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.
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 finger plays 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, finger plays, 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 upper-and lower-case 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 backwards 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. 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. Suggested resources are listed at the beginning of each week’s lesson plan. You’ll need to look ahead to gather resources in advance. 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.
There is an active Facebook group 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."
The detailed lesson plans with instructions are laid out as lists of activities for each week. If you want a daily schedule that breaks the activities out into what should be accomplished each day, you need to purchase the printed book of Lesson Plans for whichever level you need. The printed Lesson Plans include all of the online material plus the daily schedules. (The downside is that you no longer have the weblinks available at the click of the mouse, although you can always still access those from the online lesson plans.) Suggested resources for each week are listed at the beginning of each week's lesson plan. If you want to see a supply list for the entire year, scroll down to the bottom of the online weekly lesson plans for the appropriate year and click on "Supply List."
You can also purchase a printed Workbook for each level if you’d rather not print out the worksheets. Some worksheets or printable pages such as the memory verse cards for 5 Year feature some color images, so you need a color printer for at least some printables if you plan to print out pages yourself. Printed books range from about 80 to 110 pages each and cost $30 each.
A kindle version is available through Amazon for some levels, but it does not include scheduling pages or worksheets. It seems to have essentially the same pages as on the website for the core lesson plans. I’m not sure what value there is in this since you can just as easily pull up the website unless you don’t have a reliable internet connection. But if that were the issue, you would still need the printed books for the worksheets unless you could print them out in advance.
The curriculum can be used in both homeschools and group class settings. Licensing prices for group classes are listed with purchase information for each level.
ABC Jesus Loves Me! is a truly comprehensive curriculum. It should satisfy those who want to provide a 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.