Children's Courses: Curriculum Overview
The Interfaith Community has built a multi-tiered curriculum for children pre-K-8. Designed by consultants from the Jewish Theological and Union Theological seminaries, our courses were initially piloted in 2004. Courses are developed and, to model mutual respect, are taught side-by-side by teams of Jewish and Christian educators. Courses also encourage active parent involvement and education. In addition, the Interfaith Community provides holiday celebrations, which reinforce learning about each tradition.
The Interfaith Community's pioneering courses expose children to both of their religious heritages, allow them to cultivate their own spirituality, and provide a foundation to enable them to follow their own paths. Our mission centers around three main goals: exposure, respect, and delight. We do not teach children what to believe, but we give them the literacy and comfort that they need to relate to each tradition. We provide a supportive and vibrant community for this process of learning, questioning, and engagement.
In keeping with our educational goals, children who participate in our educational programs will:
Have respect for religion in general and the meaning it can bring, and be exposed to role models of religious people in both traditions
Have a basic literacy in both Judaism and Christianity, understand their common roots, similarities and differences, and appreciate what is distinctive and authentic in each
Be aware of their own distinctive spiritual nature and be encouraged to pursue their own spiritual journeys and develop their own concept of "the Divine"
Develop values, ethics, and commitments that grow out of their Jewish and Christian heritages
Find joy and delight in their religious heritages and practices
Courses are usually comprised of 10 sessions, book-ended by an additional opening and a closing "Family Day," at which all children and their families come together in a lively and spiritual setting to anticipate or conclude the experiences. Each class session is typically an hour, though lessons may be tailored or combined by the educators to fit certain schedules.
In addition, all courses will aim to help children develop their individual spiritualities and connections to God.
Courses are intended to introduce key themes and concepts from both traditions throughout a child's growth, revisiting many of those concepts at deeper levels later in the curriculum. However, our courses are not cumulative, so students who enter in later years will not find themselves behind the class.
Courses are normally developed with a particular age group in mind, but teachers are assisted in adapting the curriculum to different ages. The grades listed by each course title are suggested.