Abundance Orchard: Where Faith Grows and Hungry People Are Fed
Note: Because this is a perennial VBS, the review has been not updated since it was originally written.
Cost: Free download
The theme of food is beautifully woven through the stories, activities, snacks and mission components of the Abundance Orchard VBS. Theological themes that run through the curriculum illustrate the abundance of God’s love and presence in our lives. The curriculum encourages the development of empathy and invites the children not only into the Bible stories, but also to reflect on the meaning of the stories in their own lives.
The program’s strength is in its theological content, its detailed instructions, and its flexibility. With creative leadership, this program could be modified to fit a wide variety of situations, numbers, ages, and local circumstances and mission projects. For example, organizers could plant a few garden beds that would be ready to harvest at the time of the VBS, and children could harvest the food for the food bank or take a field trip to a community garden or food bank.
Abundance Orchard contains two full sets of material, one Old Testament-based, the other New Testament-based. Since each day is self-contained, sessions could be selected from either set.
Little in the resource is ready-made, but comprehensive instructions invite adult organizers to use their imagination and skills to build a fantastic learning environment. Although all children will enjoy the program, it especially speaks to visual and kinesthetic learners.
This curriculum encourages sustainable practices by enlisting the help of a variety of people and using re-purposed materials. The program could be simplified, but it would lose some of its appeal.
Ages Levels: Preschool and Elementary age
X Two full VBS curriculums
X Music list with some links to words
X Detailed instructions, checklists, and activities
- Ten-day curriculum is a free download.
- Sustainable in its theme and its practices.
- Very detailed leader instructions, including check lists, and links to music files.
- Leader preparation for storytelling invites leaders to engage deeply with the material. Reflection questions could be modified to create a program for an older audience.
- Variety of fun activities are engaging and instructive.
- Food themes are cleverly inserted throughout the program.
- Children are introduced to the programs of the Society of St. Andrew to reduce food waste and hunger and encouraged to connect with local food organizations.
- Suggested music resources are outdated and difficult to find.
- Detailed description of set up is provided, but few pictures or drawings are included.
- Is not designed for large numbers but could be modified into rotating stations.
Reviewed by Robin Denney.