What's Up? Elementary: Learning About Jesus and Yourself (CD-ROM)

Deborah Harrell
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Any parent or teacher knows that their young children are constantly surprising them with their capability to learn and understand concepts that may seem well beyond their grasp. And yet, when it comes to teaching our children about God, many people hesitate to go beyond simply telling Bible stories, leaving out the message and meaning of the gospel.

With What’s Up Elementary, seven to ten-year olds move beyond the basic plot of Bible stories and truly start to discover Jesus, the gospel, and how it impacts their lives every day. Through this interactive twelve-week curriculum, children will engage with the Bible in new ways through discussion questions, activities and fun crafts that connect students to the lesson. Easy-to-use for leaders and teachers with limited out-of-class preparation required, each lesson also includes teaching helps and visual aids to make the message more effective. The curriculum is also easily adaptable for different learning situations, including Vacation Bible School and other programs, and is suitable for children who have been involved in the church for years as well as those who have never heard God’s word before.

Through presenting Bible stories in ways that emphasize the glory of the gospel, children can learn how they fit into the gospel story and why they need God’s grace. As each lesson points children directly to Jesus, they will begin their lifelong journey of reading and understanding the Bible through the lens of the gospel and seeing the miraculous impact of Christ on their own lives.


Deborah Harrell is the Overseas Educational Advisor for Serge, with a degree in Child Development and Family Relations from the University of Arizona. Deborah is the author of the award-winning children's novel, Pinto’s Hope, and contributing author of numerous articles in professional journals. She is also the coauthor of The Gospel-Centered Parent, What's Up? Discovering the Gospel, Jesus, and Who You Really Are, and What's Up? Elementary: Learning about God and Yourself. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, Jason, and daughter, Sarah.

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"Deborah Harrell has done it again—What's Up Elementary helps grade school kids to learn deep truth about Jesus and then challenges them to trust and follow him with all their hearts. It's the perfect resource to help you prepare kids for baptism or confirmation."
Jared Kennedy, Pastor of Families, Sojourn Community Church—Midtown in Louisville, KY; author of The Beginner's Gospel Story Bible

"I don't remember much about the lessons that I learned when I attended Sunday School as a child. I remember a little musty room with a flannel graph and pictures of Jesus . . . and I remember thinking I could never be good enough for this Man to love or welcome me. I don't think I ever heard—at least not in a way I understood—that Jesus lived as he did for that very reason. I could never be good enough. I simply needed to believe. I needed to hear the good news that there was someone who was good in my place and died because I wasn't. And it's that heart-rejoicing message that you'll give to your children every Sunday with this wonderful new curriculum. I'm so thankful for Deborah and for the work New Growth is doing. You will be too."
Elyse Fitzpatrick, Author of Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus

"We entrust the children of Serge's educational plans to Debbie Harrell for the same reason I'm highly recommending the elementary school edition of What's Up?—Debbie has an amazing ability to bring the message of grace to children's hearts in a way that is both engaging and transformative. If you're looking for something that is truly focused on Christ and the gospel as the way to see young kids grow in their faith, this is the curriculum you've been waiting for!"
Bob Osborne, Executive Director, Serge

"Deborah Harrell's, What's Up Elementary Curriculum is a great resource for the church in discipling it's young children! It is centered on Jesus, focused on heart change, and directed toward kingdom engagement. I can't wait to see how this will be used to raise up the next generation of missionaries and kingdom workers!"
Lloyd Kim, Coordinator, Mission to the World

"Deborah has written an insightful, creative, Biblical, Christ-centered study for teachers and children to be used in Sunday school, vacation Bible school, Christian school, and homeschoolers. She tells God's story and invites teacher and children into His story with creativity, memory work, prayer, and wise applications starting with creation and ending with sending them out to tell the story. In every lesson she seeks to reach the heart. The content is thoroughly Biblical, very practical, and a must if you are a mother, teacher, or involved with teaching children. Teacher and pupil will be blessed.”
Rose Marie Miller, Author of From Fear to FreedomNothing Is Impossible With God, The Gospel-Centered Parent with Jack Klumpenhower and Debbie Harrell.

"When it comes to teaching kids the word of God, we often hold out cotton candy as a poor substitute for the gospel. Anything headier we assume is too hard to digest. But if teaching precedes understanding, we have the great opportunity to shape their understanding by giving them the meat of the gospel to chew on from the time they are young. What's Up Elementary is built on this premise and why I highly recommend it for all teachers and parents of elementary age students."
Kristen Hatton, Author of Face Time: Your Identity in a Selfie World and Get Your Story Straight

“The What's Up? Elementary Curriculum skillfully designed to introduce young learners to Jesus. The crafts and activities, Bible memory and instruction all work together like the instruments of an orchestra to sound out the most beautiful symphony of all—the message of the gospel. If you're searching for a curriculum that is both fun for the kids and chock full of truth, look no further.”
Marty Machowski, Family Pastor; author of The Ology, Dragon Seed, The Gospel Story Bible, and other gospel-centered resources for church and home

"I am grateful for New Growth Press's consistency in publishing curriculum that is rich in biblical content and focused on leading us to see and know Jesus. Debbie Harrell's What's Up? Elementary is no exception; it is compelling and engaging, equipping teachers to lead with confidence. It fixes our eyes on Christ and the kingdom of God and is sure to aid churches in the faith formation of young families."
Ethan Smith, Pastor for Students & Families, Hope Presbyterian Church, Winston-Salem, NC

“In What’s Up Elementary, educator and author Debbie Harrell enables ordinary people like you and me to introduce children to the love and truth of Jesus. Making the Bible accessible to 9-year-olds requires one both grasp the richness of theology and employ a spectrum of creativity that continually invites attention. Harrell does both artfully. Her questions will engage children's minds and emotions, her crafts will delight their senses, and her memory work will stick in their hearts." 
Jennifer Myhre, Pediatrician; author of the Rwendigo Tales series, Missionary Area Director with Serge 

"In our identity-confused culture, what could be more vital to the next generation than asking and answering: Who is Jesus? And who are we really? In What's Up? master-teacher Deborah Harrell equips parents and teachers with gospel-rich resources for helping seven- to ten-year olds understand their new identity in Christ. The more I read What's Up?—with its Bible stories, activities, and particularly good discussion questions—the more I wanted to use these lessons with my own family. For the children you love, let What's Up? serve as gospel-guide on a life-changing journey of discovery in Christ!"
Champ Thornton, Author of The Radical Book for Kids and Pass It On: A Proverbs Journal for the Next Generation

"What's Up Elementary: Learning about Jesus and Yourself is a much needed curriculum to have in our tool belts in Christian Education. It takes teachers, and kids back to the basics, yet helpfully explains through exercises and discussions the beautiful complexity of how the Gospel shapes and changes our children's lives. This curriculum would be helpful to both children who have not ever read the Bible and those who have grown up in the church as it makes accessible concepts and truths that can often be hard for our children to grasp. Mostly it presses home for teachers and leaders a much needed reminder that we ultimately rely on the Holy Spirit as we lay these truths before our kids." 
Jen Sanders, Children's Ministry Director, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, Winston Salem, NC

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1 Review

  • 5
    Great Resource

    Posted by Marty on 06 21 2021

    We use this curriculum for 4th and 5th graders at our church. It lives up to the subtitle: Learning about Jesus and yourself. What we like is that the focus is not only on Jesus, but on the great things he has done for us. In other words - his grace is emphasized. The language of the lessons is on the kids level. The activities and crafts provide some great ways to help the students connect with the material. We also like the Bible memory booklet and the memory verse with each lesson. The only "improvement" we've made is adding some games that go along with the lessons. We wish there was a part II to this curriculum, it's very well done!

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