I’m thinking through curriculum evaluation and selection right now, particularly what kids on the formal level need to be taught (i.e. story, principles, topics, theology, themes, etc.).
At church, due to the very nature of the environment, I would call it formal. While a home environment is more informal. Church brings forth systems, programs, structures, lesson plans and organization, therefore formal. Home, on the other hand, is more relational, unplanned, unstructured, no lesson plans, therefore informal.
Sometimes I think we as children’s ministry educators, at the formal level, try to cram both of these “environments” together. And while the aim and intent isn’t bad, we will always fall short of the mark (in my opinion).
We need to recognize that the formal environment has its limits and we can’t do both really well in one hour on one day a week. Once we know our limitations I think it will free us as formal educators to do the formal environment much more successfully.