The Sunday school movement began in Britain in the 1780s but the Sunday schools of that day were nothing like we have today; they were schools very much like our public schools today, only with the Bible as a core component. They were established to provide an elementary education on Sunday for children who were employed in factories, stores, and farms the rest of the week.
The Bible does not mention the Sunday school. The idea of teaching, however, is present in the New Testament Greek word paideia and is translated “nurture” in Ephesians 6:4. This word is also translated “instruct” and “chastise” and has the idea of correction and instruction. This is also the purpose of the Word of God. We read in2 Timothy 3:16-17that the word of God is profitable for teaching (which is the meaning of the word doctrine), for reproof, for correction and instruction so that the believer is equipped to obey God.
Israel was instructed to teach their children the statutes of the Lord, (Deut 4:10; 6:4-7 and 11:9): Throughout their history the Hebrews have conducted, and still conduct, the Yeshiva which is a school for teaching the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament. It usually began when the child was three to five years old and it was taught only to the boys.
In the early years of the church, believers met in homes or caves or areas where they would not be discovered due to persecution. The teaching of God’s truth to children was the job of the parents and was done in the home and this should be the norm, so what is taught in Sunday school should only be a supplement to what is taught at home.
Following this pattern of the Bible principles and the lessons of history, when Woodford started, we felt that we should invest time in teaching the children the Bible.
At Sunday school in Woodford we aim to give the children a firm understanding of the Word of God. We have a 5 year curriculum that moves through the major teachings, characters, themes and books of the Bible. We sing, learn memory verses, do quizzes, and go through Bible lessons and have lots of fun doing it.