe And Wonder — Story: I Am In Awe Of This Universe!
Week 18 Deep Time And Story Telling — Story: Lily Dreams Of Ancient Times
Week 19 Our Bodies As Home And Temple — Story: My Body Is My Temple
Week 20 Brave Love — Story: Hot Winds Cannot Touch You
Week 21 Rise Up — Story: Don’t Abandon Your Post
Week 22 Acts Of Kindness — Story: A Letter To Judy, Signed A Friendly Neighbor
Week 23 Belonging To The Land — Story: Wolf Woman And Belonging To The Land
Week 24 It’s Ok To Be Angry — Story: Sometimes My Light Is Fire!
Week 25 Black Lives Matter —Story: Black Lives Matter To Me So I March
Week 26 Grief Is A Part Of Living And Loving — Story: I Grieve Because I Love
Week 27 Spring Nature Crafting And Ritual Preparation
Week 28 Spring Ritual And Celebration
Week 29 Infinite Well Of Love Within — Story: Love Bubbling Up Within Me
Week 30 My Locations — Story: Hand-Me-Downs
Week 31 Honorable Harvest — Story: Hello Friend
Week 32 Say Yes To Adventure — Story: I’m In!
Week 33 Healing Self And Planet — Story: How Can We Heal?
Week 34 Going With The Flow — Story: No Lemon Pancakes?!
Week 35 Re-Wilding — Story: Into The Wild!
Week 36 Being A Blessing To Others — Story: Blessings In The Forest
Week 37 Summer Nature Crafting And Ritual Preparation
Week 38 Summer Ritual And Celebration