We sat down with The Foundry Kids product developer, Jeremy Bond, to learn a little more about him and what he has been working on for the past few years.
As a product developer, you have been working on a new children’s curriculum. How does a process like that begin?
For us, it began with a totally empty canvas. We were tasked with building a curriculum from the ground up. So we began throwing different ideas on the table, many of which came from conversations we’d had while in ministry with teachers and fellow children’s pastors. Other ideas came from personal experiences in classrooms, observing patterns of learning take shape. When these classroom experiences lined up with curriculum and spiritual formation ideas, we knew we had found some great building blocks for a new curriculum.
What goes into developing a brand-new curriculum?
Lots of great ideas, alongside lots of great ideas that never get used. Our children’s team adopted a motto at the very beginning of the process. “It’s not about being right; it’s about finding right.” Curriculum is developed from continually fine-tuning ideas. Then, just when the idea is fine-tuned to perfection, it’s gets set aside because a better idea is discovered.
We pored over survey results from children’s pastors, had personal conversations with children’s pastors and teachers, and drew from our own experiences in children’s ministry. We tested an early version of the curriculum in a dozen churches and considered their feedback.
The key to the entire process is to stay focused on our goal to create a curriculum that inspires and equips kids to grow in their Christian faith. From there, it’s just a lot of fine-tuning. The first version is rarely the best version.
What makes Eureka! different from other curricula?
At its foundation, Eureka! disciples kids by teaching them the fundamentals of studying God’s Word—not only so they can grow in their faith today but also to equip them with the skills they’ll need to study the Bible throughout their lives.
A lot of children’s curriculum tells kids what they need to learn at the beginning of the lesson, and then they’ll study a Bible story to prove it. Eureka! flips that script. It presents a passage of Scripture, gives them the steps they need to explore the passage, and then challenges them to find out what the passage says about God and about us.
Every Bible passage is examined using five steps.
First, explore the words of the passage. Kids can’t understand the message of the passage if they don’t understand the individual words they’re reading.
Second, dive in and explore what’s happening in the passage.
Third, explore other Bible passages that can help us make sense of this one. Discover how the entire Bible works together.
Fourth, dig into what the passage says about God, his love, and his character.
Finally, explore what the passage says about us. What does it say about me and the people around me?
In theological terms, Eureka! equips kids with a lifelong biblical hermeneutic. In school playground terms, Eureka! gives kids the confidence to read the Bible even when adults aren’t looking.
What was your favorite part of developing this curriculum?
I love diving into ideas and solving problems. Curriculum development is all about both of those. We’re constantly exploring education, curriculum, and spiritual formation ideas and trying to incorporate them, but that effort raises many logistical and philosophical challenges that need troubleshooting. In short, trying to make all the pieces fit is a great challenge.
I’ve also really enjoyed bringing other writers along to help us put words on paper and create each lesson. It’s energizing to listen to other writers talk about seeing their dreams of writing for a curriculum come to fruition. We’ve got a very talented team of writers, and I’m excited to see how they take our core ideas and bring them to life.
What is the story behind the title Eureka!?
Kids love to discover and learn things on their own. They want to figure it out, try it out, solve the problem, uncover the mystery. This curriculum is going to provide opportunities for faith discoveries to happen every single week. We were looking for a way to capture that burst of excitement that happens right at the moment of discovery. It’s the moment when a child says, “Oh, I get it!” and, “Look what I found!” So we just started searching for words that made us feel like we’d found something awesome.
I listen to lots of podcasts—way too many to mention here. In the week or two before we absolutely had to settle on a final name, I was listening to a podcast when someone said, “I had this eureka moment.” A few days later, on a different podcast, someone said, “That’s when I had my eureka moment.” In both cases, I could hear the pride and satisfaction in their voices as they told their stories. That’s when Eureka! rose to the top of the list for me personally. We’re looking forward to helping kids create their own eureka moments that will shape their Christian journeys for years to come.
There are some recurring characters the kids will meet in Eureka! Who is your favorite character and why?
We’ve got some great explorers in our cast of characters. That’s sort of like asking a parent to pick a favorite child, but let’s give it a shot anyway.
Sir Neil is on the Rushmore of explorers. He’s a legend. He once trekked across Switzerland on his pinkie toes. The girth of his beard is matched only by the breadth of his bravado.
Sir Neil’s exploring partner is an alpaca named Pam. She can only speak alpaca noises, but she understands 184 different languages. She gives wisdom to Neil’s ambition.
Niki Knacks recently graduated from the University of Bravery and Accomplishment with an advanced degree in dubious peril escaping. She designed and built a utility belt that would make Batman jealous.
Niki’s robust exploring partner is blessed with incredible strength and dexterity. He knows every form of martial arts ever invented, plus one that won’t be invented until 2056. His name is Kiwi. He’s a gerbil.
Now, to pick a favorite. I’ll narrow it down to Niki and Kiwi. They’re the newest characters to join our exploring team, so I’m pumped to see what adventures they conquer and what quests they undertake.
I like to root for the little guy, and Kiwi is a height-challenged stalwart of spunk and fearlessness. Okay, fine. I’ll go with Kiwi.
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