Friends General Conference

Together we nurture the spiritual vitality of Friends
Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)

What's Going On in First Day School?

Public ContentAnyone can view this post


The new FDS year started out nicely with a good turnout at the annual pancake breakfast.  Thanks to Bob Newbery once again and to all the helpers, young and older, who made the event work!  

With the wonderful weather we were able to eat outside as well as indoors.   Many adults from early and late Meeting were on hand, as well as 17 FDS children.  After the breakfast we broke out into our four classes:  Pre-K – 1st grade, 2nd - 5th grade, middle school, and high school, to meet with teachers.  We had several new children, so getting acquainted was really important.  Quite a few people were unable to make this first meeting, but we expect them to join their groups soon.   

Ginger Morgan and Chris Frakes stepped down from lead roles this year in order to focus on other responsibilities.   Ginger and Chris, thanks for your inspired work with the children last year!   

We welcomed two new lead teachers in our youngest groups.  Sita Diehl will share lead duties with Mary Collet in the Pre-K – 1st grade group and Chloe Gooditis will be a leader in the 2nd grade – 5th grade group along with Nathan Brelsford. 

 The MMM First Day School committee has also hired Sita to be the new First Day School education coordinator.  In 2016 the Meeting divided the duties of the FDS coordinator into two part-time positions:  education coordinator and program coordinator.  Randy will continue as program coordinator with overall oversight of the program and Sita will focus on curriculum development and week-to-week support of teachers.  

Sita grew up in Madison, but lived in Nashville, TN for 25 years.  She is a long-time member of Nashville Friends Meeting and she coordinated the First Day School in that Meeting for many years.  We’re very excited about the skills and loving energy that Sita brings to our First Day School program!  

Here are some upcoming events to mark on your calendars:

10/12 - 10/14  NYM high school retreat  at Camp Woodbrooke in Richland Center.   If you haven’t already received registration information, contact Cynthia Drake at or Shel Gross or Randy Korda at Madison Meeting.

Registration deadline is Oct 10. 

10/14  Farley Center apple picking and cider pressing.    This will be an event that we hope all our families will enjoy! Children will go there with their families rather than to FDS on that day.   Teachers can participate as well, as members of the community.   For the schedule, driving directions, and car-pooling arrangements, check the various announcements on line and posted in the meetinghouse.  If you would like to carpool, please sign up on the sign in sheet at the top of the stairs at the meetinghouse.

We will have some teachers stay behind at the meetinghouse in case any families choose to come to Meeting instead of the Farley Center.  In the event of rain we’ll have the regular FDS program at the meetinghouse. 

10/21/18  Whole Community Meeting for Worship

As Christel Jorgenson of Cambridge MA Meeting observed,  “What a challenge our form of worship is for children! Even if you just consider the visuals--"still forms on every side"--it looks like a room full of adults either falling asleep or being punished with a "time out!" How can children be helped to feel the depth, the quickening, the opportunity to encounter God that draws us together?” 

We talk about our values and practice centering activities in First Day School classes, and we enter the adult Meeting for the last 15 minutes, but we’d like to offer more opportunities for our children to worship with parents and other adults in this Meeting. 

On October 21 at 11:15, children, parents, and other adult Friends will meet together in a Whole Community Meeting for Worship that will replace First Day School and the 11:15 un-programmed Meeting for Worship.   The worship will utilize a programmed format that may include songs, stories, movement, worship sharing, and centering activities to create a shared worship experience for children and adults.   This experiment received broad support at the weekly forum on Feb 18 and a report on the forum was featured in the March 2018 Newsletter First Day School Committee and Ministry and Counsel will consider how we might obtain feedback on the experience and discern where the spirit is leading us.

11/30/18-12/2/18  Northern Yearly Meeting / Illinois Yearly Meeting retreat for middle school and high school Friends   (SEE LINK BELOW)

The theme of the retreat is OUR WHOLE LIVES.   OWL is a comprehensive sex education curriculum developed by the Unitarian Universalist Church and the United Church of Christ.    This retreat does NOT present the  complete OWL curriculum, which is much more extensive than could be included in one weekend.  Selected topics from OWL will be presented and used to stimulate discussion.  Even if you have taken the OWL course you could still have a lot of fun exploring this subject with a group of NYM / ILYM  young Friends.  The group would be divided into MS and HS subgroups for this part of the program.

And most of the weekend you'll be doing the fun activities you've come to associate with Yearly Meeting retreats, except that this will be a supergroup from TWO Yearly Meetings!

So mark your calendars and watch for further announcements!  You won't want to miss this one