Christian children should receive a robust Christian education

Originally drafted August 21, 2022 and last tended May 16, 2023 by Matt McElwee.
(See Revision History).

The Church has long held the three pillars of catechism as the Apostles' Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments. This is reflected everywhere from Westminster Catechism to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. As these make up the basics of the faith for the faithful, they should similarly make up the foundation of the Christian education of children.1

In addition, a strict schema ought to be in place for teaching the Scriptures, especially within the paradigm: as a unified story that leads to Jesus.

Beyond this are particulars for the respective tradition, views on ministry and spiritual gifts, and finally on the sacraments.

On this basis, I suggest the following basic curriculum as being universal for Christian children:

Topic Starting Age Description
The Apostles' Creed Pre-School
The Lord's Prayer Pre-School
The Ten Commandments Pre-School
The Torah and Former Prophets Kindergarten
The Gospels and Acts Kindergarten
The Christian Calendar2 Kindergarten
The Latter Prophets and Ketuvim 3rd Grade
The Epistles and Revelation 3rd Grade
Denominational Distinctives 4th Grade
The Sacraments 2nd Grade

The challenge of this approach is less in its teaching – plenty of resources exist in age-appropriate brackets for each of the items listed above – but rather in who is responsible to do the teaching.

My central thesis is that children must be taught this content as a baseline for Christian belief and practice. But if our local church community is presently not teaching this content, we are left with a difficult decision.

A number of actions present themselves:

  1. Work with your local church community to either encourage or develop curriculum fitting this model.
  2. Strategically (and intentionally) offer religious education at home.
  3. Offer all education at home, with emphasis given to religious education (that is, homeschool).
  4. Send your children to a local Christian or perochial school where religious education is part of the curriculum.

No one solution is best above all others, though we should always consider that both the church and the home bare disproportionate responsibility for the training and religious education of youngsters.


  1. Children here is loosely defined. I am comfortable enough describing them as Elementary school-aged, as this tends to be the age of children preceding confirmation in traditions which practice that sacrament.

  2. This can be scoped at the level relevant to the tradition which the child belongs to. For those traditions which only recognize Christmas, Holy Week, and Easter, than this would only cover those topics. This can (and should wear appropriate) be extended to the fullness of the Christian calendar.