This collection of best practices and ideas is provided to support Religious Education volunteer teachers and facilitators.
Quaker First Day School for Busy People
So it’s your turn to teach First Day School! Welcome to this opportunity to wonder with the young Friends in your meeting, to be a mentor and role model, and to join together as you search for the Inward Teacher available to all. There are some excellent materials available to you to help you organize and present a First Day School (FDS) program. We have listed some of them at the end of this article. But you’ve been asked today! Here are a few ideas that others have found helpful.
Starting, Re-starting, or Revitalizing A First Day School: Get Ready, Get Set, Teach!
To start or revitalize a First Day School, you will need to combine Advancement and Outreach with some practical tips on teaching and curriculum planning. This can be done. This can be fun! Read on! By Beth Collea, Religious Education Coordinator, New England Yearly Me
Bridging the First Day School Absentee Gap
A growing tension exists between our Quaker families and our culture of busyness and ‘round the clock scheduling. Caught between school sports and all of other choices that now exist on Sunday mornings, Quaker families often don’t prioritize meeting attendance. Needless to say, this is very discouraging for First Day School teachers who have worked hard to prepare a lesson. Irregular attendance also inhibits the formation of friendships among class members and the development of a sense of community. The more creative we can be as First Day School teachers about maintaining a connection with our families, the more successful we’ll be in our work to raise up the next generation of Quakers.
Dealing with Sporadic Attendance in First Day School
The problem of sporadic attendance in First Day School is common to large and small meetings. The number of school, sports, and enrichment activities available to children has expanded leaving them exhausted or otherwise engaged on Sunday mornings. Religious Education Committees have to work hard to creatively find ways to thrive in spite of these cultural pressures. To have a vibrant First Day School, we need to offer well-planned lessons, create opportunities for personal engagement, and work more explicitly at communicating with families and developing our sense of community. Here are some specific steps we’ve taken at Wellesley (MA) Monthly Meeting (NEYM) to connect more effectively with families and increase attendance. Beth Collea, Wellesley Meeting, New England Yearly Meeting | 6/19/12
Nurturing First Day of School Teachers: Do’s and Don’ts
Or … how to support Friends in your meeting who are teaching. Teachers usually teach because they feel led to, and that they have real gifts and ministry to offer children and youth, are often missed. Other adults focus on their own needs that the teacher has filled which are likely NOT why someone has chosen to teach.
Helping Prepare Children and Teenagers for Quaker Worship: Some of My Experiences Leading First Day School
Multiple Friends have expressed concerns in recent years about how many children and young people seem to have trouble making the transition from Young Friend (in First Day School) to Adult Friend (in meeting for worship, committee work, etc. ). I think we need to be intentional about helping them cross over and stop underestimating their capacity for spiritual experience! To that end, my meeting decided to offer classes in First Day School on waiting worship. One year we offered eight sessions for our teen population and the next year we offered three sessions to our elementary aged children. Both groups were team taught.
A “Friendly” Look at Multiple Intelligences
My “Friendly” outlook in writing this article is to look at the concept of multiple intelligences through the eyes of a Quaker and to consider possible applications in a First Day School setting. There comes a point in the life of a Friend when the realization comes that the inner and outer lives are connected. It is this inner light felt by individuals in the sense of “daily living” that we can present Friends social testimonies of peace, simplicity, equality and ecological witness to children in our classes.
10 Best Practices for Facilitators of Friends Adult Religious Education
Suggestions for Friends who take on an adult education session
Prepared by Sita Diehl, Nashville Meeting, SAYMA; Sallie Jones, Birmingham Meeting, PHLYM; Sally Lawson, Fredonia Meeting, NYYM; and Michael Gibson, FGC RE Coordinator, 2010