The Youth Programs theme for the coming year, “Building the Quaker community we want to be,” is inspired by the hope that local meetings will consider the invitation from our Youth Programs to collaborate and use this theme in some way in your ministry with children and youth. Shared below are specific curriculum resources to support interest in thematic planning between our circles of spiritual community.
Children and youth in our meetings are part of all three circles shown to the right: the religious education programs in their meeting, the meeting community in worship and fellowship, and our wider yearly meeting family. In PYM Youth Programs, they have the opportunity to participate with other young people from across the region in one of three programs for Children, Middle School Friends, and Young Friends (high school).
How can we all model preparation, formation, and belonging in all our programs, build bridges between local meetings and the wider PYM family, and nurture our young people feeling authentically connected to the Quaker Way?
An Invitation to Be in the Circle Together
“Building the Quaker Community We Want to Be” will show up in different ways in the Youth Programs this year. Staff are excited about plans for the coming year, which include resuming the monthly online programs in September. Both of these programs are opportunities for children and families, and older youth to gather at less traditional times (that we think may work better for them!) with the bigger community of young people in PYM.
- Giant Children’s Meeting on 4th Sundays at 9am
- Youth-led Meeting for Worship on the last Sunday of the month at 8pm
Giant Children’s Meeting is also offered as a way to support adults who lead RE programs — perhaps this is a week each month when you can go to meeting for worship? At my meeting, we’ll encourage families to join at 9am online from home, and then have child care at the meetinghouse later that morning for families who come to worship.
We hope Friends will share invitations to Youth Programs with the families in their meeting, and that by connecting their formative experiences in the local and Yearly Meeting communities, our young people will experience a deeply grounded sense of belonging.
Curricula and Resources
Alongside the theme of “Building the Quaker Community We Want to Be,” there is also an opportunity to connect learning and witness across generations in our meetings. At our Annual Sessions this summer, the body heard reports and moved forward work around the topics of Eco-justice, Racial Justice, and membership and belonging. As Friends bring renewed or continued energy to addressing those concerns in our local meetings, let’s please consider how to connect the witness of the community with the religious education of our young people!
- Earthcare for Children Curriculum (downloadable, printable PDFs from Quaker Earthcare Witness)
- Speak to the Earth and It Shall Teach Thee
- Visit this section of the Religious Education pages for articles, curricula, children’s books, and other resources for families and adults working with children. Topics include how to talk to BIPOC and white children about racism and racial justice.
- Holy Troublemakers and Unconventional Saints (book and curriculum)
Quaker Identity & Belonging
- First Day Stories
- Finding the Light in You: Bright Silent Worship for Young Friends
- The Worship Kit
- Faith & Play Stories
- Spirit Rising: Young Quaker Voices
- Quaker Affirmation
Being the Quaker Community We Want to Be
- From the Center Out
- Growing in the Light, Pre-K-1
- Growing in the Light, 2nd-5th
- Growing in the Light, 6th-8th
- Growing in the Light, Adults and High School
- Teaching Quaker Faith and Practice to Children
- Teaching the Queries to Quaker Children
- Truth in Action
- Walking Cheerfully
Questions about Health Safety
Part of being an all-ages spiritual community is taking the needs of all ages into consideration when making community decisions. The blog post “Keeping kids safe and healthy while regathering for in-person worship” by Anita Peebles is an excellent place to begin this conversation and consider the health safety of children, particularly those under 12 and not vaccinated, as we begin to return to worship and other meeting activities in person. Health/Safety considerations in returning to RE programs and indoor spaces offers some specific ideas and practices for meetings to consider.
The American Academic of Pediatrics Association guidance for schools is that learning in-person is best for young people, and in addition, mask wearing should be universal (for children over 2 and adults). In addition, the CDC now recommends that vaccinated adults resume wearing masks indoors. While our religious education programs are not “school” the wisdom of being together in person seems clear, and meetings will need to come to a decision about mask requirements. Because children under 2 do not wear masks, parents should be brought into the conversation about their comfort level with nursery care, and meetings may not to consider whether to require child care workers to be vaccinated.
Like many of you, my meeting will gather outside as long as possible into the autumn months, and we will follow the masking practices of the Friends school who we share spaces with, when we move our children and youth programs indoors. We also sent out a simple Googleform questionnaire to families in the meeting, to gather from them a sense of their comfort levels with how we meet for programs, along with any questions or concerns they want to lift up.
[PYM does not dictate these practices to local meetings; this is meant to lift up questions and practices for those communities to consider.]
- Planning Calendar for First Day Programs 2021-22
- Looking Back and Ahead Planning Guide for RE Committees
- Youth Religious Education “Minute of Travel” for Religious Services
- Open Office Hours for Religious Education Sharing & Planning
August 26 from 1-2pm and 7-8pm
- Godly Play/Faith & Play Refresher for Fall
August 24, 7:00-8:30pm