The curriculum in use is from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Department of Religious Education and is supplemented with other materials and activities obtained from other Orthodox Christian sources. All outside materials are reviewed and approved by Father Peter.
Nursery: God Loves Us - What We See and Do In Church
Joy is the main theme of the Nursery program. God’s love is the source of our joy. The Nursery student experiences joy through family activities, and through Church worship and life. Aspects of worship and stories from Scripture highlight specific examples of and reasons for joy in living a life centered on Christ. The Nursery Student learns to celebrate God’s gift of joy and thus feels a sense of trust and well-being.
Kindergarten: Happy With God
The Kindergarten class seeks to introduce the students to basic Church teachings, events in the liturgical calendar, Bible stories and hymns. The Kindergartner is provided with an opportunity to learn more about what they witness and experience in Church every Sunday.
First Grade: Me and My World
The focus of the First Grade is on creation as God’s gift. God has made the world and everything in it as an example of His love and goodness. As the child discovers the world around him, the child understands that family, friends, church, school and all things come from God. Through the daily experience of God’s world, the child understands that God is real, loving and caring. The child’s faith in God is awakened and is expressed through prayer, worship and thanks.
Second Grade: Loving God
Second Grade concentrates on the theme of loving God as the child’s obedient response to God. Through the examples of men and women of the Old and New Testaments, as well as the examples of the Orthodox Saints, the second grader begins to understand sin and forgiveness in the light of God’s love. Through such examples, and through acts of worship and life, the child learns to respond to God with love and obedience – the foundations of morality.
Third Grade: Sharing God’s World
In the Third Grade the emphasis shifts to the theme of sharing based on the life of the Church. As the Third Grader becomes open to the outside world and peer group relationships, he or she learns about God’s people and their relationships in the Old and New Testaments, as well as in the history of the Church. Through study of the life of the Church, the child experiences sharing, giving, dialogue, and dealing with relational difficulties in a positive manner.
Fourth Grade: Growing With God
The theme of the Fourth Grade examines a period of deeper moral and spiritual growth in the life of the child. By concentrating on the prayers and Sacramental acts related to human growth (Pre-baptismal Services, Baptism, Chrismation, Liturgy and Confession), the children begin to gain a Sacramental vision of life. They come to understand the world, and their own spiritual growth in the light of their faith, prayer and Sacramental life.
Fifth Grade: God Calls Us
The Fifth Grade concentrates on the stories of the heroes of the faith in Scripture and Tradition as examples of faith, loyalty, self-sacrifice, obedience, love, justice and social responsibility. Through the study of these great figures the student learns to respond to God in terms of personal faith and the basics of Christian morality, the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Christ.
Sixth Grade: The Christian Way of Life
The Sixth Grade reviews the pathway to happy Christian living through Scripture, Tradition, Doctrine, Church History and Liturgical Life. Students learn about the Church Fathers, the Divine Liturgy and other Services, and the First Christian Writers.
Heaven On Earth: The Divine Liturgy: “We knew not whether we were in heaven or on earth... We knew only that God dwells there among men.” As St. Vladimir's emissaries found, heaven and earth meet in the Church through the Divine Liturgy. This booklet begins with a brief history of worship in the Orthodox Church and then details each section of the Divine Liturgy. The students will also gain a better understanding of Church architecture and explore the Creed's scriptural foundations.
A Lamp To My Feet: An Introduction to the Bible: In this booklet, students will develop the attitudes and confidence needed to light their path with the lamp of Scripture. Students will learn to access God's message to the world by asking how each lesson relates to them: “What does this text say about Christ, and how does it apply to my life?” This section begins by exploring general motivations for and goals of Bible study. It then suggests study habits and methods, and explains various formats and translations of the Bible. Students will be introduced to the Old and New Testaments, the kinds of books they contain, and how the books came to be there.
Seventh Grade: Worship In The Orthodox Church
In this class students learn that worship goes beyond the Divine Liturgy and is an important aspect to a Christ-centered life. The Curriculum is divided into the following four sections:
Facing Up to Peer Pressure: Just as dancing consists of various steps, turns and twists, so is life comprised of decisions, choices and responsibilities. From infancy to old age, the tempo of the dance varies. Adolescence is a time of excitement and vitality, during which we are often confronted with the challenge of peer pressure. This first booklet acknowledges that peer pressure is indeed a nagging challenge faced by our youth but that it also has its favorable side which is positive peer pressure.
Knowing Christ: Knowing Christ is Love. Knowing Christ is Truth. Knowing Christ is Peace. In past ages Christ blessed the lives of those who followed Him. Today, He walks beside us in the modern cities of our changing world. In future times Christ will continue to bless those who love and obey him. In this second booklet, the teachings, miracles and parables of Christ are amply represented in the lessons and supplemental discussions concerning the Bible, Prayer and Church.
Stewardship: Serving in God’s World: All too often stewardship is equated with money, which is far too limited for a Christian perspective. The five lessons in this unit expand the vision of stewardship from the environment to our role of responsibility to each other, and focuses on the broad concepts of stewardship that will contribute toward spiritual growth.
Honesty: Honesty is a broad topic, but knowing the consequences of lying, cheating, and distinguishing right from wrong are essential for our youth and their spiritual welfare. The Bible and the teachings of Christ constitute a strong moral compass for such guidance and direction.
Supplementary Text – Teenage Ten Commandments: In this book the students are given an overview of the Ten Commandments and their relevance for our times.
Eighth Grade: Rejoicing In God
This class will focus on the faith of the Church concerning Jesus Christ from both the Old and New Testament. The lessons center around the “I AM” statements of Christ. These statements provide a means for studying and reflecting upon the faith of the Church as the student explores the significance of each statement. The students will also have an opportunity to discover how Christians may experience the presence of Christ in various settings.
For To Us A Child Is Born: The Incarnation of Christ is the glorious foundation upon which Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas. This booklet will allow students to unwrap the story of Christ's birth to reveal the fullness of the Incarnation, beginning with the Annunciation through the Feast of the Nativity. Students will examine the meaning of the Incarnation through iconography, scriptural readings and hymns.
Journey Through Holy Week: This booklet will assist the students as they follow Christ and the Church through each stage of Holy Week - from the Saturday of Lazarus to the Agape Vespers Service. Students will examine the relevance and the meaning of the services, hymns and scripture readings.
Ninth Grade: The Way, The Truth, and The Life
This class strives to provide a basic understanding of our faith in lessons that both inform and inspire. In doing so this class endeavors to plant the students firmly in the life-giving soil of Orthodox spiritual understanding and to guide them on the path to spiritual maturity.
Of Your Mystical Supper: The Eucharist: Through the themes of remembrance, thanksgiving, forgiveness, and community, students will explore the mystery of the Holy Eucharist. This text introduces the fullness of the Church's teachings with Scripture and excerpts from the Fathers, such as St. Nicholas Cabasilas and St. Justin Martyr.
During the Tenth Grade we try to instill in each student that Orthodoxy and the teachings of Jesus Christ are a way of life that should be incorporated in our everyday interactions with our fellow human beings, whether at school, in the workplace, or socially. The class tries to help each student understand that our number one goal in this earthly life is to prepare ourselves to be found worthy to attain eternal salvation. The objectives of this class are:
1. To read and discuss the Sunday Gospel lesson, and understand how it specifically relates to our everyday lives
2. To instill a sense of thankfulness to each student for all things in life, such as parents, shelter, food, transportation, money, work, health, and religious freedom (that is, to count our blessings and to not take anything for granted).
3. To discuss contemporary issues and to instill a sense of morality in each student through discussions based on the bible and the teachings of Orthodox Church Fathers on each of the following topics:
a. Gambling (casino and sports), bingo, and lotteries
b. Death and dying
c. Psychics and fortune-telling
d. Sex and marriage (including fornication, adultery,
and “living together”)
e. Homosexuality and same-sex unions (including
a discussion on the traditional family and why it
4. To instill the fact that satan and evil are everywhere present, and the need to constantly defend ourselves from these influences through Christian thought and prayer.
5. To instill in each student to accept ourselves as we are (in terms of our physical make up, as well as our mental capabilities), as this is how God has created us.
Topics which are covered during the Church School Year Include:
1. Major Orthodox Holy Days (feasts and fasts), their meaning and importance.
2. The lives of specific Orthodox saints, including saints whose names can be correlated with each student’s name, with an emphasis on the importance of celebrating the “name day” of one’s patron saint (just as a birthday is celebrated).
3. A review of the different parts of the Bible, with an emphasis on the differences between the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, and the Epistles.
4. Confession, repentance, and forgiveness.
5. Lent, Holy Week, and Pascha, with an emphasis on what this period and these holy days mean, why we have them, and why there is a concentration on repentance, prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.
6. Prayer; what it is, how to pray, and when to pray
7. Advent and Christmas
8. The symbolism of the Orthodox Baptismal service.
9. Epiphany and the role of Saint John the Baptist as the forerunner.
10. American customs, traditions, and holidays, and how they fit into our Orthodox Christian way of life.
11. How to understand people of other religions and faiths.
High School Orthodox Study Group: Ethics
This course aims to familiarize students with the Gospel teachings that have a direct bearing on relationships, daily behavior and decision making, when individuals, or groups, are faced with issues and problems that require personal initiative. At the end of the course, students guided by the words of Christ, should be better prepared to make choices among different paths leading to the resolution of ethical problems involving their own person, or their social group.