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 and information about our weekly activities
    • Child Care for ages 6 months-pre-K will begin on Sunday, February 6th in the Child Care room (lower level in the Meetinghouse) during 11:00 a.m. worship.  See full guidelines here.     
    • First Day School will begin classes for K-8 on Sunday, February 6th for fully vaccinated children. (This follows Sidwell Friends School's vaccine guidelines that require vaccines for children ages 5 and up by early February.) 

      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 activities. It is held each Sunday during the school year (except for holiday Sundays).

      • 1st, 3rd & 5th Sundays: Children meet for multi-age activities. Parents are welcome to join their children.
      • 2nd & 4th Sundays: Classes are held for K-2nd graders and for 3rd-8th graders. Parents are encouraged to help the teachers on a regular rotation.
      • Upcoming events are always featured in the BFM NewsletterCelebrating World Quaker Day
      • During the summer, children K-6th Grade are supervised in the playground or at other informal activities.

      Sunday Schedule for First Day School (FDS) children

      11:00 - Children K-8 attend Meeting for Worship in the Meetinghouse with their parents for the first 15 minutes.
      11:15 - Children leave the Meeting and meet their teachers for First Day School classes and activities.
      12:00 noon - Children return to Meeting with their teachers. They may wait quietly in the library or rejoin their parents in Meeting.  
      12:15 - Refreshments in the Library. [Note: On the second Sunday of the month, potluck is held in the All-Purpose room of the Groome Building.]

      • 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 Walkathon for the Homeless, the 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 and Newsletter.
      • 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
      Contact Us

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