Our church just switched from a smaller kids’ memory program to one of the most popular Christian kids’ program in the world. I was excited in general having found AWANA’s system highly motivating myself as a girl, and now, as a mom, I need all the help I can get!
Things have changed quite a lot over the years: renaming programs, desegregating the girls and boys, and adding way more color. I’m especially thrilled with the addition of a CD included with all the younger kids’ books (and available separately for older students). This has made my part helping the non/early readers as simple as checking that they have listened and helping them pick a missionary to write about. Way easier than in decades past!
But, I won’t bother telling you all this here if it wasn’t for another aspect of the program I noticed they are emphasizing more than my memory recalls: focusing on God as Creator.
Naturally, the first verses kids study teach why we need Jesus as our Savior. They learn about sin, how important the Bible is, and how Jesus died to give us a way to find heaven. But next they follow the same plan as many wise missionaries, starting at the beginning.
My youngest son got up to his section on creation first, and I was surprisingly impressed. There are many churches willing to cover that God made everything, but go soft on when and how. AWANA doesn’t.
They teach the six days of creation as matter-of-fact realities. Awesome. Then they cover Noah, his boat, and the animals. All presented just as confidently as Abraham and Moses. They even have a good drawing of the ark showing how tiny a real person would be up against it.
In fact, the only beef I had with them is they didn’t include pterosaurs and dinos in their drawings or poem about the beginning of history. But, that’s not going to make me dislike them! It’s rare to find anyone outside of active creationists who do remember.
The older kids’ books spend a lot more time covering Why Did God Give Us the Bible? and Who is God? So they don’t get up to Noah in book 1 (I haven’t seen the other three books). But they sure covered Creation Week well.
First, the kids do a Bible study of Genesis 1, then they design and bring in their own poster showing the various things God makes on each day. Plenty of opportunity for well educated kids to add lots of extinct creatures! 😀
All this adds up to a program I’m thrilled to have my kids in and know so many others are learning from as well. I haven’t seen the materials AWANA uses with kids around the world, but it is exciting to know just how many are being impacted by a group willing to stand so firm for the Bible and God our Creator!
BTW I haven’t had an opportunity to experience their program personally, but I know Kids 4 Truth is another group who stand unashamed for God’s Word and his power as Creator.