Eco-Justice Ministries
   Eco-Justice: "the well-being of all humankind on a thriving Earth"

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Eco-Curriculum Review for the title
Loving Our Neighbor, the Earth: Creation-Spirituality Activities for 9-11 Year Olds

This is the full report format.

Short Description:   "Twenty easy-to-follow lesson plans that teach children, ages 9-11, how to recognize the value of all life." Examples of topics include water conservation, cultivating the earth, "God and garbage", and learning the stars.
Long Description:   Lessons can be grouped and taught as units of 5 sessions: 1)Creation, 2)Agricultural Issues, 3)Covenant Issues 4)Indepth Environmental Issues 5)Animal Focus 6)Worship Experiences.
Reviewed by:   Jo Nell How, an evangelical Christian and educator from Colorado

Bibliographic & Purchasing Information
Author:   Christie L. Jenkins, PhD.
Publication date:   1991 Website for this resource:   none known
We know of 1 source for purchasing this resource.
Address Resource Publications, Inc.
160 E. Virginia St., Suite 290
San Jose, CA   95112-5876  
Phone 408-286-8505   Fax 408-287-8748  
Website   E-mail    
Price $14.95  Order # LNE 

Target Audience & Course Sessions
Age levels Preschool     Primary     Jr. High    Sr. High    Adult
The reviewer specifies:   Curriculum states ages 9-11
NOTE: Our reviewer may have checked a wider age range than specified in the curriculum itself.
Optimum class size Not stated in curriculum. 
Normal number/length of sessions If the curriculum's normal lesson plan is followed, there will be 22 class sessions each lasting about 45min. to 1 hour
Are suggestions included for expanding/contracting the series? Two of the twenty lessons require 2 sessions. The curriculum is not sequential so the number of lessons can be determined by the instructor. An appendix of lesson extensions is included.  
In the judgement of the reviewer:
 using these materials, or even just one session from them, a reasonable, coherent and self-contained class can be offered in a single session of about an hour.
 using these materials, a class can be offered that runs for at least two sessions.
Are learners expected to do homework? Some lessons ask that students observe and record environmental data over a period of time. For example, learning birds in a neighborhood.  
Target audience:
 Interfaith - addressed people of many faiths
 Judeo-Christian - addressed to Jews & Christians
 Christian - addressed explicitly to Christians
 Not explicity faith-based - not much religious content

Materials provided
Materials include:
 Leader's guide
 Student book
 Discussion questions
 Class activities - arts & crafts
 Class activities - group participation 
 Reading materials
 Presentation or lecture notes
 Prayer or worship resources

Other supportive materials provided: Lessons include a student activity page to be photocopied for each lesson and an appendix which provides ideas for extending most lessons.
Other materials required:Teacher would need to provide materials for craft activities and for basic science experiments: jars, paper towel rolls, 2 thermometers, etc. No formal science equipment is needed.
Description of the Leader's Guide:The Leaderīs Guide contains the following sections:

Introduction: Gives the background and rational for the lessons.

To Teach a Child: Lists each lesson and its purpose.

Especially for Parochial School Teachers: Suggests how lessons can be used in a school science program.


  • Purpose - states the objective of the lesson.
  • Background - discusses scriptural and cultural importance.
  • Plan - lays out time and sequence, in detail, for presenting the lesson. Includes a closing prayer.
  • Student Page(s) - pages for activities and responses that need to be photocopied.
Appendix I: Prayers, celebrations, blessings.

Appendix II: Activities to be used to supplement the lessons.

Appendix III: An extensive list of environmental organizations, their purposes, and addresses.

Bibliography: An enticing list of books for further reading, two of which could be used with students.

Description of the Student's Book:There is no student book but the activities for students are completely explained in the leaderīs guide.

Materials review & Assessment of usability
Are all necessary materials provided in an accessible format? Adequate - all necessary information is present  
Is the leader's guide comprehensive? Adequate - all necessary information is present  
Are class sessions clearly outlined? Yes - materials are very well laid out and comprehensive  
Will it be helpful to have a teacher with above-average expertise in the subject matter? Helpful to have teacher expertise  
Preparation time required by the leader:
Subjectively rated as heavy, medium or light
Mastery of subject matter preparation: light. All scripture references and lesson plans are easy to follow. Functional preparation: light to medium depending on the materials which need to be collected for activities. There are no difficult to obtain or scientifically specific items. 

Content focus
Is this curriculum explicitly focused on environmental awareness or action? Yes, as one of several emphases  
Does this curriculum deal with a specific environmental issue or problem? Several basic environmental issues are covered. These include greenhouse gasses, caring for creation (Noah), garbage, eating habits, water conservation.  
How is the scope of the environmental impact positioned?  Impact on specific human communities
 Impact on humans in general
 Impact on humans and non-human parts of creation
 Impact on non-human parts of creation only  
Does the curriculum address questions of social or economic justice in relation to environmental issues? Yes - as part of the topic  
Does the curriculum provide detailed content in a particular academic area?   For example, is there significant content in biology, physics, sociology, economics, etc.?
Biblical & theological content are covered below
The curriculum deals with basic environmental issues and is very minimally technical. The guide explains all activities simply and thoroughly.  
Biblical/theological content
Does the curriculum have explicit biblical or theological content? Yes, as a major emphasis  
How are the Biblical materials used? Individual texts are presented as meaningful ('proof texts')
Several texts are developed to show a larger biblical theme
Texts are placed in a historical or cultural context
Texts are presented as authoritative
Students are invited to comment/reflect on the meaning or authority of texts
Biblical texts are of equal importance to other scriptures/readings  
The checked statements reflect how ethical guidelines are grounded The Bible tells us how we should live/act
A theological tradition or other authority tells us how we should live/act
We should make decisions about how to live/act based on defined ethical norms
Caring for creation is an assumed norm  
The curriculum views humanity's role in creation as:
The checked lines are clearly affirmed
Domination - God created the Earth for human use; there are no real restrictions on what we can or should do.
Stewardship - "The Earth is the Lord's"" and humans are in a position of managing the creation according to God's will.
Partner - Humans are part of the web of creation, and participate in it as one species among many.
Intruder - Humans are separate from nature, and inherently destructive.
In evaluating changes to "solve" environmental problems, does the curriculum tend toward an approach that is: Confessional - I/we need to change
Confrontational - Some other person, policy or institutions needs to change
Combination - a mix of confessional and confrontational

Content approach
Which of these are a primary target outcome of the curriculum?  Increase awareness or concern about the environment in general
 Increase awareness of concern about a specific environmental issue
 Acquiring factual knowledge about an issue
 Changing or deepening personal beliefs
 Change in self-awareness or self-identity
 Changes in personal behaviors or lifestyle choices
 Influence on institutional (church or other) practices
 Increased political advocacy
 No change, or goal not clear
Range of perspectives offered:   A single perspective is offered
  Compares 2 or more perspectives
  A diversity of perspectives presented
The reviewer did not answer this question.

Subjective Reviewer Feedback
In general, would you use this program with your congregation/organization? Why or why not?
Yes, I would use this program. It approaches creation in a reverent and awesome manner. Basic environmental concerns are presented in an activity based foremat. It encourages discussion of student opinions, thoughts, and values.
What specific feedback do you have after reviewing these materials? What did you like? What did you not like?
  • easy to follow
  • kid friendly
  • supported with crafts and activities
  • lessons vary in length of time needed for completion, so the leader would need to plan ahead to be sure lesson will fit into the allotted time.
  • a very few supplementary craft suggestions lack complete directions so the leader would need to feel comfortable filling in the details.
  • some lessons imply changes in family habits and would need to be presented with sensitivity.
What questions did you have after reviewing the materials?
I have no questions about the curriculum but I now want to learn more about Jewish holidays and celebrations as they relate to the environment and also about the views of the Eastern Orthdox Church concerning care of creation.
What, if any, concerns do you have about the use or implementation of this curriculum?
I have no concerns except for the ones stated previouly in the question which asks what I like and dislike about the curriculum.
What content, if any, does this program seem to be missing? What would you like this program to cover which it does not?
I feel that the lessons are well designed to meet their goals.
Have you ever used this program in the past, or heard of others who have used it? What if any response was received?

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Eco-Justice Ministries ended all programming on July 31, 2020. This site is an archive of writings and resources.
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