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Waste and More Waste
Some preprinted curriculums require the purchasing of activity books, boxed craft kits, and special added items like take-home papers for each student. Activity books and added curriculum items can be costly, especially if you have to purchase them in groups of five or more and pay shipping. For example, when a visitor, irregular attendee or new student comes to class, they need an activity book to get the lesson worksheets. Therefore, the teacher must come up with one or two lesson worksheets, even if the student does not plan on coming back to class. One way of doing this is to tear the page out of the book of a student who is absent from class for the day. But the absentee may not be happy if they discover a page missing from their workbook.
Another solution might be copying a page from the workbook, if the copyright allows for this. But most copyrighted materials require the teacher or church to get written permission from the author or publisher before they can copy anything from the book or workbook. How many teachers know way ahead of time that they will need to copy their materials? How many will take the time to write letters or make the necessary calls for permission to copy one or two pages from curriculum materials?
If neither one of these ideas work the teacher may end up having to pull out a new book to provide the worksheet for the visitor. This could work if you have only one visitor, but what happens if you get two or more? Every time you have to pull out new books for one-time visitors, the church ends up paying more and wasting more materials.
One way of solving this problem would be for the curriculum publishing companies to include one reproducible page for every worksheet in the lesson book. It would be easier if the teacher could make additional copies for visitors rather than have to waste a whole new book or buy an additional five books to have an extra copy on hand.
One example of excessive waste I came upon was when our church had ordered a whole quarter of Sunday School curriculum for the fall session. Then someone decided the students all needed to put together a big Sunday School Christmas play, which was a great idea. However, the play practice was scheduled during Sunday School time, and at least two months of curriculum materials were not used because of play practice. What a waste of church resources!
One day, while I was talking with our Sunday School Superintendant in her office, I noticed a big box of unused curriculum materials. I asked her about the materials, and she didn’t know what to do with them because they were odds and ends of used materials and she didn’t want to throw them away. Curious, I asked her if I could have those materials and see if there were any of them I could use in my class. She agreed.
I took that big box of curriculum home and looked through it. Most of it was parts and pieces of lesson books and there were not enough of any of them to use in my class. However, there were some wonderful teacher’s resources that I could use for telling Bible stories and doing activities with children at home. I used what I could and disposed of the rest. But I learned a big lesson from that experience—we need to be mindful of the waste of materials in our church classrooms. It can cost us a lot of money that could be spent in better ways.
As for craft kits and other special projects, we might be wise to purchase these items locally and make our own craft kits, using craft supplies and putting them in plastic storage bags. This way, you may not have to pay for special packaging and shipping fees. At times, when large amounts of craft kits are needed, this may not be feasible. However, it may be worth checking out. If we can save money in this area, it may help us in another place. We need to watch out so we don’t have a large amount of waste.
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