Grosse Ile Presbyterian Church
Saturday, July 02, 2022

Workshop Rotation Model


In 1990, Rev. Neil MacQueen and Melissa Armstrong- Hansche, staff members at the Barrington Presbyterian Church in Barrington, IL, created what became known as the Workshop Rotation Model*  for Sunday school. Other Christian educators in the area soon became involved in using and further developing this model. The model soon spread beyond the Chicago area.  Churches across the country, representing a wide number of denominations, now use the Workshop Rotation Model*.

In a rotational setting, the same Bible story or theme is taught for several weeks.  Each week, learners rotate to a different station.  The story remains the same, but children encounter it in different ways in each station. Repetition is important. The more different ways children explore a story or concept, the more it is reinforced in their memories.  The variety of experiences keeps interest high throughout the unit.  Teachers teach the same lesson, with age-level adjustments, for the length of the rotation.

Rotational learning is based on "Multiple Intelligence Theory." For much of the 20th century, psychologists believed that intelligence could be objectively measured and expressed by a single number, or "IQ" score.  In 1983 Harvard Psychologist Howard Gardner challenged this idea.  Gardner argued that an IQ score defined human intelligence too narrowly.  He proposed the existence of at least 7 basic intelligences that we all possess in varying amounts. (Since then Gardner has defined an 8th intelligence and possibly a 9th.) Rotational learning takes into account all the different ways children learn and offers a wide variety of activities to reach each child with the message of God's redeeming love in Jesus Christ.