We have three Sunday school classroom levels led by dedicated teachers and assisted by a group of committed volunteers: Preschool, Kindergarten-3rd, and 4-5th. The Preschool and K-3 classrooms use the Montessori-based curriculum, Godly Play, in which the children gather in a circle and a Bible story is presented with wooden and felt materials. The 4-5 classroom uses the All Things New curriculum, which offers a rich mix of age-appropriate activities centered on scripture and Episcopal basics.
Twice a month parish musicians lead the children in music during this time. At around 10:45 am the children join the service upstairs in the main church, processing to the children’s entrance hymn and circling around the altar for the children’s homily. After the homily, children join their families for the rest of the service. Every Sunday custom-made coloring sheets and crayons are placed on the pews for children of every age to enjoy!
In Godly Play, biblical stories are presented with simple and beautiful figures and models and are told, not read. In this way, children experience the stories rather than just learn about them. The children respond to the stories/lessons by drawing or painting, or they have the option to work with the story elements of the presentation to tell the story again. Children bring their life experiences into dialogue with the sacred stories and tell those stories to others. There is then a “wondering” section during which the children are encouraged to think about and talk about the lesson. The key to this approach is that the stories are presented in the context of worship and become the children’s (and the teacher’s) way of worshiping.
All Things New
All Things New can be described as thoroughly scriptural, thoroughly liturgical, and thoroughly Episcopal. Each season the curriculum follows an overarching theme in which stories from both the Old and New Testaments are explored. The teachers use posters, music, and a mixture of art, movement and faith skills to respond to weekly scripture passages.
Our informal children’s singing group called Joyful Noise performs during the 10:00 am service several times a year. Parent volunteers lead the children in music twice a month during Sunday School, where they sing everything from “I’ve Got the Joy” to “Wade in the Water” to “Go Now in Peace.”