What About Promotion Sunday?

At the church where I serve, Promotion Sunday, that day when kids move up to the next grade/class in Sunday School and other activities, for years occurred the first Sunday of September. However, by the time I arrived the date had been pushed back to the first Sunday in June. This was done primarily for one reason: by the time the summer had arrived our 5th graders were ready to promote into our middle school ministry (for those that don’t have a middle school ministry, you can probabcly relate to this with your 6th graders as they approach youth ministry).

One problem, however, that I encountered was that many in our preschool division were not quite ready to promote in June. For instance, our Kindergarten teachers had us order 3-4s curriculum because their kids were not quite ready for the K5 material. What to do?

I compromised. I went ahead and promoted my 5th graders into the middle school ministry at the end of May (which made both parties happy – including our 5th grade teachers who enjoyed taking the summer off from teaching) and we pushed promotion back to the first Sunday in August – not September. Because school starts in mid-August, we figured why not have the kids promote a little early before all of the back-to-school hype started off. September just seemed too late.

When does your Children’s Ministry or Sunday School do promotion Sunday?

What about you? When do you promote? What lessons have you learned about promotion?


  1. Donna says

    I would love to hear more about the ways people graduate walkers to Toddlers, 2 yr old Toddlers to 3s, 4’s & 5’s, etc.

    Also what are your thoughts about grouping 2- 3s together? 3-4s together, 4-5s together? Is there positives, negatives to any particular grouping?

  2. Cindy says

    We promote Labor Day weekend. The children have already started their new grade at school by this time, and so we make a big deal out of moving them up at Sunday School. I HAVE A QUESTION THOUGH . . . our church has traditionally presented Bibles to the 4th graders (ever since I can remember, and I’ve been a member for 19 years), but I’m reading more and more that the tradition has moved to 3rd graders. Can anyone point me in the direction of a good research article to present to our minister and education committee to get them “on board” with the idea?

  3. Deloris says

    We promote the 1st Sunday in August – like many of the above comments our 5th graders are ready to go but we have remained firm that all students promote at the same time….teaching that in this world we have to work with guidelines all the time not just when we want to…

  4. David says

    Since I have been at our church, for three years now, promotion has always been in June. Problem is South Carolina counts 6th grade as middle school. One of the issues that arise during promoting is children’s camp, which is in August. We promote the camp beginning in March and April. The youth group has their camp in early June. So the kids in 5th grade kids hear about children’s camp, but do not hear about youth camp, and it causes problems trying to assimilate those kids back into camp when they move out. Although we open camp to those going into 6th grade, there are still many who get lost in the shuffle. We also discovered when you promote 3 year olds into 4K, many are not quite ready for that step, and three extra months would help. We ask our parents of nursery age children to volunteer on a monthly basis. When you promote the kids out, those parents who were volunteering in the nursery go with them; and as stated earlier, when the summer rolls around and families take vacations, you are in desperate need of extra hands. After promotion, those extra hands are walking out the door with their not yet ready for prime time 4 year old.
    All that being said, we will be moving promotion in 2012 to the first week in August when the children return from camp.

  5. Susan Case says

    We are promoting everyone including 6th graderss on August 21st because most Rockford schools start at or after August 21st. We are also giving out backpacks to everyone in school, including our high-schoolers, on August 14th. I like the idea some of you had of promoting 6th graders in June and giving some of the Sunday school teachers half the summer off, too. I think I will tell my Pastor about it, because sometimes I have had only 4 students in Junior church this summer.

  6. Cindy says

    We do the same – promote the 5th graders but leave everyone else until September. My reason is that summer has inconsistent teachers as most of my teachers take at least 1/2 the summer off (I require them to). To move them up to that just makes a harder adjustment to a new room. In the fall, we are much better prepared, both with a new team of teachers and being back to the regular schedule fall brings to our classes.

  7. Sharon says

    A few years ago we promoted the first Sunday of September — needless to say – Labor Day weekend. Many of our families were out of town, so it always seemed somewhat lackluster or anti-climactic. Many of the children came to church the next Sunday with no accolade regarding promotion at all, just, “oh, you need to go to the ___ grade room now, and here’s your certificate and gift.” AND, the entire summer, children were asking why they’re still in the 2nd grade Sunday School when they’re now in 3rd grade. In their minds, when they move up in school, they move up everywhere!

    We decided to begin promoting in June about three years ago. We promote Kindergarten through 6th grade on the first Sunday of June, two weeks before school is out. All the families are here, which makes the gathering that much more exciting and meaningful for the children. Because of vacations, our classes are small during the summer. This gives our teachers time to build relationships with individual students in a smaller group setting, before all the students are in the classroom regularly. Although teachers were originally not sold on the June promotion idea, this one benefit has won them over.

    Our pre-school children promote on their birthdays, with some wiggle room for maturity/readiness. Some promote immediately, some wait a few months. Our Kindergarten class is for 5 yrs and Kindergarten, so those who have completed Kindergarten promote, and those who are going into Kindergarten stay in the class. The system is working well.

    The children are happy; the parents are happy; the teachers are happy; so I’m happy!

  8. Rosanna says

    We promote on the last Sunday in August. Then the children are in their classes for the first week in September when our curriculum begins

  9. Tammy Jones says

    We promote sixth graders in June and the others the first Sunday in September. We do this for the Kindergarten children to give them almost a month in school to get used to sitting and listening and lining up and such.

  10. Camille Luke says

    We present our entering third graders with a Bible from the church. Our kids that move up to junior high (7th grade out here)get promoted with words of encouragement. I also recognize our teachers for their dedication to teaching the kids. We do this in late August; around the time school starts. That way we know everyone is in town.

  11. Sharon says

    This is some time after you asked the question, but maybe for this September…at gospelpublishing.com there is a certificate of promotion, item # 065346, 6 for $3.60. You can also purchase a gold cross foil seal to affix to it, #147156, 6 for $1.79.

  12. Phyllis says

    We promote in September, the Sunday after labor day. School starts the Wednesday after labor day. So school is in session 3 days before we promote.
    We typically give the children a promotion certificate. I was wondering if you knew of a site where there are printable certificates appropriate to Sunday school promotion?
    Last year I ditched the certificates and gave EVERY child a gift bag of assorted candy. I talked about Faith and Reward from Hebrews. Those who believe in God must believe two things, that he is and that he rewards those who diligently seek him.
    I highlighted the sad truth that often we get more excited about a bag of candy than God and knowing him. But encouraged all the children to fight to believe that God’s reward is far greater than this bag of candy. Sunday school is a place where we can grow in our knowledge of God which we pray will increase their faith.
    The parents loved that exhortation to their children but missed the certificates, as they, unlike myself:), collect them. So this year I will do both!

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