Christian Formation for Children

Children are Welcome Here!

 

Ascension believes in its children-their innocence, energy, joy, spirit of wonder and the honesty of their questions.  We believe that children have a place at God’s table that is equal to that of the youth and adults of this parish. 

 

As of September 26, 2021, we offer two Sunday school classes, via Zoom, each week.  The class for 2nd – 5th graders is held at 2:00 p.m. and uses the Joyful Path curriculum. We have a class for preschool-2nd graders at 3:00 p.m., which uses the Godly Play curriculum.  Our Sunday afternoons together give us time to grow in our love for one another and in the knowledge that God is with us in all times and in all places. All are welcome to join us on Sundays for a most joy-filled time.  In January of 2022 we will reevaluate whether it is safe to meet in person, but even when it is safe to hold classes in person, we plan to continue offering a zoom option for attendance.

  • A Joyful Path (2nd-5th grade)

This curriculum is developed jointly by ProgressiveChrisianity.org and the Center for Progressive Christianity.  A spiritual curriculum for young hearts and minds, it is inclusive, compassionate, and “intra-spiritual” in the sense that it exposes children to the concept that many of the values taught by Jesus are found in other faith traditions.  It teaches children how to access the wisdom already implanted by God in their hearts, about the sacred character and unity of the cosmos, and how to expand their awareness of our Creator.

After we greet each other and catch up on what is happening in our lives, the Joyful Path class starts with a prayer.  Next we read a story which could be from a sacred text, a folktale or a short biography of an inspirational figure.  We use questions to stimulate conversation about the lesson and then each child responds with a project such as designing a sacred space, writing down and decorating a bible verse or making a map of where Jesus traveled. Children receive packets of items to use at home for their projects, such as feathers, printouts, scissors and markers. We close the class with a prayer of thanksgiving and petition which the children have opportunities to lead.

  • Godly Play (preschool-2nd grade)

This Montessori-based curriculum engages what is most exciting about religious education:  God inviting us into scripture and spiritual experience.  We explore sacred stories, parables and liturgy using figures and objects.  We provide each family a kit of craft supplies including modeling clay, clothes pins, fabric scraps, markers, stickers, pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks and various printouts so the children can work on craft projects in response to the story.  For example, during Advent the children made shepherd’s crooks, a donkey, and a picture of the road to Bethlehem.

We begin each class with the song “This is the Day the Lord Has Made”, and follow that with some simple yoga to help us prepare for the lesson. The storyteller then tells a story using the Godly Play materials.  Afterward, we discuss the wondering questions, such as “I wonder what part of the story you liked best?” “I wonder what part of the story you think is the most important.” “I wonder what part of the story you think we could leave out and still have all that we need?” and perhaps most importantly, “I wonder what part of the story is about you?” Wondering questions are the heart of the Godly Play approach. Each child hears the stories of the people of God and reflects on how the stories are manifest in their own lives.

After the wondering questions we work together on craft projects using the supplies in each child’s kit. We finish our class with prayers of thanksgiving and petitions. Each of us is invited to share something we are thankful for and then we pray together.

Although we miss meeting in person, virtual Sunday school has revealed some rich and unexpected blessings for which we are deeply grateful. One of the most wonderful results is that we are joined each week by children near us in Gaithersburg and Germantown, as well as Virginia, and even as far as Chicago, Illinois.

In addition to the classes on Sunday, we also send a monthly note to each family. The note contains a story and ideas for family discussion and activities. We understand that some children may prefer not to attend classes on zoom, so we send these notes to all families whether or not their child attends the zoom classes.

We welcome input; if you have ideas, suggestions, or are just interested, please contact the church or Michelle Wood at mdidavi@gmail.com