Religion in the Middle School reflects the Religion at Breck statement including the values of incarnational, scriptural, liturgical, inclusive, service minded, and moderate. None of which exclude learning about religious and spiritual topics while having fun!
There are two main aspects to the MS Religion program, our Religion classes and chapel.
The curriculum begins in 5th grade with a World Religions class. We explore the traditions of Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, and Islam. For each tradition we study and celebrate one holiday or festival to give students an experiential perspective on the tangible practices of each faith.
The 6th grade curriculum continues with the Old Testament. This is the first "biblical studies" class that students have and no previous Bible knowledge is required. We start with the very basics including how to pronounce each book from Isaiah to Habbakuk and how to cite scripture according to book, chapter, and verse.
The New Testament is the topic for the 7th grade Religion class. The class examines the life of Jesus as a prophet. Our approach is to consider the text analytically, identifying connections between the stories and how the Christian faith is currently observed. This also includes encouraging students to look beyond the obvious message of the scripture and consider what a deeper message may be.
In the 8th grade we study Ethics. Specifically we discuss right versus wrong as it applies to everyday ethical situations and other broader topics. Students respond to ethical scenarios in an online journal forum and participate in activities where they are asked to defend their ethical intuitions and beliefs.
Chapel in the Middle School happens twice a week and includes prayer, reflection, rituals, singing, and homilies. Readings could be text from the Old or New Testament, the Torah, a poem, a quote, a speech, or any sacred text from a variety of religious traditions. Games such as Chapel Feud, two truths and a lie, and Chapel Challenge have all been known to happen in an MS chapel in order to further our spiritual understanding of a tradition or topic. Rituals as solemn as the imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday and as light and fun as Birthday blessing have been enjoyed. Chapel is a time for us as a community to be the midst of one another and God. It is our understanding the divine dwells in each of us and chapel is a place where we honor that belief.
Other events and opportunities of the Religion Department in the Middle School include All-School Chapel, Blessing of the Animals, Chapel Committee, a family Eucharist on Christian High Holy days, Grandparents' Day, and many others.