We have just finished up the Tapestry of Faith program Toolbox of Faith, with 3rd-4th graders. This was our second time using this program, and we will most likely use it again. This program uses the metaphor of a “Tool of the Day” to talk about some quality of our UU Faith. For instance, a hardhat symbolizes resiliency, a hammer symbolizes power, etc.
A quick run-down of the pros and cons of this curriculum:
1. Active, boy-friendly content and so often boys seem left-out of Sunday School curricula and culture
2. Engaging hands-on activities that the kids liked
3. At times, the subject matter really did provoke some great discussions and deep thinking in this age group
1. The program, like all Tapestry of Faith programs, has too much content in each lesson plan. They are just too long to hand them to teachers that way. Even with editing down, the teachers still remarked that there was more material than they felt like they could get through, which left them feeling rushed and unable to just lean-in to each activity.
2. This program is very supplies-intensive. Every Saturday I was scrounging my garage for tools and prepping huge boxes of stuff to bring in to church. It’s not that it’s expensive – most of this stuff was household stuff I owned and was able to lend to church for the day – but it was a lot of work to gather it all up every week.
3. Several times we felt like the kids didn’t get the “point” of what the tool was supposed to symbolize. Of course, that isn’t just up to the curriculum … but I think at times it is a bit of a stretch for the kids to catch the symbolic meaning when they are in the concrete-thinker stage of development.
For us, the Pros definitely outweigh the Cons for this fun, active, engaging curriculum, and we’ll do it again in a couple years!