Church School for Children

Church School Children collect Easter Eggs

The Memorial Church of Harvard University welcomes the presence and involvement of young people and their families! In addition to a multigenerational worship service, we also offer specific programs and supervision for children during the morning worship hour. We provide Church School for children ages 3 through 16. The Church School is a nurturing Christian environment that strives to honor the intelligence, creativity, and difference of the children in our care. 

Parents with infants are most welcome in worship! The Baby Oasis is available downstairs for infants and children not yet old enough for Church School. Parents are invited to use the space as a respite for crying little ones, for nursing, and for any other parenting needs.

Contact Ministry Fellow Westley (Wes) Conn at westley_conn@harvard.edu for information or questions about Church School programs.

Church School Registration

Church School Staff

Arrival and Departure

We begin every Sunday service as a multigenerational community. Then, on most Sundays from September to May, young people leave after the Passing of the Peace for Church School, which occurs roughly at 11:15 a.m.

Please be prompt in picking up your child(ren) at the conclusion of Sunday services. We kindly ask that all parents adhere to our safety policy when picking up their child(ren), no matter if you are visiting or if you are “regulars.”

On Communion Sundays, the children return to worship to celebrate Communion with their families.

Safety and Security

The Memorial Church of Harvard University is committed to providing a safe environment for everyone, especially young people. All Church School staff uphold to the University’s standards for the safety and protection of minors; information regarding this policy can be found here. All staff are CORI-checked and trained in the church’s emergency protocols.

We require all families particpating in Church School to obtain a pager upon arriving to church, one pager per family is required. This system is used to communicate with family members of children attending Church School. To obtain a pager, please speak with an usher.

Curriculum

The Memorial Church of Harvard University is broadly Protestant and inter-denominational, which means that Church School differs from other programs offered by single denominational parishes. Each Sunday we emphasize biblical themes and scripture, Christian responsibility and service, and components of Protestant worship. Our curriculum is age-appropriate and carefully planned to meet the spiritual, emotional, and cognitive needs of each child, nurturing a faith that can stretch and grow throughout maturity. We also aim to connect the themes and practices of the main worship service upstairs into the Church School experience.

Class Structure

Young people are grouped into classes according to age so that we may provide developmentally appropriate instruction – pre-k and kindergarten, 1st/2nd grade, 3rd/4th grade, and 5th/6th grade. Each Sunday, we begin with a brief gathering time of worship, music, and a lesson or theme from scripture. After this gathering time, the children break into their classes for small group discussion and activities that reinforce the lesson. A light snack is provided at the end of the small-group lessons. Children also engage in service projects throughout the year, including fundraisers, like toy and clothing drives. 

Confirmation is offered for students in grades seven and eight. Confirmation offers a way to engage questions of Christian identity and one’s personal faith. The class examines elements of the Christian tradition and explores the themes and books of the Bible, while also taking part in interdenominational and interfaith experiences. The class concludes with a confirmation service in May.

The Teen Class is offered for young people ages twelve through sixteen. This class is designed to continue the development of Christian identity by engaging religious literacy and topics of faith such as justice and love. Students have the opportunity for service learning, teaching, and monthly community building activities.

Family Involvement

Parents are the most vital component in the spiritual growth of their children. We encourage parents to have an active role in their child(ren)’s faith formation by reinforcing themes learned about each Sunday. Re-read passages from the Bible with children and talk about their significance. Discuss how the themes or stories relate to our daily lives. Review the take-home portion of the learner leaflet.

The Church School hosts various family events throughout the year, like our annual Book Talk and Easter Egg Hunt. Additionally, parents can get involved by volunteering to provide snack or to be a substitute teacher.

Family Reading Resources

For Young Readers

Snuggle Time Prayers by Glenys Nellist
A Church for All by Gayle E. Pitman
Maybe God Is Like That Too by Jennifer Grant
For the Beauty of the Earth by Folliot S. Pierpoint
When God Made You by Matthew Paul Turner
Adriana’s Angels by Ruth Goring
When God Was a Little Girl by David R. Weiss
God’s Dream by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams
Images of God for Young Children by Marie-Helene Delval
At Your Baptism by Carrie Steenwyk and John D. Witvliet
The Lord’s Prayer, Illustrated by Tim Ladwig
I Miss You: A First Look At Death by Pat Thomas
Manger, Illustrated by Helen Cann and poems selected by Lee Bennet Hopkins

Bibles for Young People

Frolic First Bible: First Faith by Sparkhouse Family
Children of God Storybook Bible by Archbishop Desmond Tutu

For Teenage Readers

Grit and Grace: Heroic Women of the Bible by Caryn Rivadeneira
The World Jesus Knew: A Curious Kid’s Guide to Life in the First Century by Marc Olson
Dark Sons by Nikki Grimes
A Wreath for Emmett Till by Marilyn Nelson
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

For Parents and Families

Faithful Families: Creating Sacred Moments at Home by Traci Smith
I Wonder: Engaging a Child’s Curiosity about the Bible by Elizabeth Caldwell
Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver