ABC Jesus Loves Me! is a five-level curriculum for children ages one through five. It can be used in class groups as well as for homeschooling. The curricula is designated 1 Year, 2 Year, 3 Year, 4 Year, and 5 Year for ages one through five respectively. 5 Year serves as a pre-kindergarten program kindergarten program. (See their explanation about which level to use.)
This comprehensive program covers Bible, science, reading readiness activities, introductory math, gross and fine motor skills, character traits, self-care and manners, visual perception, music, and art. Sign language is also taught in Year 1.
Hands-on activities, movement, reading real books, singing, and arts and crafts dominate the activities although there are worksheets as well, even for 1 Year.
Activities gradually become more academic. 1 Year introduces toddlers to books, Bible stories, songs, animals, sign language, colors, shapes, and the parts of their body. 2 Year teaches fingerplays with songs, and children learn the name of their town and state, the letters of the alphabet in order, and counting from 1 through 10.
In year 3 Year, children are introduced to all of the letters, both upper- and lower-case, as well as their sounds. They learn numbers 1 through 15. Tactile letters and numbers are used along with formation chants and rhymes for the child to learn how to form the letters, but actual writing starts in 4 Year. Children continue to learn Bible stories, memory verses, nursery rhymes, fingerplays, songs, colors, shapes, sorting, patterns, and both fine and gross motor skills.
4 Year continues in the same vein while developing greater familiarity with letters and their sounds as well as the ability to write both uppercase and lowercase letters. Similarly, they learn numbers up through 25, including how to write them.
5 Year is still considered pre-kindergarten, but it covers what used to be the content of kindergarten until recent years. Children begin to recognize words that start with particular letters of the alphabet. They can count and write numbers to 40, count backward from 10 to 0, and count by 10s to 100. Coins, the clock, and beginning addition are introduced. They start to learn about community helpers, maps, and their country and state. Science is introduced as well as they learn to classify things as living or non-living and learn about the five senses. You can check the publisher’s website for more details on their scope and sequence since it cannot list everything here.
Lesson plans are available free online for individual families as the Basic Curriculum. Online lesson plans include links to printable activity sheets, special pages on the ABCJesusLovesMe.com website, as well as to other websites for activities and information. Some links are to resources or learning materials that you would need to purchase. For example, one fine-motor-skill activity in 2 year links to Peg Puzzles at Amazon. Most lesson plans link to Through the Bible in Felt since the author highly recommends that flannel-board, storytelling approach for teaching Bible stories. The curriculum also incorporates many children’s books and some audio CDs along with lots of other resources to be used for activities, resources such as magnetic letters and numbers, sidewalk chalk, craft sticks, glue, coins, cotton balls, and much more. However, families are encouraged to substitute with items they already have on hand as they please. You’ll need to look ahead to gather resources in advance. (Scroll to the end of the lessons to access weekly supply lists.)
The amount of resources and the preparation time might be too much for some parents teaching only one child, especially if you try to follow lesson plans exactly. However, you need not use all of the activities in a lesson plan. You should choose those most appropriate and most useful, especially with children at the youngest levels.
The publisher seems to be pushing families who are using or considering the Basic Curriculum toward the more comprehensive and updated Complete Curriculum that must be purchased. In addition, those teaching a class group must purchase the Complete Curriculum. Licensing prices for group classes are listed with purchase information for each level.
A bundle of the Complete Curriculum for each level includes a Curriculum Guide, a workbook, and digital downloads for Bible Stories, Bible Song Cards, and Poem Cards. While the Basic Curriculum's detailed lesson plans have instructions and activities for each week, you can only get daily schedules in the Complete Curriculum. Daily schedules in the printed Curriculum Guide break the activities out into what should be accomplished each day and provide you with supply lists.
You can also purchase printed or digital items individually if you wish, but the Basic and Complete programs are not compatible. For example, the printed workbooks will not correlate with the Basic Curriculum. There are many worksheets and printable pages in the Basic Curriculum which by itself might be reason enough to purchase the Complete Curriculum.
There are active social media groups for ABC Jesus Loves Me! where parents support one another. Heidi, the creator of this curriculum tells me, "[P]arents are encouraged to pull learning from daily activities instead of letting the learning control the child’s day. Most parents come back and share that when they made this switch, there was very little prep time as daily life provided many opportunities to learn. We discuss this a lot in our very active Facebook Groups. The support that you get from fellow users and myself is what many consider our largest asset."
ABC Jesus Loves Me! is a truly comprehensive curriculum. It should satisfy those who want to provide structured learning for their little ones. It should also be useful to those who want to pick and choose ideas without using the complete curriculum. The Christian base of the curriculum makes it an excellent option for Christian preschools as well as families who want to build a faith-based foundation for their homeschooling.