Every September at WES we operate on a school calendar where things start anew for the programming year. This includes our children moving up to a different level in classes, teachers regrouping, new themes to work with in the platform talks, music, adult education, classes, small groups, etc. It’s a fresh start even though we never close. To me, the most marked and wonderful part of that new year is watching the children shift classes.
It’s delightful to observe this shift at all levels. First, there are the children going from the nursery to their first classes. This week a 3 year old youngster said to me when entering the building, “I’m a big boy now. I’m going to the preschool class.” You could hear the pride in his voice at starting this new “I’m big” moment in his life. In the elementary grade classes, the energy level is palpable as children check out their new environs and new classmates as they begin to delve into a new set of themes to explore. The move from downstairs classrooms to the upstairs classrooms for the middle schoolers seems to be magical in how it transforms child-like behavior to young adult behavior. This switch from downstairs to upstairs matches their maturation level. And a new level of cool enters the room when young adults enter COA and the Teen Group age. They are coming into themselves, building confidence, and developing adult thoughts and behaviors. Witnessing these transformations is one of my favorite aspects of my job.
It is a path I see and witness and create as the Director of Life Long Learning; however, this path through our SEEK program might not be as evident to others at WES, including our families, so I wanted to share with you the SEEK Path which is led by the 36-40 staff and volunteers every year.
Below is a visualization of that path. It evolves throughout time, tweaking for class size, needs of the community, and curricula we would like to use, but the path only meanders slightly year to year from what you see, nursery through Teen Group.
I’ve witnessed children in Ethical Culture going through this and similar paths within an Ethical Society for the last 12 years and while I know our Sunday School classes are only a part of our youth’s influences, I’m seriously impressed and awed by our graduates of the program. They give me hope for the world.
Director of Lifelong Learning.