The New York Society for Ethical Culture offers Humanist programming for youth and families, including our Young Ethical Explorers Sunday school, Teen Leadership, Coming of Age, and Ethical Parenting.
For more information about our youth and family programming, please contact Youth Programs coordinator Audrey Kindred at email@example.com.
Upcoming in December:
Sunday, December 1 | 11:00am
Young Ethical Explorers: Darkness
Sunday, December 8 | 11:00am
Intergenerational Winter Solstice Festival w/ Bonita Oliver
Sunday, December 15 | 11:00am
Sunday, December 22 | 11:00am
Together we’ll explore the concept of traditions, explore our families’ own, and share gifts with one another. RSVP required for planning purposes.
Young Ethical Explorers
Humanist Sunday School
As a parent, you recognize a need for your children to develop a moral and ethical compass. The Society’s Ethics for Children program, Young Ethical Explorers (YEE), focuses on developing moral reasoning, something our children use in myriad ways every day.
At YEE, Children explore ethical ideas through stories, discussions, service projects, field trips, and art workshops in a safe, inclusive environment–and we have FUN!
Through YEE, we:
- Explore values such as integrity, honesty, responsibility, courage, and commitment
- Affirm the value and uniqueness of each individual
- Learn about and celebrate of the diversity among people
- Inspire social responsibility towards one another, our communities, and our shared environment
- Develop identity as part of a community
- Learn about ethical teachings common to the world’s religions, with a respectful and curious view of other belief systems
- Share and learn from our family traditions
Visit the Young Ethical Explorers blog here!
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to be a member of the Society for my child to attend Young Ethical Explorers?
No! YEE is open to children of members and nonmembers alike. Of course, we do invite you to consider the benefits of family membership. Beyond reduced fees for this and other programs at the Society, you become part of a supportive community!
When is the program held?
YEE runs from September through May on Sundays concurrent with the Sunday morning Platform meeting, 11:00am-12:30pm.
YEE is for students ages 3-10. For older children, we provide our Coming of Age and Teen Leadership program (see below).
What is the expectation of me as a parent of a child attending the program?
We ask that parents volunteer to assist in the class once every 6 weeks or so, and occasionally accompany the children on an outing. Other than that, we ask only that you be conscious of the fact that you set the example of ethical behavior. Continuity of participation is also important, so please try to commit to making your child’s attendance to YEE a priority. Regular attendance sends a signal to your child that an ethical education, and building ethical relationships, is important.
How much does it cost?
YEE is free for Member-families of Ethical Culture. For non-member families, the suggested donation for each semester (fall, winter, spring) is $100 ($300/year).
If I’m unable to afford the suggested donation, may my child still attend?
Absolutely! No one is ever turned away because of need. We offer scholarships, and parents are encouraged to speak with Leader Richard Koral about considerations regarding the cost.
Do I need to register my child for the entire semester?
We encourage full-semester registration so that we can anticipate and plan to best accommodate the number and ages of the children. We also urge a semester commitment so that children can develop deeper and reliable connections with one another.
Can we visit YEE beforehand?
Certainly! If you decide to drop by for a Sunday or two, or have a child relative visiting who would like to join us, you are more than welcome to do so. Simply contact Youth Programs coordinator Audrey Kindred ahead of time at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are there inter-generational activities?
Parents and members are always welcome to visit and join in our activities. Frequently the children join the community gathering at start of our Sunday morning Platform Meeting. On occasion, children in the program participate in, and sometimes lead, celebrations such as our Winter Festival, Spring Festival, and Earth Day.
Children also often join members at rallies or marches for one of the social justice or environmental issues that concern us all, and there are also special arrangements for families to join our annual Autumn Getaway Weekend. Parents and children are also welcome to participate in outings such as our spring and fall hikes and bike rides.
Teen Ethical Leadership
Teens are especially social beings who need safe and creative environments in which to experience and develop relationships, and flourish. Ethical NYC offers that opportunity in a number of ways.
In the larger Ethical Culture framework, high-schoolers can participate in the Youth of Ethical Societies (YES) program, through which teens in Ethical Culture societies across the country connect with one another. They embrace YES with the belief, “YES, we can make a difference!”
On the first Sunday afternoon of each month, teens meet, socialize, and plan activities both inside and outside Ethical NYC. Teens are also invited to attend our 11:00am Sunday morning community gatherings and join members for lunch.
We also welcome teens to act as helpers at Young Ethical Explorers, and offer opportunities for them to earn school community service credits.
Other opportunities include:
- Organizing a social justice Ethical Deed club in their school
- Joining Ethical members in activism and service projects
- Participating in and organizing field trips
- Enrolling in our Coming-of-Age program (see below)
Coming of Age
“Coming-of-age” marks a young person’s transition from childhood to adulthood. Families are invited to enroll their older teens in our coming-of-age program, whose guiding principle is to provide a safe and creative environment, and ethical grounding, to empower every young adult to blossom within our community. The age at which this transition takes place varies in society, as does the nature of the transition. It can be a simple legal convention or part of a ritual as practiced in many societies and religions.
In our diverse community, we welcome young people who are seeking an opportunity to mark their life path with a process and celebration focused on
- World awareness
- Personal and social responsibility
- Community service
Recognizing that children mature at different rates, we meet with children and parents to determine when a child is ready, and the curriculum is geared to the needs of the individual and family. With a Humanist anchor, we will explore a world of ideas and values together.
Parents and guardians are invited to join our Youth & Family Committee to add your voice and suggestions regarding these programs.
Frequently parents meet informally around a table at our Sunday lunch. Additionally, the Society offers periodic programs for parents on Sunday mornings. These sessions create a unique support system, providing a comfortable space in which to discuss parenting challenges, and offer coaching and guidance to one another.