Bethesda Friends Meeting

Youth Program (Religious Education): K-8

COVID-19 Meeting Information

Bethesda Friends are worshiping together

on Sundays at 11:00 a.m. via two venues 

  1. Indoors in the Meetinghouse at the Sidwell Friends Lower School, 
  2. Online via Zoom. 
    • Click here for more details about BFM Covid restrictions and information about our weekly activities and worship
    • Child Care for ages 6 months-pre-K is available in the Child Care room (lower level in the Meetinghouse).  during 11:00 a.m. worship.  See information and guidelines here.  
    • First Day School meets September through mid-June on the 1st and 3rd Sundays during 11:00 a.m. worship for fully vaccinated teachers and children in grades K-8.  On the 2nd, 4th, and 5th Sundays, children are supervised on the playground. Please see the FDS schedule and guidelines in our weekly bulletin. 
    • During the summer, children K-6 have supervised play activities

        children's activities during 2019-2021

        • The BFM youth have sponsored activities, even during the pandemic.  
        • Please go to this page to see project summaries. 

        Summary of Religious Education (RE) for Children & Youth (Grades K-8)

        Religious education classes for children in grades K-8 is called "First Day School" (FDS)BFM children deliver canned goods to Manna Foods, Bethesda, MD

        First Day School (FDS) emphasizes Quaker values & history, Bible stories, and community service learning activities. 

        • During the school year, First Day School (for vaccinated children, ages 5 and older) meets on the 1st and 3rd Sundays. 
          • On the 2nd, 4th, and 5th Sundays, children are supervised on the playground. 
        • Procedure: Teachers meet the children in the Meeting House library at 10:50 a.m., and parents complete the sign in form. 
        • Parents must sign in their child when they arrive, and first time students complete a short registration form. 
        • Then children and teachers walk to a nearby classroom in the Sidwell Friends Lower School at 11:00 a.m.
        • At approximately 12 noon, teachers will bring children to Meeting for Worship to join their families. Children will be signed out by the teachers, after they meet up with their families. 
        During the summer, supervised play is held for children in K-6th grade, either on the playground or indoors. 
        • Procedure: During the summer months, please sign your student in at the child care room (downstairs in the Meeting House) between 10:50 and 11 a.m. (before Meeting for Worship).  The professional child care providers will supervise the children in playground activities. 
        • If you'd like to have your child join the first 15 minutes of Meeting for Worship, then please escort them to the child care room for sign-in at 11:15 a.m.  Children are always welcome to stay for the full hour of worship.

        Please note that all children must be signed in and signed out of FDS or supervised play by their parent or caregiver. For new and visiting families, please fill out the short registration form. 

        • During the school year, our First Day School classes are about Quaker Faith and Practice, often with a focus on the life and teachings of Jesus.
        • In addition to classes, teachers and guest teachers discuss Quakerism in action and facilitate multi-age community service activities.     
        • The children also participate in regular Meeting activities, such as the October Walkathon for the Homeless, an annual Christmas Pageant, and Spring Fling for Ramallah Friends School.

        Grandparent and student at BFMResources for Parents 

        • Friends Meeting of Washington, DC keeps an updated list of Quaker camps for children of various ages and interests. Please click here for more information.
        • Friends Meeting of Washington, DC also has a wonderful list of resources to support parents as we integrate Quaker beliefs and practices into our family life.
        • This link goes to a catalog with all of the issues of the children and young people’s work resource titled "Journeys in the Spirit." It is a treasure trove and includes the special issues as produced by Quaker Life in London, England (2007-2016).
        • The Quaker Religious Education Collaborative (QREC) is "a grassroots network of Friends holding a sense of stewardship for life-long Quaker faith formation through religious  education." Their website offers numerous resources such as a library,  annual conferences and retreats, and "conversation circles" (online video conferences). 

        Youth Safety Policy (2021)

        Please use this link to view and download BFM's Youth Safety Policy (2021; pdf). 

        The policy was created to provide direction to the Meeting in the selection, hiring, and training of
        employees (or contract workers) and volunteers who are responsible for the supervision, guidance, and teaching of our
        children, as well as a committee structure to deal with concerns about child and youth safety. By implementing these

        practices, our goal is to protect the children and youth of Bethesda Friends Meeting from incidents of
        misconduct or inappropriate behavior.

        Youth Program Procedural Manual 

        The information in the Youth Program Procedural Manual (Nov 2021; pdf) reflects the revised Bethesda Friends Meeting (BFM) Youth Safety Policy (YSP) that was approved in April 2021. The Procedural Manual is designed for BFM youth workers who care for and teach BFM youth, ages 6 months to 18 years, and it incorporates procedures for the Child Care Program and First Day School Program.  

        The manual contains useful information for parent(s)/guardian(s) and anyone interested in learning more about the BFM Child Care and Religious Education Programs.

        Besides being available on the BFM website, hard copies of both the Youth Safety Policy and the Youth Program Procedural Manual are available in the Meeting library

        "Unity" is a theme at BFM youth education

        Do you have a question about First Day School?

        • Please call or email the current clerks of the Religious Education Committee (see our print Directory) or use the Contact Us form.
        • Upcoming FDS special events will be featured in our Bulletin.
        • Do you want general information about the Sunday worship schedule that includes First Day School? Please click here.

        Thank you for your interest, and we look forward to sharing our time with you and your children!
 offers many videos about Quaker beliefs and practices. 

        Bethesda Friends Meeting

        Mailing Address:
        P.O. Box 30152, Bethesda MD 20824

        Our Meetinghouse is on the campus of the Sidwell Friends Lower School at the intersection of Edgemoor Lane and Beverly Road in Bethesda, Maryland

        We are a member organization of the Religious Society of Friends
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