Friends General Conference

Together we nurture the spiritual vitality of Friends

Children & Youth

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THE CARE AND SPIRITUAL EDUCATION OF OUR CHILDREN

The Basics

We call our children's classes "First Day School", by Quaker tradition. The format on Sunday is as follows.

  • Children usually spend from 11:00 to 11:15 in Meeting for Worship with their parents.
  • Usually, one of the teachers will rise to leave at 11:15 and the children will follow the teacher. (If no one is there to do so, you can walk your child(ren) down at 11:15)
  • At 11:15 all school-age children gather downstairs in the Youth Room with their teachers. Younger children usually go to the nursery.
  • School-age children begin by singing a song together.
  • After the song, all the children and adults in the room share their first name and "a rose or a thorn" (good or bad event) from the past week.
  • Depending on the number of children, they may be divided into two groups by age, or they may stay together for a shared lesson.

The first Sunday of the month is designated as Children's Meeting for Worship in First Day School. As a compliment to silent worship, we provide more structured activities to help the children open a door to spiritual experiences. These vary each month and have included guided meditations, yoga, qi gong, singing, meditative drawing, etc.

The Nursery for Our Youngest Children

Children from birth through Pre-K can spend meeting time in childcare. Click -> Nursery for more information.

OUR APPROACH

Do our children receive the loving care of the meeting?

Does the influence of the meeting promote their religious life and give them an understanding of the principles and practices of Friends?

Do we offer our young people opportunities for fellowship, for service, for religious instruction, and for participation in the life of the meeting?

These queries express some of the deepest aspirations Quaker parents have in seeking a spiritual upbringing for their children.  Likewise, they present an awesome challenge--and ongoing joy-- for the Meeting and the adults engaged in the religious education program.  Just as important is our core belief that there is that of God in every child, each one bringing gifts destined to unfold in their own time and often in amazing ways when nurtured and shared in loving community.  Thus our adult teachers seek to nurture these gifts and practice tender patience in the light of each child.

OUR PROGRAM

Spiritual Education for Older Children

Depending on the number of children in the meeting at any given time, we strive to offer age-appropriate classes for kindergarten through high school-age children.  All classes are conducted in warm, recently refurbished rooms with easy access to the outside for additional space to play and explore. Two of the classrooms--the Jungle Room and the Ocean Room--were painted by the children from our Meeting!

Our curriculum, while anchored in the core teachings and testimonies of Quakers. We stress Quaker values (easily remembered with the acronym SPLICES).

  • Simplicity,
  • Peace,
  • Love,
  • Integrity,
  • Community,
  • Equality, and
  • Stewardship for the earth,

We also strive to introduce our young people to the wisdom and spiritual teachings of many cultures and traditions worldwide.  This is in keeping with the Quaker belief that there is that of God in every person and our intention to respect and honor that Light both intellectually and experientially.

The Meeting has a wealth of resources for our teachers and young people to draw on including a strong library, respected instructional curricula, and materials for artistic expression. Some of the most valuable resources, however, remain our meeting members themselves who are called upon, in a myriad of ways, to share their lives and experience of the Divine with our youngsters as they grow and deepen their own spiritual lives.

Wider Community of Quaker Youth

Beyond the immediate meeting community, our older children are given opportunities to be part of a larger community of Quaker young people by attending regional gatherings. There are excellent youth programs at the New York Yearly Meeting retreat center called Powell House. New York Yearly Meeting (our parent organization) sponsors a Junior Yearly meeting for a week every summer at Lake George and has sessions in fall and spring which usually have a youth component.

For more information about the youth religious education program, contact jmanda[email protected].

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