New Junior Soldier Curriculum Released
By: Dan Childs
The Salvation Army earlier this year rolled out new curriculum for youth and adult Sunday school, and now the Junior Soldiers instructional program has been redesigned and implemented across the U.S. South as well as the other three U.S. territories.
The new Junior Soldiers curriculum incorporates interactive videos with a repeating cast of characters. The videos are available to Junior Soldiers and their instructors via computer, cellphone or tablet. Designed by Eskoa, Inc., the curriculum is a complete departure from that which had been in use since 1996.
The video programs portray four recurring characters that reflect the ethnic makeup of many of our corps. The main characters are a Hispanic adult male named Mr. B, a Hispanic girl named Kat and an African-American boy and Asian boy named Turk and Bram. Each character is a Salvationist with strong personality traits, and each is gifted in a unique way. Together, they make up the Salvationist Response Team. Mr. B provides a steadying paternalistic nature, and another character, a computer called “Mama Luma,” is a reliable source of knowledge who brings a maternalistic element to the cast.
“Kids today associate very strongly with video characters,” said Sheila Livingston, territorial Christian education and youth discipleship director. “We wanted to make sure we had characters who reflect what the Army looks like today.”
The interactive nature of the curriculum is designed to have a greater impact than the traditional teacher-talks-to-student delivery. Livingston pointed out that research has shown that youngsters retain 70 percent of what they do opposed to 10-20 percent of what they
The five-year training program will help young people develop through their understanding of Salvation Army doctrine, tradition and distinctives as well as building practical faith. The emphasis on Army distinctives, or the terms, symbols and language that make the Army unique, is designed to help define how those things can be used as tools to help bring people to God.
“The previous curriculum had a lot of information,” Livingston said. “The new curriculum focuses on how to live out that information.”
The videos are available on YouTube and Vimeo, meaning Junior Soldiers will be able to watch them at home or on their mobile devices, in addition to seeing them and discussing them at the corps. The lessons will be ongoing eight months of the year with June, July, August and December being the exceptions. The video lessons are accompanied by printable handouts.