Resources for children's meetings

Children's Meeting Programs

The Children and JYF Coordinators and Committee are working to develop sessions to share with children. We are also gathering resources we have found that can support these and other sessions. We will be uploading more resources over coming months, so please check back here and let us know if you have any great resources we can add to this collection.

- September 2020

Online Children’s Meetings for Worship

Fourth Sunday of every month (except December)

Daylight savings timing:

  • WA: 9 am

  • NT/SA: 11:30 am

  • QLD: 11 am

  • NSW, ACT, VIC, TAS: 12:00 midday

  • NZ: 2 pm

For zoom details, email the Children and JYF coordinators.  

September - Elizabeth Fry

October - George Fox

November - Different kinds of quiet

December - no meeting

January - Acknowledging Country

Quaker resources

  • Quaker Religions Education Collaborative has lots of amazing resources and ideas, and this awesome resource library.

  • Journeys in the spirit: A UK based resource providing materials for adult Quakers working with children aged 5 to 12 in Quaker Meetings, all age events, residential gatherings and camps.  It offers well thoughts out activities and ideas for facilitating discussion and reflection on a different topics. A new booklet is available every month and it is free by subscription (both email and hard copy are available.) Examples of the activities and discussion points are included below. Please go to to find out more and to subscribe. 

  • Quaker speak: A short video looking at how Quakers support children's spirituality 

  • Friends general conference: There are some great resources for working with children and building multi-generational communities on the Friends General Conference website.

  • Faith & Play: Quaker Stories of Faith, Practice and Witness, based on Godly Play principles

Peace resources

Earthcare resources

Inspiring people

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Inspiring Quakers

There are lots of amazing Quakers in the world today and many who have come before. Do you have a favourite Quaker from the past?

Who are some Quakers you know? This might be people in your meeting, or people you have meet at Yearly Meeting?

Do you know how do they let their lives speak? What kind of questions could you ask them to find out more about what it means to them to be a Quaker?

Sessions

We are currently (Spring 2020) developing sessions about Quakers of today who are letting their light shine and their lives speak in many different ways. These are being developed to share online, but could be adapted to share in person.

Our first session is about Elizabeth Fry.

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Elizabeth Fry

Inspiring Quakers - Elizabeth Fry

You can download the plan for this session at the bottom of this page.

Planning ahead

The key idea for this Children’s Meeting is: See that of God in others, even those who are very different from you.  

Materials to gather/prepare: 

  • Simple costumes (caps and shawls) to dress up like an 18th century convict and Elizabeth Fry.  

  • Bag of “gifts” (see Adventures in the Spirit)

  • Paper and pencils or markers (or calico)

Session

Worship opening: Silence with candle showing on screen. 

Game/opening activity: One leader explains to the children that we’re going to pretend we’re going back in time to meet some special people - a Quaker woman, and one of the people she helped.  Ask children if they’re ready to pretend. 

Sharing: Dramatic role play

Leaders put on costume items that match the late 18th century.  One is Elizabeth Fry, the other, a convict woman.  They set the scene - the imaginary setting is a ship docked in the Thames, full of convict women.  Each leader introduces herself and explains who she is, then they talk about how they met and what their relationship is. “Elizabeth” explains that she wanted to help women and children who had had a very difficult life.  She talks about the practical gifts she has given the women on the ship.  The convict woman, Jane, says that no one has ever given her anything before and that Elizabeth’s gifts have given her hope.  (*script)

Craft

  • Show a photo of the Rajah Quilt and explain how it was made by women on the convict ship, the Rajah, for the women in England who had given them “useful gifts”.  

  • Introduce today’s activity: making our own “patchwork quilts” using fabric, paper or paint.  Demonstrate different ways to draw the outline of a quilt, then encourage children to chat while they draw their quilts.  

Closing: Show one another our quilt drawings. 
Possible questions:

  • Do you have a real patchwork quilt at your house?  They take lots of work!  The detail in a patchwork quilt can be a sign of the love and care of the person who made it. (children could show their quilts if they have them). 
  • It was pretty strange for a woman in the 18th century to visit people in prison.  Do you know anyone who visits people in prison/hospital/refugee detention?  (if yes, tell us about them).   

Follow-up activities

Opening circle activity ideas: 

  • Introduce another well-known Quaker that the leader is familiar with, and show something that symbolises them.  Eg, for George Backhouse, show the group some lemon myrtle leaves (and flowers, if in season) and pass them around to be held, crushed between fingers, and sniffed!  

  • For older children with good general knowledge about Quaker history: Match the Quaker to their picture/famous quote/historical event. 

  • Show this short video about an 18th century gentleman getting dressed, as a starting point for a discussion about Quaker simplicity and what it meant at that time.  

Books to share: 

  • About Elizabeth Fry: “The Value of Kindness” (now sadly out of print).
  • “Thee, Hannah!” by Marguerite de Angeli (if your library has it - Mt Lawley Meeting House does)
  • Faith and Play stories: George Fox’s Big Discovery, or John Woolman visits the Indians at Wylusing

Craft ideas: 

  • Sugar chalk sketches (see instructions here)
  • This medium creates a lovely soft look and lends itself well to drawing still life and portrait art.  
  • Making Quaker peg dolls for eminent Quakers for a puppet show.
  • Paper doily craft - sheep for George Fox’s travels through the countryside, flowers for other early Quakers.

Possible closing circle queries: 

Refer back to the person you’ve been learning about and recap something they said (eg, for George Fox, “Be patterns, be examples…”; for Isaac Penington, “Our life is love, and peace, and tenderness..” Ask how the children (and adults) in the room can apply the saying to their lives and their community.  

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George Fox

Welcome question:

What's your favourite source of light?

Craft activity:

Make your own lantern using a glass jar. Decorate the glass jar and put a tea light candle inside and watch the light shine through.

Watch:

Faith & Play Story 'George Fox's Big Discovery'

Discuss:

What did you like about this story?

What does it mean to walk in the light?

Sing:

You can learn to play the George Fox song or read the lyrics and sheet music.

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Planning template

It's useful to spend time preparing for any sessions you are running whether they are in person or online. There are lots of different ways to prepare and organise your thninking. These are the headings the Children and JYF Committee is using to help organise sessions. There is also a tempalte you can download from this page.

If you have a session plan you would be happy to share, please email it to cjyfcoordinator@quakersaustralia.info, so we can upload it to this website.

Preparation

The key idea for this Children’s Meeting is:

Materials to gather: 

Session

Worship opening:

Game/opening activity

Sharing (book, story or discussion): 

Craft: 

Closing: 

Follow up

Some follow-up activities for Regional Meetings and families: 

Opening circle activity ideas: 

Books to share: 

Craft ideas: 

Possible closing circle queries: 

 

Silence & Meeting for Worship

Silence and Meeting for Worship

It can be tricky to get still and silent, especially if we don't ever talk about why we do it and how we do it, and why it's important. Here are some ideas for two sessions you can share in person or online about silence and Meeting for Worship. There are also additional activites and resources.

Session One: Different kinds of quiet

Session two: What do you do during Meeting for Worship?

 

Follow up activities and resources

  • Draw or colour in mandalas, quietly & mindfully without talking.

  • Create a box of ‘Quaker quiet’ activities that can be used to support children attending MfW online, or having quiet time at home. This could include drawing materials, special stones, a candle, words, create this together, thinking about the things that help each person be quiet and centred.

  • Listen to a guided meditation, apps such ‘Smiling Mind’ have these for all ages.

  • Think of a phrase or word that helps with quiet and centring, make a poster or sign with this word and decorate it to hang in a quiet space.

  • Listen to a favourite piece of music - notice the pauses, the moments if quiet. What would the music be like without those pauses - it’s not just the sounds that make the music special.

  • Silence by Lemniscates: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KpUupm07DM.

  • Read or watch one of the books on this page, or explore the other resources and lesson ideas: https://fgcquaker.org/silence-and-expectant-waiting-children.

  • Peaceful Piggy meditation - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZalWNSBBXHo&feature=youtu.be.

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Session One - Quiet

Session One: Different kinds of quiet

Planning ahead 

The key idea for this Children’s Meeting is there are different kinds of quiet and different ways to be quiet.

Materials to gather: drawing materials, The Quiet Book by Deborah Underwood (link to story being read aloud below)

Preparing yourself: think about different kinds of quiet in your life and how they make you feel. Read The Quiet Book in advance and spend some time sitting with the wondering questions yourself.

Session

Worship opening: Silence with candle showing on screen. 

Opening activity: Name round - and tell us something noisy you do - or show us with your body, without making the noise.

Brief discussion: How does it feel to be noisy?

Now, we’re going to get quiet

Guided quieting - get yourself still and comfortable

  • Listen to the sounds in your head, the thoughts the ideas, then let them go

  • Listen to the sounds your body is making, then let them go

  • Listen to the sounds in the room, then let them go

  • Listen to the sounds in the rest of the house, then let them go

  • Listen to the sounds outside the house

What did you hear? Go round the circle, invite everyone to share something they heard.

Sharing: 

Watch The Quiet Book by Deborah Underwood.

After watching the book, introduce the following  Wondering Questions, one at a time. Give children a chance to respond to each one. You may not need to ask every question, and may spend longer on some questions than others.

  • I wonder what part you liked best?
  • I wonder where you saw yourself in the story?
  • I wonder if you know of another kind of quiet the author didn't write about?
  • I wonder what happens in the Meeting for Worship quiet? 

Activities: 

  • Draw a picture that shows Meeting for Worship quiet.
  • Go for a walk around your house and look for a quiet spot - draw this, or make it into a quiet spot for you to be in
  • Go for a quiet walk around your house - carry the quiet in you
  • Write your own ‘quiet book’ including different kinds of quiet you know

Closing: 

Sit together in silence for a couple minutes, then closing question - what did that quiet feel like to you?

 

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