Sunday school is a core part of O.R.U.C.C., but many adults know little about it. Even parents don’t always know much about what their kids do. I was and am still in the Sunday School program, but I wanted to learn more about what happens between dropoff and pickup. It has, after all, been many years since I started going to church. That’s why I interviewed one of our teachers, Jill Westberg, to find out more about what they do.
Unfortunately I only have time to write about one group of sunday-schoolers in this article, but there will be more information on the other groups in later editions. For this starting article I’m going all the way back to the beginning with the youngest group. Technically there is a nursery available to those in preschool, but Sunday School proper starts with the kindergarten-2nd graders.
This young group of Sunday-schoolers learn the most basic, simplistic parts of The Bible as a foundation for later religious growth and thought. Sunday School goes from 9:00 to 10:00 am. To start the day the little kids sing Christian kid’s songs with Children’s Education Coordinator and Music Director Julie Mazer. This includes classics such as This Little Light of Mine and Go! Tell it on the Mountain. After their musical foray with more exuberance than skill, they move into a more calm and directed section.
In the second part of class the children gather in the Frank Room, cozied up with their prayer shawls and blankets. Once they’ve settled down, Jill reads them a story from the Bible. This is usually about Jesus or the Apostles. To aid in learning there is an ace up the sleeves of the teachers, a large set of wooden figurines used to tell the stories. Though they are simple outlines with felt backdrops they are a great tool to visualize the scriptures. I remember that as a child I would return to the room after Sunday School so that I could make my own scenes and villages out of the miniatures.
The kids always love listening to the stories and being immersed in the Bible. This is a great way for younger kids with shorter attention spans to learn these core stories and ideas. Jill told me she loved it too. She said it was great being with the kids, seeing their joy and enthusiasm. As I said earlier, this is built on all throughout elementary and middle school, with children leaving the program in 9th grade with a deep and nuanced understanding of The Bible and what it means.