In the program, children from ages 2-18 learn to respect the inherent worth of every human being and to develop those values that will integrate them into the greater human family.The Ethical Education Program offers a supportive community for all ages, including care for infants and toddlers in our nursery, activities and organized classes each Sunday for children ages 5 - 12, a Coming of Age program for middle schoolers, and a Youth Group for older teens. We operate as a cooperative and we welcome visitors.
We come together to inspire a love, knowledge, and the practice of ethical living and social justice in our children and in each other. At the core of our program, we seek to connect children to the history and values of Ethical Humanism from the time they’re toddlers through their late teens. Together, we encourage them to explore and define their own values and beliefs. We do that by teaching kids about the wide range of humanity's past and present values, spiritual traditions, experiences and actions in the world around them. We ensure that children have multiple opportunities to discover ways that society and the natural world operate around them and how they can be forces for peace and justice within it.
On Sundays mornings from 10am - 12pm, families are welcome to use
our childcare in the nursery upstairs at no cost. Simply sign in with the staff member in the nursery when you arrive.
The Weekday Nursery School is not affiliated with the Ethical Society of St. Louis, although many parents send their children to the nursery school and to the Ethical Society's Sunday School program. Please see the nursery school's website for information.
This year, children in our Sunday School will form small teams.
On a typical Sunday morning, each team will examine the same topic from
different angles and depths. This allows for continuity of learning within families. It also allows children to discover meaning in the material at levels that suit their development. All of the teams will participate in lessons designed to explore the following core values:
All teams identify ways they can serve and lead, and they will be supported to
follow those ambitions. Children also be challenged to practice skills such as
critical thinking, ethical decision making, peace making, creative problem, and
creative, respectful self-expression.
Team Sheldon will also focus on deepening their understanding of the history of Ethical Humanism and leaders within the Movement.
In addition to all of the above Team Spencer will have additional opportunities to explore a wide range of religious traditions.
This year, children and families will find that we’ve carved out new ways for
everyone to fully and meaningfully engage in the Ethical education program and in the Society as a whole.
Almost every faith or culture has a ritual meant to carry a person from childhood to adulthood. Commonly known types are Confirmation in a Christian church and a bar/bat Mitzvah in the Jewish tradition. At the Ethical Society, young people come together every Sunday from 10am - 12pm as members of the Coming of Age program. Coming of Age is for students in the 7th and 8th grades, a time when an adolescent’s social world changes and they naturally begin to examine their place in it.
While many faiths teach from the Bible, Koran, or other works, we prefer a flexible curriculum that doesn't draw from any one spiritual or philosophical source. Your child has learned morals and values in your home, where it's most important, and now is the time for them to explore those concepts and how they relate to school, family, social circles, and themselves. This isn't the kind of class that looks for or necessarily encourages finite answers to complex questions. While the end result of this program are quite similar, the journey taken is quite different. Our environment is accepting and open. All opinions and beliefs are welcome and there is no judgment when a different opinion is voiced. We enjoy a lot of flexibility with the curriculum. There are set lessons
and discussion topics, but we allow for flexibility in the classroom if students
express interest in exploring other ideas related to our overarching core values.
Class discussions, as you might imagine, often center around world religions and philosophies. We look through the lenses of established religious traditions as a means of guiding students to examine their own beliefs. Many faiths teach that their way is the only correct way to make sense of the world and their place in it. Ethical Culture stresses that there is always more than one way to view the world and that each of us can be trusted to choose our path. Our hope is that we can further develop the sense of self that will anchor your child as they grow and personalize the values you’ve instilled in them.
In addition to the class work, we bring in outside resources and presenters to discuss relationship dynamics and improving communication skills. And a favorite part of the class is visiting different houses of worship (most of which are selected by the class). The class concludes with a graduation ceremony lead by the students. Each eighth grade student (students in the second year of the Coming of Age program) will craft a speech about a subject important to them. It’s theirs to choose. Subject matter is wide open because everyone has different priorities. Topics have ranged from the life of an influential HIV/AIDS doctor to the importance of skateboarding. Students have access to plenty of help in getting the speeches written, so no worries. The ceremony is also a
place to showcase artistic talents.
Coming Of Age is an experience that your child will carry with them long after class ends - the ideas and beliefs they develop and also the friendships they will build.
Young people in grades 9 -12 meet every Sunday morning from 10am until 12pm. As members of the Youth Group, teens offer each other a safe, respectful, and confidential environment where they can freely discuss and explore topics that are important to them. While the group is youth led, an adult advisor is always on- site to assist in the facilitation of the program. Youth Group members work together to organize service activities, fundraisers, and other events throughout the year. A highlight of each year is the annual conference with other Ethical Humanist teens from around the country called
the Y.E.S. Conference (Youth of Ethical Societies). This year, the Y.E.S. Conference will be held here in St. Louis! The Youth Group takes on the responsibility of organizing and presenting a Platform for the full congregation, an event we call Youth Sunday. For this event, Youth Group members identify a topic and how it should be presented. These are always wonderfully insightful and creative mornings.
From 10am - 11am on Sunday mornings, we have a wide array of activities and
workshops designed for children ages 5 - 12. We call these Special Interest Groups, and they are facilitated by our members, guests, and our kids themselves. The topics are chosen based on our members’ gifts and our kids’ interests. In the past, topics have included woodworking, sewing, dancing, crafts, rocket making, baking, computer programming, and yoga, just to name a few.
We welcome visitors! Please join in at any time. If you find that the program fits your family, we hope you will enroll. We ask that families of enrolled students share in the cost of operating the program. A wide variety of payment options is available.
We do not want cost to prohibit children from participating.
No family will be asked to contribute more than $300 total, regardless of the number of children they wish to enroll.
If you are interested in sponsoring a student whose family is unable to cover the cost of enrollment, we welcome your support in keeping the Ethical Education program accessible.
For more information, please contact: