What is a Children’s Catechism?

Great question! A catechism is simply a set of questions and answers that provide a summary of Christian doctrine. In our children’s catechism, there are 150 questions and answers specifically written for children that outline what we, as Reformed Christians, believe about God, the Bible, our relationship with God, and the Church.

Why would we teach this when our kids don’t even know all the Bible stories?

We are glad you asked. The value of a catechism is that it begins to build a theological framework through which your children can understand the Bible. Many children have heard familiar Christian language such as God, sin, and covenant but do not really have working definitions of these terms. The children’s catechism fills in the gaps, giving your children a solid foundation to grow in their faith and eventually share their faith with others.

Are you sure that teaching a catechism is still relevant for families and churches in 2020?

Catechism is an old word that comes from the Greek word catechesis, which means to echo. Teaching students to answer questions from memory has helped children grow spiritually since the Reformation in the 16th century!

Today, we continue to see many kids, teens, and adults grow in their understanding of who God is and what He has done for us through the memorization of these great truths. It is as simple as calling out a question and having the student answer in return. You can call it catechesis or you can call it learning. We prefer to call it learning!

mom teaching the catechism to children at home

Flashcard Sets

Classroom Books

all 3 flashcard sets laying on a pretty rug
question 7 of the catechism book
boy on floor with catechism book and stuffed animals

How do I use these visuals?

We make the learning process simple for teachers and students. We will be sharing lots of tips and tricks for teaching these great truths on our blog. It is best if you start with question #1 and work systematically through the questions to the end because the concepts build on each other. We also recommend keeping your learning sessions short—five to ten minutes each day—and do them alongside another activity, such as breakfast or family devotions. This is a wonderfully easy way to make progress without discouragement.

Here are two simple starting strategies:

For babies, young children, and limited language students. Read the questions and answers aloud while pointing out concepts in the illustrations. This will lay a great foundation for emerging language. We often see, especially with our limited language students, that memorization is happening although they may not be able to verbally express the answers.

For students with language skills. Starting with no more than five questions at a time, read the question, give the student the answer, and then prompt the student to repeat the answer. Discuss the illustration and how it relates to the answer. Then repeat the question and answer, and ask the student to say the answer back to you.

Make sure you repeat each question one to three times before moving forward to the next question. At the end of five questions, you are finished for the day! Repeat this every day, and you will see progress. On average, children can learn between one and five answers each week. Since the first questions are shorter, you may see even faster progress at the beginning!

How The Catechism Visuals Came to Life

From Ashley, the Series Editor

With a master’s degree in theological studies and a passion for ministry, I had a natural desire to impart the great truths about God to my children. However, it became clear very early on that the children’s catechism, with its traditional call-and-response method of auditory teaching, was not going to help my children grow in Christ and thrive. So I began looking for visuals that are theologically appropriate and don’t require the ability to read. But I found none!

As I thought about creating flashcards to meet my own family’s needs, I shared my vision with a special-needs mama and friend, Rachel Unglesby, who is a graphic designer. It didn’t take us long to realize that visuals designed for unique learners would benefit ALL children. Seeing these children’s catechism cards come to life has been a blessing for us and our families, and we are THRILLED to share them with you!

Ashley Belknap
Director
Engaging Disability With The Gospel

Ashley Belknap holding catechism visuals 1-50

How The Catechism Visuals Came to Life

Catechism visuals graphic designer Rachel Unglesby

From Rachel, the Graphic Designer

About 10 years ago, our pastor challenged the young children in our church to begin memorizing the Children’s Catechism in Sunday School. As the mom of a nonverbal child with special needs, I really wrestled with how I could help teach my own daughter the catechism in a way that would be unique to her needs.

Using the skills from my background in elementary education and graphic design, I began creating slides on her iPad using visuals that she could understand. I shared my idea with a friend, who ultimately connected me to Ashley Belknap. Together, Ashley and I combined our two visions and came up with the catechism visuals that I can now use to teach all three of my children.

What a gift it has been to work with Ashley on this project over the years and to see it finally come together. We are excited to share it with families and churches across the nation!

Rachel Unglesby
Graphic Designer

How The Catechism Visuals Came to Life

From Rachel, the Illustrator

A few years ago Rachel and Ashley asked me to draw illustrations for their catechism project. As a mom and a former special education teacher, I was excited because I believe in adapting lessons for all types of learners. This has been the longest (5 years) and most fulfilling project I have illustrated. I loved spending time pondering Scripture and God’s role in my life.

We created 10 diverse characters used throughout the 150 questions and answers. There’s a little girl in a wheelchair, a boy with leg braces, kids with no visible disabilities, and families of different races. When I drew the last illustration—a picture of all our characters resurrected and whole in heaven with God—I started crying. Because of Jesus Christ, these little characters who were broken and struggled and questioned things are finally healed!

And one day I will be too. So will my sister, my friend with cancer, my little cousin with cerebral palsy, my daughter with anxiety, and my friends with infertility. One day that will all end. There is hope because of my savior. What a joy it has been to be part of this project!

Rachel Erickson
Illustrator

catechism visuals illustrator Rachel Erickson
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