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Northern Virginia Ethical Society (NoVES)

Director of Ethical Education Blog

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  • Friday, October 20, 2023 9:47 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Thank you to those of you who took some time on Sunday to participate in the vote set up by the kids! Our October topic was a lot of fun and a great way to remind everyone that we have state & local elections going on right now in Virginia! 

    This Sunday, I'll be at a local market hosting a coloring table for kids with voting-themed coloring pages. I encourage you all to take some time for ethical action yourselves. One way to spend your morning is to contact five people and make sure they have a plan to vote. You can share early voting information for Fairfax County and Loudoun County. Want to do more? There are plenty of opportunities to help in a way that speaks to you, like handing out sample ballots of door-to-door canvassing. 

  • Thursday, October 12, 2023 9:42 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This update isn't just for our Ethical Kids! Hopefully many of you will join us Sunday for Melissa's platform and our kid-led election following the platform! Last class, the kids talked about elections, helped put together a plan for an election on Sunday, and even made a special ballot box for us to use. 

    Our candidates? What treat I should bring to our 11/5 platform. Joey is advocating for chocolate pie, while Lily is promising an assortment of cake pops. It's up to you, the voters, to decide what happens next. Either way, I know what I'm doing on November 4 (and I'm accepting gluten-free and vegan recipes for both candidates if you have them!) 

  • Friday, September 29, 2023 5:57 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This Sunday we'll start our next topic: Voting and Advocacy! With state & local elections coming up, it's a great time to talk about why voting matters and how we can advocate for ourselves and others. 

    We'll meet at Green Hedges and start off in the main room with the platform. I'm reading the book this week, and right after that we'll move to the classroom. Parents are welcome to join in, or stay and listen to the platform. 

    This week, the students will be working on a campaign of their own -- to decide what snack I bring to our next class (on 10/15)! They'll practice their influencing skills by making signs and, at Josie's request, speeches. 

    I can't wait for Sunday! I'm so excited to see where the kids take this activity. 


  • Friday, September 22, 2023 7:36 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Our September classes on Interconnected Life have been a lot of fun! It's been wonderful to see the kids apply what they know about nature and communities to reflect on questions about how we rely on each other. 

    This Sunday, we planned to take a walk to cap off our conversation. Unfortunately, it looks like it will either be very rainy or very muddy on Sunday. Instead, let's take a well-deserved week off before we start our new topic in October -- voting and activism! 

  • Friday, September 15, 2023 7:50 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It was so great to get the chance to meet some new families last Sunday! We spent our time together getting to know each other, doing some art, and talking about how living things are all connected to each other. We also set some norms for our class. I shared the goals of our space and encouraged them to always feel empowered to let me know what would be more fun or interesting for the group. We also started making our class playlist, which has some bangers so far. 

    This Sunday, we're going to meet at Green Hedges to continue on the theme of interconnectedness and take advantage of what looks like incredible weather! We'll start out in our classroom to share our joys and concerns and align on our goals for the day. Then we'll go outside to the playground and make some notes about plants and animals that we see. We'll take our notes back inside (or to the picnic tables) and talk about the different items we saw, what they need to thrive and what relies on them.

    This will prepare us for next Sunday, when we spend NoVES's virtual Sunday on a nature walk! 

  • Friday, September 08, 2023 7:01 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I can't wait to see you all on Sunday! We're going to start off our year by talking about how we are all interconnected. After the children's story during platform, we'll move back to our classroom. After talking about the story and what it meant to us, we'll transition Into our topic for the month. 

    Our class on Sunday will be a mixture of group discussion and arts and crafts. While the kids are working on their art, we'll have some music playing, so please send me one or two of your kid's favorite songs so I can add them to our playlist! 

    For those in the platform, be sure to stick around to see what our Ethical Kids made this week! 

  • Friday, September 01, 2023 3:24 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Our September Ethical Education programming starts next Sunday! This month, we will focus on the relationships between plants, animals, and humans. We will also talk about relationships in communities to set us up for our October topic -- voting! 

    I'm looking forward to this programming, and I'm especially looking forward to meeting some new people and inviting them into our program. We've set ourselves up this year for maximum flexibility and I can't wait to start testing and learning with our families! 

  • Friday, August 18, 2023 9:49 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    One of my favorite books is Essentialism, which encourages the reader to focus on what they do best and focus on doing those things rather than all of the many other things that we can do with our days. This doesn't always work out -- I'm not great at cleaning but I can't get away with just not doing it! 

    The book can be quickly and roughly summarized as "Do Less, But Better".  I've been thinking a lot this summer about what we do best as an Ethical Education program. There are a few things that have come up for me, and these are the areas where I want to really focus in the upcoming year: 

    1. Provide a space for kids to connect with each other and experience a community that is rooted not in belief, but in dedication to learning and growing. 
    2.  Encourage kids to consider how we impact others and the world (and help them make that impact positive!) 
    3. Build critical thinking skills at all ages to prepare our kids to respond to challenges that they will inevitably face. 

    We'll structure this year to build in more space for iteration, with monthly topics rather than topics that span all year (less, but better). If you have any ideas or want to take a month to help teach, please reach out! 

  • Friday, July 21, 2023 8:42 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    "The dead are not dead if we have loved them truly." - Felix Adler

    This is going to be a bit of a downer, but I promise I have a point! However, as a content warning I'm going to be talking about pet death in my update this week. 

    On Wednesday night our cat, Pixel, passed. I've always felt like explaining death to kids without the "cheat code" of heaven was doing it on hard mode and that felt very real this week. However, the experience is a reminder of how important connecting in our community and continually reflecting on Ethical Culture is. 

    What I most hope to pass on to Josie through our ethical education program, and what I think is so unique to us, is that the present matters. How we treat each other, how we take care of the world around us, and how we move through life matters inherently, not in service of anything else. This is reinforced at how we talk about death. My answers about where Pixel is now may not seem magical or soothing, but they're also unimportant. They distract us from what does have meaning -- the time that we spent with her. 

    I appreciate this community today because I'm able to rely on friends for support, get advice that is meaningful and aligns with my values (thank you Melissa for recommending The Tenth Good Thing About Barney!), and remember to stay focused on the things that matter. 

  • Friday, June 30, 2023 9:16 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The final AEU listening session is Saturday morning at 11am (you might be reading this as it’s happening!) I’m especially excited about this session because it’s truly about the future of the AEU — our ethical education programs.

    I had the opportunity to talk to fellow education directors for over two hours last week. While our conversation was ostensibly about the future of the AEU, we kept coming back to our own immediate, tactical needs as educators trying to grow our societies and bring ethical education to more kids. I expect to hear the same dynamic tomorrow, and I hope to see some of you there to ask questions, comments, and make your voice heard!


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