First Day School (FDS) is the Quaker equivalent of Sunday School. FDS is available to the children of members, attenders, and visitors, ages 3 and older. The First Day School is under the care of the Youth Ministries and Education Coordinator. First Day School classes are clustered by grade levels, usually grouped as: preschool (ages 3 & 4), K-2, 3-5, Jr. High (6-8), Sr. High (9-12). Regular attendance is encouraged, but one-time or irregular attenders are also welcome.
10:30 – 10:45am children attend Meeting for Worship
10:45 – 11:45am classes meet in classrooms
After 15 minutes of silent worship in the meetinghouse, the Friend holding the FDS banner rises and quietly leaves the meetinghouse. This is the cue for children, teachers, and parents who wish to assist their child to rise and follow the banner to the classrooms in the Friends Center.
Child Safety Policy
Friends Meeting at Cambridge (FMC) has a strong commitment to ensuring that all members and attenders, including children and youth, are treated with respect and consistently experience FMC as a community that is safe and spiritually nurturing. Over the past two decades, FMC has provided educational opportunities, adopted policies, and developed protocols that affirm that commitment and seek to proactively reduce the risk child abuse.
In our faith community, it is all of our responsibility to keep our children safe. This brochure provides a summary of key safety procedures, as well as some thoughts on how we can all work together to create a safe and nurturing space for young people. A trifold version of this brochure is available here and in hardcopy at FMC.
While we are dedicated to reducing risk, we are sadly aware that abuse of children and youth occurs in religious communities as well as in the wider society. As such we have a moral, and a specific legal, responsibility to respond to any concerns related to the abuse of a child. For more detailed information about our plans for such a response, please see our Policy on Child Safety and the accompanying protocols. These set forth FMC’s administrative, personnel, and program expectations for reducing the risk of and responding to any concerns of abuse.
First Day School Committee
The First Day School Committee works with the Youth Ministries and Education Coordinator to plan and refine the curriculum for preschool through high school, to recruit and support First Day School teachers, and to maintain a caring nursery staff. The committee has care of the religious education and spiritual growth of the infants, children, and youth of the Meeting, manages the Children’s Library, and supports parents in raising Quaker children and nurturing family spirituality. The Committee seeks to help children and adults have meaningful worship experiences, and to raise awareness and concern for children and families in the Meeting as a whole. Meets monthly on 1st Sundays at 12:15pm.
The First Day School Committee seeks to nurture and support the Meeting’s young people and their families in their spiritual journeys. They wish young people to become aware of the content and practices of basic Quaker principles not just on First Day in the classrooms, but throughout the week as well. These include:
- There is that of God in everyone
- Worship is a way of being in communion with and discerning the will of the Divine
- Honoring connections between spiritual values and life in community and in the world as expressed in social action
- Following the Peace Testimony and paths of non-violence
- Simplicity is a way of life
FDS explores age-appropriate values, traditions and ideas. It aims to provide resources that enable young people and their families to learn about their own, the Meeting’s, and Quakers’ place in God’s world and in the stream of Judeo-Christianity, honoring both our Christ-centered and our Universalist heritage and seeking to reach that place where the words come from. We also want to increase awareness of and respect for other religious traditions throughout time. The lessons include:
- Study of Quaker faith, practice, and history
- The New Testament and Hebrew Bible
- Community service and activism
- A variety of understandings of God
- Judeo-Christian, Universalist, and other religious traditions
- Opportunities for worship, play, community building, and expression
Our First Day School is taught by volunteers from the members and attenders of FMC, who are under the supervision of the Youth Ministries and Education Coordinator. If you have been regularly participating in the life of our Meeting and would like to become a teacher, or be more involved with FDS, please contact the Youth Ministries and Education Coordinator at email@example.com
Beyond the Walls of Friends Meeting at Cambridge
Boston Area Quaker Youth Group: For high-school aged youth. Quakers and non-Quakers are invited to Saturday night gatherings for dinner, Quaker Spirit, and fun; from 6:00-9:30pm. The group gathers at Wellesley Meeting unless otherwise specified. Send questions & RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Retreats – New England Yearly Meeting: The youth at FMC are regularly involved with retreats sponsored by the New England Yearly Meeting (NEYM).
Senior High Retreats
The high school-aged youth group for NEYM is called Young Friends. They hold 5 weekend retreats throughout the school year plus a 4-day retreat over winter break. For more information about these retreats and what you could expect, send an e-mail to the Young Friends Coordinator, Nia Thomas: email@example.com; or go to: neym.org/young-friends.
Junior High Yearly Meeting Retreats
Junior High Yearly Meeting (JHYM) is a Quaker youth program within NEYM for middle school-aged youth in grades 6, 7 and 8. They hold 5 weekend retreats between September and May in various locations throughout New England. These provide wonderful opportunities for Quaker middle school youth to be part of a wider spiritual community beyond the walls of FMC. The JHYM Coordinator is Gretchen Baker-Smith. For more information, contact Gretchen at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to: neym.org/junior-high.
Junior Yearly Meeting Retreats
Elementary school-aged youth in 2nd through 6th grade are invited to participate in Junior Yearly Meeting (JYM) activities, Quaker youth programs within NEYM. Weekend-long retreats are offered between September and May in various locations throughout New England. These provide opportunities for youth to connect with Friends beyond FMC while exploring topics relevant to their Quaker faith. For more information, contact Gretchen Baker-Smith at email@example.com or go to: neym.org/junior.