What’s it like for a child on the first Sunday?

Entering the building

Coming into a new place can be overwhelming for children. There’s so much sensory input: — sights, sounds, smells, textures — that has to be accommodated.

  1. The DRE and members of the Religious Education Committee are available on Sunday morning before worship service to help make this experience a little less overwhelming. If desired, a mini-tour will be provided to parent and child  to the child’s new classroom before other children have arrived, possibly to meet the teacher, to find the rest rooms, and then return to the sanctuary. Knowing where things are — and knowing that Dad knows, too — can be very comforting for a child.
  2. Nursery care is available throughout the service for infants, toddlers, and young preschoolers.
  3. The DRE is available if you want to discuss any special needs your child may have (e.g. food allergies). This information helps the teachers create a welcoming environment in the classroom.

During the worship service

In general, all children, youth, and adults start Sunday morning in the sanctuary. Children generally sit with their family, though sometimes members of the children’s choir sit together.

At the end of the family service, the children depart the sanctuary for their classrooms.

  1. Some children do not want to leave their parent’s side. Some are anxious about going somewhere new. Others are curious about what their parent will see and hear during the rest of the worship service. Is the child going to miss out on something if he leaves? It is up to the parent to consider what is best for her child in this situation.
  2. Parents are always welcome to accompany their children downstairs to RE class. On the first day in particular, parents of younger children are encouraged to stay in the classroom for part of or even the entire class. Young children often view their parent’s silent presence (even for just 5 minutes) in the classroom as the “seal of approval” for religious education. Children are able to relax and start to engage in classroom activities. We encourage parents to remind their child that they now know where the classroom is and that when classes end, they will be there to pick him up.
  3. Children who remain in the sanctuary may experience boredom. Or not. If your child changes her mind about staying in the sanctuary, it is never too late to head down to religious education classes or to the nursery. If you have questions about where to go, stop by the religious education office on the lower level.

After the worship service

Coffee hour is held on the lower level in the vestry. Parents usually pick up their children immediately after the worship service and on the way to coffee hour.

  1. There is a children’s snack table in the vestry — separate from the coffee. It contains snacks and cups of juice. Gluten-free snacks are generally available in the kitchen.
  2. Coffee hour can be a bustling experience. Children (supervised by a  parent) sometimes play in the classrooms or out on the playground once they’ve had a snack.