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

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  

The Meeting provides childcare and religious education for infants and young children through senior high school every Sunday.  Religious education begins with the children gathering with their parents and the entire community for the first fifteen minutes of worship.  It is here, in the gathered silence so contrary to our restless, noisy, contemporary lives, that children can begin to experience the gift of stillness and its central role in Quaker worship and life.  (Nursery care is always available during this time for parents who might wish to take full advantage of childcare for the entire hour of worship.) After this initial worship, the children then disperse to their various classrooms depending on age and interest.

The Nursery

Parents and their children, from birth through pre-K, love this warm, clean, sunlit room, designed to lift the spirit and resourced to engage eager minds and bodies.  Simple, age-appropriate toys and craft materials are available for the children. While there is no pre-determined curriculum, adult caregivers intentionally seek to engage the children in activities that model, through age-appropriate language and example, fundamental Quaker values such as peacemaking  (“I’m sorry!), equality (“Now it’s your turn!) and community (“I know how you feel.”).  The outdoor playground and fresh air are immediately accessible from the nursery.

Nursery care is available every Sunday during meeting for worship, 11:00 a.m.--12 noon and monthly during the business meeting, 1:00 p.m.--2:30 p.m, which young parents are always encouraged to attend.   

For more information about the nursery, please contact ______________.

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 Seaworld Room--were designed and painted by the children themselves!

Our curriculum, while anchored in the core teachings and testimonies of Quakers-- simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship--also strives 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.  

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 and excellent youth programs at the New York Yearly Meeting retreat center called Powell House.  Our teenagers have recently launched a bi-monthly teen fellowship among nearby Quaker meetings that is growing brighter every day!

For more information about the youth religious education program, contact ______

**as stated in Quaker Faith & Practice (link to F&P?)

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