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It's almost August--which means September is just around the corner! If you're the Sunday school coordinator, get a jump start on next season with this basic planning checklist:

___ Set the Schedule
Think about holidays, vacations, and the church calendar for other ministries. Connect with the pastor and other leaders to figure out whether there are already scheduling expectations. If possible, link the Sunday school kickoff date to another event that might draw in members of the community—like starting Sunday school the week after VBS or the annual community BBQ. Plan a date to get together with teachers to encourage and equip them for the year ahead.

___Select Curriculum
If your church is already using a solid, biblical curriculum that’s kid-friendly, STICK WITH IT! Curriculum is designed to move kids through a sequence of Bible stories, doctrine lessons, and faith building experiences that builds in scope over time, laying a strong foundation for faith growth.

If it is time for a change, gather a team together to evaluate your options. Include people who can offer a theological critique (a pastor or elder, perhaps), educational expertise (a teacher), and a parent’s point of view. It's also helpful if your team is diverse in gender, ability, ethnicity, and family structure.

Order samples of the material that you think will best reflect the Reformed faith tradition and fit the size and makeup of your church. Use an evaluation tool to help you identify important elements and compare the options. Enjoy deciding together what’s most important in the material you use to help kids grow in faith.

When you’re confident in the curriculum, spend a little time really getting to know it. How is it organized? What components are necessary? What supplies are used on a regular basis? What will it take to make this happen?

___ Count People and Places
Determine how many kids are in your program, how many volunteers you’ll need, and what the room assignments will be. Will you need extra tables and chairs? Will the rooms need to be rearranged to make them kid-friendly spaces?

___ Revise Policies and Forms
Your church probably has a handbook that includes child safety policies and the process for screening and selecting volunteers. Take the time to make sure it’s up to date by visiting the Safe Church Network page and reading the articles posted under "Child Safety." You'll find helpful resources like the recommended screening steps checklist for volunteers.
If you don’t already have one, develop a standard discipline policy that outlines your church’s approach and includes rules and acceptable consequences for addressing misbehavior. Your teachers will thank you! 

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