Deep Blue - Curriculum Reviewed Winter 2018

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This curriculum review is part of the Children's Ministry Toolkit - a collection of resources for building strong and vibrant children's ministry, brought to you by Faith Formation Ministries.

Deep Blue is a K-5 curriculum. It is available in a variety of formats: age-graded, rotation model, and a one room Sunday school approach. Bible stories are presented in cartoon videos featuring the animated children whose images appear in the Deep Blue Kids Bible. Resources for leaders, children, and families are available as digital downloads. The curriculum includes access to music videos as well as a free Deep Blue app for children and parents.

Review

Deep Blue comes with an award-winning Bible, is intentional about connecting church and home, and can be used in a variety of church contexts. However the shallow content outweighs the positives in this curriculum.

Theology

Deep Blue is published by Cokesbury and reflects a United Methodist interpretation of Scripture. The popular Deep Blue Kids Bible is written using the Common English Bible translation.

The goals of the Deep Blue curriculum are that kids will

  • Be with God
  • Love God and neighbor
  • Understand themselves as children of God
  • Explore faith and the Bible

The above curriculum goals are what shape the theological approach of Deep Blue. What’s missing in the stories is a focus on God at work in the story and in our lives today. Also missing in the follow up to the stories are opportunities for kids to wonder and to reflect deeply on God’s story and their place in it. For example, in the session on David’s escape from Saul, the focus of the story conversation and follow-up activities center on how to be a good and loyal friend. God is never even mentioned.

This shallow approach to God’s story is echoed in the Deep Blue videos in which Bible stories are introduced via weak segues in conversations with the animated kids and then presented through flat cartoons. What’s lost in the telling is the richness of the story and the understanding that biblical characters were real people. 

Scope and Sequence

Deep Blue’s scope and sequence is problematic because it is driven by the goal to have all ages on the same stories at the same time, rather than the goal of providing children with a broad span of both Old and New Testament stories while also hearing stories with major themes—creation, fall, redemption, restoration—more than once and with greater complexity as they age their way through the curriculum. For example, in the Deep Blue 2015-2018 schedule the creation story and the story of the fall appear only one time.

Culturally Relevant and Fun

Deep Blue’s apps have a game-like feel that children will enjoy. The videos include quizzes that will appeal to learners.

Diversity

Deep Blue is intentional about representing diversity in the children’s characters that appear throughout the curriculum and in the Deep Blue Kids’ Bible.

Faith Nurture at Home

Although the Deep Blue app is a helpful way to let families know what the children learned at church, it features the same weak video Bible story presentations that children get during the session. Therefore, what is being reinforced at home is the same shallow theology that was experienced at church.

Have questions? Our Children's Ministry Catalyzer would love to talk with you about faith formation in children at your church. Email [email protected]

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