“Let the little children come to me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14
St. Nicholas Church School’s education program provides age appropriate curriculum and faithful enthusiastic individuals to teach our students; preparing them with the principles of the Orthodox faith, and encouraging them to grow in God’s service. In Church School, we demonstrate the content of Orthodox faith in a Christian living framework by teaching and practicing the following:
- Knowing our faith: learn the principles of Orthodox faith (Candles, Icons, Holy days, Fasting, Baptism, Communion, Confession, Holy Unction , Orthodox Marriage and other sacraments)
- Loving God: learn about the loving God, and how to share his love (People will know you are a Christian when you treat others with love).
- Sharing God’s World: learn how people in families should treat each other with love and share with each other; share in Church, and with the world.
- Growing with God: learn Bible stories and participate in Divine Liturgy. We grow as we learn God’s word, and we grow through fasting and prayer.
- God calls us to faith: we all struggle with our faith, to know what God wants for our lives. We teach our kids how faith helps us to improve at the things we do and to try without fear. How faith gives us courage to use our strengths and to help other people.
We invite all children to participate in Sunday School every Sunday during regular school year (between September and June).
Church School Director
- MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR
- HIGH SCHOOL CLASS
- MIDDLE SCHOOL CLASS
- 5th AND 6th GRADE
- 4th GRADE
- 3rd GRADE
- 2nd GRADE
- 1st GRADE
In my early high school years, I had joined the Sunday school in Damascus, Syria. I still remember my high school and college years and refer to them as being my golden years, probably due to the best time I had spent with people from Sunday school and friends I had made for life. I moved to the United Sates in 1989 and began communicating with old friends I had known from Sunday school back home, and I was able to get back together with them within our community of Saint Nicholas. I continue to be fascinated by how small this world is, to allow eight families from one Sunday school from same city to meet again and share time together on the other side of the world. I do not think it is a coincidence, but the will that people possess to meet and look out for each other. The reason that we come together is not due the common Arabic language or culture; the true common background we have is what we had learned in Sunday school and the life of the church that we carry with us. The language we share is the language of love and the culture we have become accustomed to is how to get together as a community and share that love with the world. This culture goes way beyond spoken language and tribe. St. Nicholas is our current community in which we can restore our golden time and build a place for our children to have similar life-changing experience. The people I knew, and had the opportunity of meeting with again, are all active members in Saint Nicholas. They contribute to the community with their labor, time, and money to every event in church because they recognize the importance of belief and of having a better place for our children and future generations. I am very happy to see my children enjoying the company of other kids in Sunday school. I am very pleased to see them giving higher priority over our vacation time to summer camp, winter camp, or any weekly activity they participate in with their Sunday School friends. We always try to do the best for our kids. We want them to go to the best schools, and get to the best positions in life, but as Christ say: “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (MARK 8:36) Please contribute to your child’s life by allowing them to learn that which other institutions do not teach. Allow them to come regularly to church school and enjoy the happiest time of their childhood with friends their age who have the same challenges and dreams. This is where they can learn love and wisdom to guide them in the years to come.
Church School Director
High School Class is designed to be an interactive and fun learning experience for our students. We work to get the students out of their seats and not bore them with a lecture. To that end we teach lessons like what do rocks, sand, and water in an ordinary cup have to do with living an extraordinary life? How is approaching Great Lent like learning to drive a car? How does popular music fit into our spiritual life and what could the Beatles and the Annunciation possibly have in common? We build ladders (in celebration of the Sunday of St. John of the Ladder); we have game shows (like “What’s Your Force Field?” in celebration of St. Mary of Egypt); we prepare for Confession and Lent by letting balloons go that carry the sins we want to release. And most importantly we teach the students that Orthodoxy is a discipline to get us to where we want to go, to an eternal life in the presence of God. Other topics covered are the lives of the Saints, the Feasts and Fasts of the Church, the Liturgical calendar, iconography and more.
Haitham Matar Tania Mata
The Junior High Sunday school class is a very interactive class where we encourage a lot of class discussions and participation. Our main topics are Peer Pressure, Honesty, Stewardship, and Knowing Christ. With any topic that is discussed in class, we try to relate it to the student’s daily life. Our mission is to help each and every student become better Christians by recognizing the right path.
To familiarize students with old and new testament stories with special focus on understanding Faith, Old Covenant, New Covenant, Resurrection and the meaning of Good News. And how establishing a relationship with Jesus Christ is the most basic and important step to understanding the God we worship.
Lina Elias Ayoub Elias
The fourth grade curriculum comes from the “Living Our Orthodox Faith’ series: “Growing With God.” Our goal is to help the children learn to live the Orthodox way in their personal lives at home, school, play, as well as at church. This series has gradually introduced the student to the Bible, the lives of saints, and the liturgical and sacramental life of the Church.
The Third Grade Curriculum comes from the “Living Our Orthodox Faith” series: SHARING GOD’S WORLD. The theme of this book is sharing based on the life of the Church. As the third grader becomes aware of the outside world and his/her relationships with peers, he or she learns about God’s people and their relationships in the Old and New Testaments, as well as from the history of the Church. Through study of the Divine Liturgy and other traditions of the Church. The child begins to experience sharing, giving, and dealing with relationships at home, at church, and in the world in a positive manner.
As privileged teachers, we are blessed to have the opportunity to teach 2nd grade at St. Nicholas Sunday School. Our main focus in our class is based on providing our children with knowledge about the fundamentals of the Orthodox church and faith and their importance on how that influence our daily lives. We begin and end every class with a prayer, in the hopes that the children will be able to recite key prayers, including the Lord’s Prayer, at the end of the school year. The main topics of our lessons, which all begin with the statement WE BELIEVE, are: the idea that we all need love; the importance of love at home; the significant of love in the church; and the ideas that love means serving others, being respectful, and obeying rules. In addition to discussing the lessons, we also discuss various Bible stories and feast Days, the importance of obeying the Ten Commandments and the meaning of participating in the Holy Sacraments. We also provide class activities to enhance and enrich the lessons being taught. Despite being the teachers of these children, often times we feel the children teach us perhaps a little more than what we strive to teach them.
The First Grade Curriculum is based on “Me and My World” book from the “Living Our Orthodox Faith” series. Every First Grader would be familiar with the following at the end of school year:
- God made every person to be a special and unique individual.
- Jesus is the Son of God.
- Learning is a gift from God; one thing we learn is how to make the sign of the cross.
- God cares about our feelings, and He wants us to help and share with others.
- Orthodox Christians light candles in church, venerate icons, and make the sign of the cross in a special way.
- We receive Holy Communion, the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. This brings us close to Him and to each other.
- When we are baptized, we are born into God’s family.
- Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist.
- We are all part of a special group of people called a family.
- An Orthodox Christian family does special things.
- When a baby is forty days old, his or her parents bring him or her to church to be blessed.
- The church family celebrates special days like baptism and marriage.
- Jesus came to earth for all people in the world.
- We should love and respect all people no matter who they are or how different they are from us.
- Jesus taught that we should even love and pray for those who do harm to us.
- Not all people are Christian.
We should respect all people and their religions.
Our goal for kindergarten children is to experience joy; not only through family and school activities, but also through worship and church life. We have chosen aspects of worship and stories from scriptures that are examples of joy centered on Christ. The kindergarten child learns to celebrate the joy of God’s love and begins to feel a sense of trust and well-being in his emerging relationship with God. We will be using Happy with God, the kindergarten textbook of the “Living Our Orthodox Faith” we want to show the children that God’s love is our greatest source of happiness.
Mariam and Reema Arnouk
Preschool is the beginning years of education about the Orthodox faith. The curriculum this year is focused mainly on the foundations that our children need in their faith. It is our goal to teach them how to properly make and identify the sign of the cross, properly pick out the icon of Jesus, Receive communion correctly, light a candle, kiss the icon in church and recite a prayer of thanks to Jesus. The curriculum also includes things such as being grateful, kind and helping others. The curriculum also focuses on the main idea that each child is special and loved by God.