First Day School (FDS) - Quaker Sunday School
Come visit with us! New families are welcome anytime throughout the year.
Gunpowder Meeting’s First Day School Program is designed to provide religious education in a nurturing and supportive environment. Classes begin in September and end in May.
The children begin each First Day by accompanying their parents to Meeting for Worship. After 15 minutes of worship with all the gathered Friends, the teachers lead the children into the classroom, where they will often sing, read stories, complete hands-on activities and share in our Quaker learning experience. Young children are usually accompanied by a parent. As those children become more comfortable within the classroom setting, childcare is provided.
First Day School teachers are volunteers who kindly offer their assistance in the classroom, providing opportunities for both children and adults in our community to get to know each other better.
For more information, please feel free to visit us on any First Day (Sunday), or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lessons are designed using a multi-age format so that every child can participate at his or her individual level. Volunteers provide lessons on a topic and in a format of their choosing. Some of the resources teachers use include Godly Play, Faith & Play, and Lighting Candles in the Dark. Other important lessons include Spirit & Nature activities and service projects.
Godly Play and Faith & Play stories are designed to introduce Young Friends to stories from the Bible and from Quaker heritage. These sessions include time for interactive and reflective engagement with the stories by all listeners. Lighting Candles in the Dark curriculum features stories from Quaker history of courageous people who used nonviolence and creative action to take a stand, often putting their lives in grave danger. “These stories illustrate our Quaker values and testimonies so well, describing actions of peace, simplicity and responsibility that are very important to life,” writes Virginia Wood.
First Day School's focus on Spirit and Nature is rooted in the Meeting’s Spirit and Nature Minute. In these sessions, we focus on awakening sensory awareness as we explore, learn about and develop connections with the nature of the Meeting House grounds. We consider these experiences as we reflect on excerpts from the Bible and historic and contemporary Quaker naturalists and spiritual thinkers. As we explore and play, we emphasize kindness for one another and for elements of nature.
Using service projects, our children experience a sense of purpose and accomplishment through outreach into the community. Some examples include making sandwiches and casseroles for “Our Daily Bread,” and collecting coins for schools left devastated by recent hurricanes.