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This topic was created to discuss how certain features of the Rotation Model address the trend toward more irregular attendance, and the redefining of "regular" attendance from 3 to 4 Sundays a month to 1 to 2.

In 2021, created the following animated presentation to explain how the Rotation Model can help Sunday Schools experiencing lower and fluctuating attendance made worse by the effects of the pandemic. The rest of this article and topic expands on the presentation.

"3 Reasons to Use the Rotation Model
for Post-Pandemic Sunday School"

Need to learn the full description of the Rotation Model? Then check out this presentation first, then come back to watch the following...

Right-click the video to "save as" to your computer. This will download it so you can share it with others. It's a 45 MB MP4 video that can play on almost any device.

Below is a key graphic from the presentation showing how to schedule your workshops AS THE KIDS ARRIVE so that if needed, you can immediately combine two groups into one on any given Sunday if attendance is unexpectedly low, OR split into two identical workshops on any given Sunday if attendance is unexpectedly high and you want to split younger from older students.

A Rotation schedule showing options

Moving forward, the Workshop Rotation Model is uniquely suited to address the following realities:

Wormy gives a thumbs up1. The trend is moving toward "less regular" regular attendance—i.e., families are redefining "regular" attendance as once or twice a month, instead of three or four.
Because in using the Rotation model, we stay on the same story for four or five weeks in a row, your less regular attendees will not miss enjoying creative lessons on the MAJOR stories of the Bible.

2. The need is to have our "best foot forward" every single week.
Mediocrity does not lead to renewal or success. The creativity of Rotation Model lessons gives us a competitive edge with kids and is a selling point to parents.

3. Volunteers have less preparation time available, not more.
In the Rotation Model, teachers teach the workshop medium that they are comfortable with and repeat their lesson for another group each week.

4. Avoid abandoned classrooms. Attendance shrinkage that leads to broadly graded groups also leads to abandoned classrooms. Rather than turning empty classrooms into storage space, "workshops" can be set up in formerly used classrooms for broadly graded groups to rotate into. (An appealing workshops make a difference to the kids.)

an orange arrow  Learn more about the Workshop Rotation Model


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  • Wormy gives a thumbs up
  • Schedule options
Last edited by Neil MacQueen
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The problems "attendance fluctuation and irregularity" will create in traditionally organized Sunday Schools that use traditionally graded classrooms and curriculum

--and how the Rotation Model is more suited to the needs of broadly graded Sunday School...

  • If you have to combine age groups, most of your "graded" curriculum will either be too young or too old for some of your "suddenly combined" classes. Workshop lessons from our Writing Team are broadly graded and are focused on active learning, not so much on printed reading material or age-specific "worksheets."

  • Your traditional teacher who only used to teach the younger ones will probably have a hard time dealing with the older kids tossed into their classroom. Whereas, in the Workshop Rotation Model teachers get used to adapting their lessons for each grade group because they do it every week with a new group. And because they repeat the same basic lesson each week, they gain proficiency with the lesson as they repeat it and are more confident in general.

  • Traditionally designed and furnished classrooms for younger children will make your older kids feel like they're being treated "like babies."   Whereas, each Workshop in the Rotation Model is designed for many grades to use. Activities in the Rotation Model are more engaging and broadly appealing.

  • Rotation Model Workshops such as Drama, Games, and Cooking are more cooperative — which get different grades mixing and allows older kids to help lead.
Last edited by Neil MacQueen

Seven Things Traditional Sunday Schools Can Do to Deal with Attendance Fluctuations and the Sudden Need to Combine Classes

Several of these ideas come from our experience with the Rotation Model.

  1. SEVENMake sure the curriculum you've purchased is truly broadly graded. Rotation Model lessons from our Writing Team always are, and come with adaptions so you can adjust the lesson to who shows up.

  2. Avoid curriculum that's dependent on worksheets. Worksheets have reading and puzzles that can be too hard for younger children in a broadly graded class. Rotation-style learning is focused on teaching with different creative media and activities, not worksheets, and such media is easier to adapt to different grades.

  3. Slow down your rate of "story change." Avoid curriculum which teaches a new story every week, but instead, teach a series of lessons "about Abraham" for example, so that students who miss a lesson or two don't feel totally lost when they show up. Rotation Modelers stay on a single story for four to five weeks at a time, only changing the teaching method. The kids don't get bored with the story, in fact, they actually learn it.

  4. Pick craft projects that are less about "assembly" and focus more on what each student can create. This allows older students to add more complexity of thought and creativity.

  5. Teach with certain types of activities and methods that are less sensitive to numbers in attendance and age. Such methods and media include: video, cooking projects, singing, demonstrations ("science"), service projects, and actual "art" projects.

  6. Plan a monthly "all grades" lesson that you can fall back on when attendance unexpectedly bottoms out, or when you can predict it ahead of time for a certain Sunday. These "all grade" lessons can have components of children's worship, with broadly appealing "demonstrations" (like those found in Rotation Science Workshops), service projects, cooking workshop activities (which are always broadly appealing), and Video.

  7. Have extra help for the special needs of your youngest or oldest students.


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Last edited by Amy Crane

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