First Day School Program and Child Safety Procedures
Welcome to First Day School at Frederick Friends Meeting!
The First Day School (FDS) encourages children’s growth as they learn about the Light within themselves and others. Lessons include Bible study, Quaker testimonies and history, cross-cultural stories, peace and conflict resolution, personal growth exercises, and self-expression activities.
FDS lessons are offered by parent volunteers from the Meeting community from September through early June.
On the 1st Sunday of every month from September until June, the FDS holds Singing Sunday. All the children and interested adults gather in the FDS piano room to sing selections from Songs of the Spirit, or other appropriate music.
Children of all ages are welcome to participate in Meeting for Worship, held from 10:30 am to 11:30 am on First Day (Sunday). From 10:30 am – 10:45 am, participants are encouraged to sit quietly. Smaller children often “read” books or play with toys.
After the first 15 minutes of worship, FDS attenders silently get up and walk to that day’s activity. A child may stay for the duration of Meeting for Worship with an adult.
During the summer months (weather permitting), the children walk to a nearby playground, accompanied by parent volunteers. On rainy summer days, children play games or do crafts in the front rooms, supervised by parent volunteers.
As in any school setting, students and teachers need to feel safe. For this purpose, we have instituted the following Child Safety Procedures.
First Day School classes
If this is the first time your child is attending FDS, you may want to escort your child to the FDS classroom. You may stay in your child’s classroom if this would be more comfortable for your child. Where there is a question about appropriate age or grade group, we encourage you to place your child where he or she is more content.
If you plan to attend the Meeting regularly, please give the FDS Co-Clerks your child’s name, your name, phone number, and email address.
First Day School Child Safety Procedures
- Parents are responsible for the supervision of their own children at Meeting and on the property before and after FDS. Children are not permitted on the second floor or in the basement alone after FDS.
- The parent of the child should provide permission for one-on-one interaction between an adult and child during FDS. A FDS Clerk or a designated substitute will check to ensure that a teacher is available in each classroom.
- When a child wishes to leave the classroom, the teacher will escort the child and ask a teacher from another class to keep an eye on the class until the teacher returns. For older students, teachers should use their judgement regarding students leaving the classroom.
- Teachers will talk with the parents of children who repeatedly need to leave their class to determine a solution.
- When a family brings a visiting child to Meeting or FDS, the host family is responsible for the visiting child who is welcome to attend FDS.
- FDS teachers are approved by the FDS Committee and must have attended Meeting for a minimum of six months before volunteering.
- FDS clerks will explain FDS procedures to teachers, parents, students, volunteers, and members and attenders of Meeting. Teachers will remind students of procedures on a regular basis.
- Ministry and Counsel Committee Clerk will notify FDS Clerk if there is a need to inform parents of an attender with a history of child sexual abuse.
CHILD ABUSE INCIDENT RESPONSE PLAN
In recognition that places of worship are not immune to the occurrence of child abuse and at the advice of the Meeting’s insurance carrier, the following Response Plan has been developed. If a suspected child abuse incident occurs on site or at a Meeting function, the Meeting will follow the following response plan. All Clerks and FDS teachers will be trained in taking reports of incidents. And through this brochure, we will explain to parents and Meeting attenders and members to report all incidents to the Clerk of Meeting.
1. An adult who sees or hears about a possible child abuse incident reports the incident to the following people:
- the child’s family member,
- Clerk of Meeting,
- Frederick County Department of Social Services (FCDSS), at 301-694-2464, and
- if there is an immediate medical emergency or need for protection, the police (911).
2. The report must include the following information:
- Name, age, gender, address of victim
- Name, age, gender, address of alleged perpetrator
- Their relationship
- Nature, times, and locations of misconduct
- Witnesses and or evidence
3. The adult who became aware of the incident encourages the family or child to make a report to FCDSS.
4. Clerk of Meeting notifies:
- Clerk of Trustees,
- Clerk of Ministry and Counsel Committee,
- BYM General Secretary, and
- Insurance agent.
If Clerk of Meeting cannot serve as spokesperson, the Clerk designates a Meeting spokesperson. The Clerk keeps records of all phone calls, contacts and responses. With permission, Clerk seeks information from FCDSS.
5. Ministry and Counsel Committee
- offers clearness committee to parties involved if Meeting attender or member is involved;.
- offers a referral to professional for counseling services;
- discerns if and how to report incident to Meeting.
- treats information confidentially and
- provides information only on a need-to-know basis.