First Day School
We provide First Day (Sunday) School for children and adolescents during Meeting for Worship. Children of all ages are always welcome in Meeting for Worship.
- 10:30 to 10:45 AM - All children ages attend the first 15 minutes of Meeting for Worship with parents.
- 10:45 to 11:30 AM - A First Day School Teacher will accompany the children from the Meeting House to their class on the Buckingham Friends School campus. Parents are welcome to accompany children to classes and remain with them as long as they wish.
Meeting for Worship
Children are encouraged to attend Meeting for Worship with their families for the first 10-15 minutes, with the understanding that silence is a learned skill and may take different forms. As a community, we welcome children to join us in worship and are warmed by their presence and offerings. At the signal of their teachers, children leave meeting and go to participate in our First Day School Program.
Some things you can do as a family to prepare for Meeting include:
- As a family, talk about why you are coming to Meeting.
- Practice having quiet time before meals or at bedtime.
- Talk with your children about ways to center down so they can enter into the spirit of worship. Sitting on your lap or closing their eyes may help.
Here are some centering suggestions that you may want to try.
- Listen to the words or music that repeat themselves in your mind.
- Listen to sounds outside of the Meeting room; inside of it; inside yourself.
- Feel yourself breathe and try to give it a gentle rhythm.
Remember that for all of us, the experience of worship grows with patience and practice.
The First Day School Committee is responsible for the religious education of children and adolescents in the Meeting.
We seek to nurture and support the Meeting's young people and their families in their spiritual journeys. The First Day School Committee aims to provide resources that enable young people and their families to learn about their own, the Meeting's, and Quakers' place in God's world and in the stream of Judeo-Christianity. We also want to increase awareness of and respect for other religious traditions throughout time.
We hope that some of the lessons and resources we provide can be useful to the students and their families throughout the week. The First Day School Committee wishes young people to become aware of the content and practice of basic Quaker principles:
- There is that of God in everyone.
- Worship is a way of being in communion with and discerning the will of God.
- We honor connections between spiritual values, life in community and in the world.
- We follow the Peace Testimony and paths of non-violence.
- Simplicity is a way of life.
- We honor the queries and other testimonies as they appear in Faith and Practice.
We explore age-appropriate values, traditions and ideas. The lessons will include:
- The study of Quaker faith, practice and history
- The New Testament and Old Testament
- Community service* and activism
- A variety of understandings of God
- Judeo-Christian and other religious traditions
- Opportunities for play, community building, and expression.
Activities are frequently nature-focused using the Buckingham Friends School campus with its beautiful woods, playgrounds and gymnasium. Children are encouraged to wear appropriate clothing for indoor and outdoor play.
* Our monthly community service project involves baking (and taste sampling!) cookies for the local women's shelter.
For more information and resources on Quaker First Day School, visit Philadelphia Yearly Meeting at www.pym.org/children/