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Posted February 10, 2006

If the EdComm decides to go forward with a change to WoRM at our meeting on Monday evening, I was thinking of this as an article in our newsletter to introduce the congregation to the concept:

We Have a Dream . . . for Sunday School

We dream of a Sunday school where . . .
. . . Children are excited to attend each week.
. . . Classrooms are kid-friendly, bright, inviting places.
. . . Teachers are excited about their lessons.
. . . Children learn Bible stories that they don't forget the minute they leave the building.
. . . Supplies are organized and available when and where they are needed.
. . . Intergenerational interaction is the norm.
. . . Teachers are happy, if not eager, to be asked to teach Sunday school.
. . . Expensive curriculum, which, to a great extent, now goes unused, is a thing of the past.
. . . Art projects are more than just 5-minute crafts that get tossed that very afternoon.
. . . Children don't sit still and don't always have to be quiet.
. . . A large percentage of the congregation is involved in one way or another.
. . . Boredom is a thing of the past.
. . . Entire families are reached by the stories and lessons that the children learn.
. . . Unchurched children are invited, feel comfortable, and want to return.
. . . Everyone is having FUN!!!

Do you share our dream?

The Committee is researching a major change in the way we do Sunday school. We have discovered a new (to us) model for Sunday school called the Workshop Rotation Model (WoRM, for short).

What is the WoRM? WoRM is a Sunday school model which utilizes workshops instead of classrooms. One Bible story is taught over several Sundays, and the children attend a different workshop each week to experience the story from different perspectives. One rotation may last 3-5 weeks. Teachers teach the same workshop each week for the duration of the rotation, making adjustments to their lesson plans only for age-appropriateness. Classrooms are transformed into kid-friendly learning environments dedicated solely to one activity. WoRM recognized that repetition and appealing to the many ways in which children learn are the keys to retention.

While the WoRM is not a panacea for all of the difficulties associated with Sunday school, many churches that have converted to this approach report encouraging results.

I then ask them to contact me if they would like to know more. This is just the first in a series of newsletter articles that I plan to submit monthly from now through summer. This is an introduction to the concept. I plan to detail facilities and supply needs next, and eventually ask outright for people to volunteer to become involved.

Any reactions or suggestions would be appreciated.

Pray always!!
Hi Randi

A good rule of thumb for me is using the old
who, what, where, when, why model of providing information.
If you are going to do a flyer for each one of your units:
WHO are the shepherds and workshop leaders
WHAT is the unit theme/Bible story
WHERE are the workshops (computer room, art room etc.)
WHEN will the children be participating? (time and also the rotation schedule for the unit)
WHY? State the goals and objectives, expected outcomes for the unit, and also ways parents and families can support the learning during the week.

It would also be important to talk about the Multiple Intelligences- a brief explanation of the REASON for the model.

Also a brief description of how people can get involved as volunteers.

If you have pictures of your rooms to include, that is also a good thing to include.

I hope that is helpful.
Jan S
Randi --

We use a tri-fold brochure to hand out to families, which I update every year. I'm happy to send it to you via snail-mail -- I'm not technologically gifted and so am not sure how I could get it to you otherwise. My phone number here at the church is 207-799-4014, if you'd like to call & give me you mailing address.

Debbie Fisher
DRE -- St. Alban's Episcopal Church
Cape Elizabeth, Maine

When I first learned about WRM a few years ago, I wanted to explore the possibility of changing to this model from the "traditional" model.


Most of my Sunday School teachers had been teaching for years and none were familiar with this model. I gave them a short presentation of the model (included in this reply), which gave them enough information to start thinking about the model.


Prior to this meeting, I had talked with all of them about what they liked/didn't like about our current curriculum and what they would like in a new curriculum. I was able to weave these likes/dislikes into my presentation.


They were all enthusiastic about the WRM concept and all of them volunteered to be a part of the WRM when we started it the next year. My teachers wanted Sunday School to be more fun and engaging, but they also wanted the Bible story to be presented and made relevant (and rightly so).


Here are some of the points from my handout to the teachers:

  • Students are placed in same-age classes.
  • Each “classroom” is turned into a learning workshop: Could be art room, drama room, computer room, science lab, storytelling room, movie room, music and movement room, map room, etc…
  • Classes “rotate” to a different “workshop” each week, hence the name.
  • The Bible story is taught over the course of 3 to 5 weeks—the same concepts are repeated through different learning experiences. This repetition aids in learning the story and integrating it into their lives.
  • Teachers volunteer for a certain workshop, based on their gifts and interests. They teach the same lesson (with age-appropriate modifications) over the 4-5 week time span. They can teach every month or share that workshop with a number of other volunteer teachers.
  • Each class has a “guide” that stays with them every week to provide continuity, to nurture the class (remember birthdays, follow-up with kids who have missed a few weeks, get to know the children better), and to serve as a helper to the teacher.
  • Each workshop does the following every Sunday: tells the Bible story, does an activity appropriate to that workshop, discusses the story/activity and relates it to real life, goes over the memory verse, and gives the children some quiet time to process the information through journaling.
  • Sunday School could look like this for a given month: (I attached a sample rotation schedule covering one month).

What is the basis for this model?


It is based on several educational theories/studies which maintain that we learn in a variety of ways (not just by sitting and listening). See the article on Multiple Intelligence Learning


  • More in depth study of each Bible story.
  • Children experience and learn the story with all their senses/intelligences.
  • Geared for all learning styles—not just those who learn best through sitting and listening and talking.
  • Lots of options and variety.
  • Gives time to reflect and process what has just been experienced.
  • Still learn that story even if you miss a week.
  • Children meet and learn from many adults.
  • Adults teach in their area of giftedness.
  • Teachers can volunteer for a month or two instead of the entire year, they get a break, can attend Bible class.
  • Teachers prepare one lesson/month instead of one lesson/week.
  • Volunteers who want to be with the kids all year can either teach all the time or be a guide.



  • More work for the Sunday School superintendent since you don’t just hand a small group of teachers their materials every quarter (would definitely need a team approach).
  • Not as many curriculum options as with our current form of Sunday School.
  • Many curriculums geared just for K-6.
  • Not as much continuity with teachers, although there is continuity with the guide.
  • Can’t cover as many stories in a year.
  • Would take creativity and flexibility to create the workshops since we don’t have our own rooms.
I agree with all of the above, but if you want brevity, the two things I see registering most with people are:

1) This is how children LEARN -- not so much the different "modalitities" of art, drama, etc., but the REPETITION. Parents, grandparents really understand that kids like to do the same thing over and over again.

2) Easier for teachers. Planning one lesson plan every six weeks as opposed to a lesson each week is very appealing.

For me, I had to downplay the "fun" part because some people thought it wasn't "serious" enough. The people who were looking for "fun" figured that out on their own.

I agree with Lisa in the fact that repetition is key, but you might say depth through repetition. They are able to get far deeper into the subject through spending more time on it than in the tradtional Sunday School mode. (Those who are only interested in "serious" programs would be more impressed by depth than simple repetition. It's a shame people can't see that you can make a serious study through fun activities!) JOY
I have included a portion from our newsletter that was presented to our congregation when we were getting Worm up and running. People seemed to appreciate the explanation. Hope it can be of some help:

The program has been very successful in many ways. If you’re not familiar with the new “Rotation”, here’s a brief explanation of how it works.
A Biblical story or theme is chosen. Four to five weeks may be spent on workshops. Each week, different activities are planned around the chosen theme. Using various mediums and repitition enhances a child's retention of the story/lesson.

 Crafts and creativity come to life in RAINBOW WORKS.
 Our chefs emerge from MARTHA’S KITCHEN.
*Please note: All recipes that children prepare are peanut free.
 Informative stories and activities can be found inside DANIEL’S DEN.
 COMPUTER WORKSHOPS provide fun, games and programs that assist us in teaching stories of the Bible.
 Relaxing under the MOON AND STARS the children can enjoy a movie and some popcorn! Stay tuned for upcoming feature presentations!
 Our DEVOTION IN MOTION area provides room for music and theatrics. Puppets are great for reaching children of all ages and provide a fun tool for learning.

This method accommodates the versatile needs of today’s family and stimulates a child’s response to learning. If a child is unable to attend a complete rotation, they will still be able to come in at any point and have an understanding of what is being taught.

The children are divided into groups by age. Workshops are geared towards the appropriate level and will provide the tools to assist that particular age group.

In today's society, rotation provides the versatility for a viable solution in providing Christian education for the next generation, the lifeblood of the church.

Originally Posted by CreativeCarol:
An idea moved here from another location...

Posted February 10, 2006
If the EdComm decides to go forward with a change to WoRM at our meeting on Monday evening, I was thinking of this as an article in our newsletter to introduce the congregation to the concept:

We Have a Dream . . . for Sunday School...

Carol I love this article and you mentioned that it was the first in a series . How can I view the others?  We are launching in February of 2015 and are in the serious planning stage of finding a way in January to start running articles in our church's bulletin to inform and build excitement .  Please send any examples of how you did this 



Edited to remove long quote.



Sorry, but I didn't create that post. It was authored by someone named "Kathie." All I did was to move it into this forum for safe-keeping.

If you'd like additional help post a question in the "I'm looking for help" forum. I'm sure you've seen the Getting Started forum? 

-- Carol

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