On Children at Meeting

SFMM Meetinghouse Children's Room

We recognize children of all ages as junior members of our worship community and welcome them both in First Day School and in Meeting for Worship. Although most children attend First Day School, families may also choose to stay together in worship for the entire hour.

Children and First Day School Programs

childrenplayingFirst Day School programs are available every Sunday from approximately 11 am until 12:10 pm to coincide with rise of Meeting. Child care is available starting at 10:40 am for parents who are going to Meeting.

It is very helpful to the children if parents can arrive early enough to show the children where meeting for worship is held and to introduce then to the first day school teacher and other children.

We have a regular program for children from 0-17 which includes study of Quaker faith and practice, children’s Advices and Queries and Testimonies and their application in daily life, stories from Quaker history and biography, Old and New Testament study, the study of other faiths, the overall structure of Quaker meeting, and other Quaker practices. Three separate spaces house our First Day School program on the second floor of the Meetinghouse, each containing age-appropriate materials and furniture.

Joining Meeting for Worship

Children are invited to join in Meeting for Worship during the first 15 minutes, and then exit with their teacher at the same time that latecomers are admitted to Meeting. Younger children are welcome to stay for as long as they are able. On fourth Sundays of each month, children come down to join the final 20 minutes of worship as a group.

Sounds and activities that can usually be absorbed into the silence include:

  • the gurgling, cooing and nursing sounds of infants
  • a mother and child’s movements related to nursing
  • parent and child movements related to bottle feeding
  • occasional loud whispers of young children
  • quiet play with soft toys (e.g. a small stuffed toy or play dough)
  • the quiet turning of book pages

Note: board books are available in the First Day School classroom or the library.

After Meeting For Worship

animal wafflesChildren come downstairs during the announcements. They are welcome to sit with you or to quietly go to the Fellowship Hall. They are welcome to join us for refreshments when Meeting rises. Every first Sunday, there is a potluck lunch for all who attend Meeting. There is no organized childcare during this time. Please remind children to walk, not run, in the Fellowship Hall and to be careful not to bump into others as they are enjoying fellowship. Toys are available in the toy box for children to play with on the carpet after the announcements have finished, while their parents enjoy the social time as well. We ask you to be aware of your children’s location and activities during this time.

Questions? Contact the Clerk of the Children’s Religious Education Committee, thank you.

Thanks to Redwood Forest Friends Meeting for original ideas.