At Saint Peter’s, children learn they are loved and valued by God and are valuable members of our church. Saint Peter’s is committed to the comprehensive faith formation of our children from toddlers through high school seniors. Children experience and participate in their own faith by discussion, creating, sharing and worshiping. Worship and Sunday School at Saint Peter’s are here to build up, enhance, complement and support the family’s faith, Christian formation and prayer at home. The program year for Sunday School, Family Church, Wee Believers and Nursery Care runs from mid-September through mid-June but children are always welcome at all services!
Children in Worship
Our 9 am “Wee Believers” is an abbreviated and informal service of Holy Communion designed for families with toddlers and young children (about age 3 and under).
Children, age 4 through 6th grade, attend Sunday School starting at 9:45, then join their parents at the Peace for Communion. On the second Sunday of the month children and their parents together attend a 10 am “Family Church” service in which the children participate as readers, ushers, oblation bearers and choir. There is a children’s sermon that speaks to children and adults alike.
Nursery Care is available during the 10 am service for infants and toddlers from September through June. The ushers are happy to direct you to the nursery. If you choose to bring your young child to church (they are always welcome!) the ushers have a collection of children’s books and coloring books for your use.
The Sunday School program begins with pre-K, age 4, and continues through grade 6, when the children transition to the youth program. Sunday School meets from 9:45 – 10:40 am, after which the children join their families in church for Holy Communion. Sunday School lessons are interactive, discussion-based explorations of faith with stories, crafts and imaginative exercises.
Pre-K – Kindergarten and Grades 1 – 3 use Godly Play, a Montessori method of teaching, which uses visual manipulatives to tell sacred stories, parables and liturgical action lessons, as well as the art of using religious language, all to help children be come aware of the mystery of God’s presence. “Wondering” questions help children explore the significance and relevance of the lessons to their lives.
Grades 4 – 6 use a lectionary-based curriculum in which the children study the same biblical lessons their parents are hearing in church. Art, crafts, role-playing and age appropriate discussion are all used to enhance the children’s learning experience. They are able to build on the “wondering” they learned in Godly Play to deepen their understanding of the Bible.
The Sunday School year begins the second Sunday of September and runs through mid-June. Our calendar for the upcoming Sunday School year will be posted before the program year begins in September.
You may download our 2018-19 Sunday School registration form. Please return your registration by email, by mail or bring it with you to church one Sunday!
If you have any questions please email Sunday School Director Dana Leach or leave a message for her at the parish office.
Children’s Instruction for Receiving Communion
All baptized Episcopalians, from infancy on up, are welcome to receive Communion. Children grow in understanding as they participate in the words of the service. At St. Peter’s, Communion Instruction is offered in the Spring. Children learn more about Jesus’ last supper with his disciples, the Church’s understanding of Christ’s living presence in the holy meal, and prepare bread to be used during the Eucharist celebrating their having completed the class.
This enthusiastic group of youth meets weekly to learn and practice the craft of singing, using the Royal School of Church Music’s “Voice for Life” choristers training program. Research shows the many ways music can strengthen and broaden a child’s education. More than an extracurricular activity, music is a crucial part of a child’s learning and development. Children may enter the choir at any time during the school year. The Youth Choir sings at select Sunday 10 am services, especially our monthly Family Church. Rehearsals are after the main service from 11:15 am – 12:30 pm.
In this week-long event held the last week of August, children learn how to read music, sing hymns and learn their meanings, and practice simple anthems. At the end of the week, parents are invited to a short midday service sung by the children. This year’s camp will be held August 27-31. For more information, you may email Choir Director John Pivarnik.
Vacation Bible School
Each summer, children from the parish, St. Peter’s Nursery School, neighboring churches and the West Essex community go on awesome adventures with the stories and people in the bible during our week of Vacation Bible School (VBS). VBS uses music, crafts, storytelling, science, refreshments and recreation to build an interactive community that inspires, instructs and empowers children in their faith journey.
Open to children age 3 through 5th grade, this five-day ecumenical event is organized around an exciting theme for children, and is run primarily by our St. Peter’s Youth (SPY). St. Peter’s VBS is always held during the first full week in August.
Some of our Special offerings during the year include: Advent Event, Christmas Pageant, Easter Egg Hunt, and Littlest Parishioners Playgroup.
St Peter’s Nursery School
St Peter’s Nursery school is a non-denominational NAEYC-accredited preschool located on our parish campus. Click here to learn more.