Interviews with First Day School Students at Brooklyn Meeting
Collected by Sarah Way, editor
Charlotte, age 3 (almost 4)
What do you do at First Day School? We play and we talk.
What have you learned about Quakers there? They’re nice. We’re Quaker, and we’re nice, too. I like being nice.
What’s your favorite thing to do at First Day School? Play!
What’s it like to come into meeting for worship at the end of First Day School? What do you do when you’re sitting there? I think about stuff, but it’s hard to stay still, and I want to use the piano.
Alden, age 11
What do you do at First Day School? Usually we’ll have a discussion that is related to a Quaker or ethical theme that might be coming up currently or is related to some biblical reference. And then also we will make crafts related to certain holidays.
What have you learned about Quakerism there? I’ve learned that Quakerism is interpreted by different people in different ways and that people practice Quakerism in different ways. So for example, some Quaker meetinghouses have ministers, whereas at our meeting we don’t.
What’s your favorite thing to do at First Day School? Have in-depth discussions about ethical-related current events, for instance, the shooting at YouTube headquarters recently.
Rose, age 13
What do you do at First Day School? We talk about the world around us. Sometimes we meditate or make scrapbook pages. Today we talked about activism. In the past we’ve discussed Bible stories.
What have you learned about Quakerism there? I’ve learned that Quakers have been around since the 1600s. That George Fox founded the Quakers. We made Quaker trading cards in First Day School once. We also learned the SPICES (ed. note: Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, Stewardship).
What’s your favorite thing to do at First Day School? Drink tea! And relax.
What’s it like to walk into meeting for worship at the end of First Day School? People are usually like, “oh, look at all the cute children!” They laughed today because we came into the meeting room with light-up protest signs.
I also asked Nora Mattson, a college student who volunteered with Brooklyn’s First Day School when she was a teenager, to reflect on her experiences both teaching and attending First Day School. Her response is below.
I really liked teaching FDS. I think that came less from the lesson plans or thinking about what I wanted to teach but more from interacting with the kids in FDS. You can have a really good idea and think that it will impactfuly teach the kids some deep things about Quakerism but it might not go that way. I really enjoyed getting to know these kids in meeting and meet new kids and people.
I don’t really remember being in FDS; it was a really long time ago. It was nice to hang out with my mom (ed note: her mom, Julie Glynn, has frequently taught FDS). I did not like to be told what to think about things in FDS, so I tried to use that when I taught—that is, to avoid doing that, and to introduce concepts to people and let them form their own ideas.