Sunday School has existed in the Parish of the Russian Orthodox Church of St. Panteleimon for many years. Priests and parishioners have always set themselves the task of familiarizing children with the basics of faith and making efforts to achieve it. In recent years, the school has grown, children of different ages came, and two groups have appeared – kids and older children. Also, comfortable classrooms with the necessary equipment have been prepared. All these efforts are aimed at achieving several goals at once. The main one is the instilling in the child a love for the temple and worship, so the child can bring to the church his joy and pain, know how to turn to the priest, and learn how to live in the church. Such an attitude is more difficult to create than to teach information, but it is made possible through the efforts of parents and teachers of the school.
Secondly, the school is called upon to give children religious education – to give them an understanding of the services, the structure of the temple, to teach them how to pray, and help them to understand the Holy Scripture. In order for the child to know these issues, it is not enough to attend the divine services, but clarifications, comments, and dialogue between the teacher and children are needed.
The lessons of our Sunday school are also built on the transfer of Orthodox cultural traditions to the child. The current year’s program includes familiarizing children with music, painting, and literature. The Orthodox picture of the world is presented through works of art. This develops in children an aesthetic sense, creativity, and appreciation for music.
One of the most important tasks of the School is to instill in children “feelings of elbow”, that is, feeling part of a large family. Such socialization is important, children learn friendliness, sensitivity, trust, tolerance, and they acquire not only friends for many years, but also like-minded, kindred spirits.
Thus, the school creates a unique environment for the development of children, which is difficult to reproduce at home, in the family. The social circle, in which the child is “brewed” in school, allows him or her to discuss with peers the questions posed, to jointly discover the foundations of the Orthodox worldview and culture.
If we talk about the fruits of our studies, it is now possible to observe the children’s knowledge of some prayers, understanding the structure of the church, the sense of belonging to a large parish family, and the friendly ties between children.
The school employs a team of teachers with different life experiences, but one goal – to awaken children’s interest in the taught subject and to create the conditions for development.