Children’s Chapel and Church School

Storytelling in Children's Chapel

Storytelling in Children’s Chapel

K – 2nd Grade:

Children’s Chapel

Our kindegarten and early elementary school children gather in the Christ Church Chapel each week for a simple church service. We encourage active participation as we introduce young children to the traditions of Episcopal worship. Torch bearer, Bible bearer, reader, prayer leader … each child plays an important role. We sing, learn to pray with movement, and listen to the Gospel lesson of the day.

Our children then listen to a storyteller, who leads the children in an imaginative version of a Bible story. Using the “Godly Play” format, we use tangible figures and objects as a way of “acting out” the story. We encourage children to ask questions and to play with the figures. We then engage the children in a hands-on activity designed to reinforce the story’s message. Activities include simple outreach projects, for example, decorating a “mitten line” which invites parishioners to donate mittens to children and adults in a local shelter.

Presenting prayer boxes for Amistad orphanage in Bolivia

Presenting prayer boxes for Amistad orphanage in Bolivia

3rd – 5th Grade:

Gather ‘Round

Our third, fourth and fifth graders continue to build their understanding of the Bible and practices in the Episcopal worship service. They also get involved in outreach activities. Using the “Gather ‘Round” curriculum, we read and discuss classic Bible stories and engage in activities and games that help children relate to the story’s lesson.

We build on the foundation established in Children’s Chapel. We share the opening prayers in that Sunday’s worship service, and teach elementary school children the different prayers and responses. We also encourage children to pray to God using their own words.

Through outreach activities, students deepen their caring for other people and for animals needing our protection. They collect clothes for family shelters and socks and mittens for the homeless.  They also plan and host bake sales to raise funds for a local animal shelter.

Baking Thanksgiving pies for the Needham Food Pantry

Baking Thanksgiving pies for the Needham Food Pantry

6th – 7th Grade:

Re:form

Our sixth and seventh graders participate in a program that combines classroom discussion, participation in worship, and outreach activities. We use a popular national curriculum called “Re:form”.  It invites our students to explore their Christian faith and theology by using three forms of interaction: encounter, engage, respond.

Students encounter a theological question through a short, funny, animated film. Then, they explore a specific question, such as: “Who wrote the Bible, God or humans? Is God male? Why should I pray when God doesn’t answer all my prayers? If there is only one God, why are there so many different religions?” Through conversation and activities, the group engages with one another to answer the question.  With new insight, the students make videos, take photos, interview people, or create a tangible project in response to what they have learned.

Our middle schoolers love their outreach work. Each year they create an annual fundraiser in support of a different charity.

Our students enjoy the chance to get to know one another and build community through occasional trips to a local cafe for bagels and donuts.