Do you use worksheets or workbooks. There mixed opinions about these pages of pre-set activity, and while many use them others avoid them at all costs. If you are considering starting or stopping using worksheets here is a closer examine of the four main swaying factors.
|1. Are they wasteful?
|2. Are they real teaching?
Anticipating for visitors means waste paper every week, or teachers risk running out. Worksheets can mean a lot of printing, and for some that’s just a lot of money they would rather spend elsewhere.
On the other hand, they are great to take home as they show visible achievement. Some parents like having them as prompts for discussion with their child, and paper does recycle well.
Some see worksheets as a teaching dodge. Print them out, add a craft or game, and the work is done. Children’s ministry should be engaging, not simply filling in boxes. There are other ways to do the same work.
Yet, others site worksheets as a way of giving children space to contemplate the meaning for themselves. They also give time for the adult to engage the children one by one while the others work.
|3. Are they too school like?
|4. Can they be used by diverse groups?
It’s true that worksheets are a teachers tool and as such the kids recognise the format and may associate it with school. For many this is a view they want to distance worship from.
Other teachers site the same reason for using them. Children are comfortable with what they know. They often focus the lessons learning, engaging children who keep quiet during discussions.
A particularly academic child who loves to read their bible and a similar aged child who struggles with severe learning difficulties will not meet a worksheet the same way.
However worksheets can be a great activity to teach peer learning and peer support. For the children whose strongest learning styles incorporate the written word something paper based is often needed.
Obviously the decision is primary about your group, including the adults. My present church uses worksheets because we have very limited room for other activities, some lessons are quite literally straight out the box, and we like to maintain that pattern with our other leaders. My previous church did not use them, we used multiple activity stations, and worksheets were deemed unnecessary.