This page comprises a set of Frequently Asked Questions about our programs for children. If you have questions that aren't addressed here, please send them to the Religious Education committee [email protected] or contact any of the members of the Religious Education Committee.
What is the purpose of Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting's program for children?
Our purpose is to give our children a joyful involvement in Quaker community, a spiritual foundation and mindful experience of the inner light and participation in activities centered on the testimonies of Friends. We want parents to be free to go to meeting for worship, knowing their children are well cared for, safe, happy and learning.
Who are the Teachers?
Our Religious Education (RE) committee and teachers are experienced Friends, mostly volunteers from various fields in education. The committee appoints teachers for each group, then plans the curriculum and oversees the classes. There are two teachers, or a teacher and assistant, for each of the younger age groups (nursery and primary). Nursery staff is experienced in early childhood.
I understand that children are invited to sit in meeting for worship for the first 15 minutes, but what if my child can’t sit still for 15 minutes?
We ask parents to bring their children to Meeting for the first 15 minutes. Silence and stillness can be difficult for children and we are sympathetic to age-appropriate restlessness. Children may bring a book or a favorite toy from home that is quiet and peaceful. The nursery is open from 10:20 am until Meeting for Worship ends
What if we arrive for meeting just after 10:30?
Friends who arrive between 10:30 and 10:45 sit quietly in the Gathering Room. During meeting for worship the Gathering Room is a worshipful place, too.
What do the children do in their classrooms?
The children leave meeting for worship with their teachers at 10:45. The curriculum for 2018-19 on Quaker History and Testimonies is taught to engage the children at their developmental level with enlivening spiritual activities and lessons.
Bringing your children with some consistency helps build a classroom community.
How do parents and teachers communicate?
Our teachers welcome and encourage email and telephone communication with parents. Parents are asked to omplete an information and emergency contact form. We welcome feedback. Contact info can be found under “Who is on…” below
What happens after meeting and First Day School ends?
At then end of First Day School, teachers return the children to the Meeting Room and their parents who are then responsible for them. Families are welcome to stay for fellowship in the Social Room and we ask that children wait to go through the line for food with their parents. After meeting, children may play outside behind the meetinghouse where their parents can see them. Chestnut Hill Meeting maintains the playspace on the hillside, but parents should be aware the Wissahickon parkland has poison ivy. Everyone should wear shoes outside.
How are the classes configured?
Children are usually placed with their age/grade. Classes by age group are: Nursery, ages 0-4; Primary, grades K-3; Upper Elementary and rising Middle school, grades 4-6; Teens, grades 8 and up.
Are there holidays or traditions that are important to the children?
Chestnut Hill tradiitions include Welcome Back informational lunch in late September, family worship for all ages a few times during the year, service projects, work days on the yard, Christmas Breakfast in December, evening events such as family board games night, and an end-of-year family picnic During July and August, the children’s program is more informal, with meeting members leading games or activities. The calendar at the right shows events for children, teens and families at Chestnut Hill and Philadelphia area Quakers (labelled PYM)
Is there childcare at other times?
Childcare is available during adult programs on Sundays at 9 am if requested. Contact the Adult RE Committee to reserve. Childcare is available during Meeting for Worship ffor Business.
Who is on the Religious Education Committee?
Contact information for the committee is listed on the About Committees page of this website. Friends will help you find a committee member, so don’t be afraid to ask. If you have questions that aren't addressed here, please contact the Religious Education Committee.
10:30 - 10:45 – Children attend meeting for worship with their parent(s)
Nursery is available for children through age 4 from 10:20 until the close of meeting.
10:45 - 11:30 – Children are in age-appropriate classes with two adults per class
Usually in mid-June, First Day School ends, and an adult-supervised activity takes its place. As weather permits these are held outdoors.
Younger children study Old Testament/Hebrew Scriptures
Teens have an independent curriculum including World Refugees