What do you want out of First Day School?
In the last round, my big project was to start a more intentional curriculum for preschoolers. Now my main concern is to build a more intentional program for middle schoolers. Funny how our interests change over time, huh? Especially as my children age into and out of these groups.
The program that the committee set up nine years ago is still officially the plan, although it’s not fully functioning anymore. Each month, the theme corresponds to the topic of the PYM Advices and Queries for the month. There is a four week rotation of teachers so that each month, the teachers will each take a turn addressing the topic. We have a great collection of curricula that we bought from the FGC bookstore over the years.
What’s been missing for a while now is an organizing force. Someone to plan ahead, to check in with teachers, to organize teacher training, etc. But I think that our new committee Clerk (not me) has that ambition for the committee so I’m not so worried about that.
The other thing we did, back in the olden days when I was clerk, sonny, was to have a series of discussions, on the committee and in the meeting for business, about what were the goals or purpose of First Day School. We asked a broad range of Friends, “What do you want our children to get out of our FDS program?” There were a lot of different answers, of course, but I think we were able to identify some common elements and to keep them in mind as we prepared our curricula for each year. That really helped us make choices and provide some cohesion to our program.
So I’ve been thinking again, now that I have more experience as a parent and as my older son reaches the end of his FDS time, what do I want my children (or all children) to get out of First Day School?
I want them to learn how to be a Quaker.
What do Quakers do in meeting for worship and why do they do it that way?
How do Quakers make decisions, as a community and in their personal lives: about the work that they do, how they spend their time, how they treat other people, what they consume or not?
By the end of eighth grade, I’d like them to have covered what they need to know to become a member of our meeting. Starting in 9th grade, or age 14 more or less, I’d expect my children to come to meeting for worship like an adult and seek religious education in other ways.
And I want them to be able to explain it. This is the range of Quaker belief on such & such a topic, and I fall ___________ (wherever they are) on that subject.
If our FDS made it that far, we’d be amazing.
What do you want our children to get out of their religious education program?
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