Skip to main content
  1. Life
  2. Religion & Spirituality
  3. General Religion

How did Sunday school begin?

See also

Sunday school started in England in the 1780s and truly was school. Due to the Industrial Revolution, poor children were working six days a week in factories and were illiterate. Sunday schools started to teach the three Rs (reading, writing, and arithmetic) using the Bible. Basic catechism, morality, prayers, and hymn singing were taught as well.

The movement spread to other countries, including the United States, but by 1870 Britain and America had compulsory state education and Sunday school became limited to religious education. However, Sunday school was still very much a place where children were given information about their faith as opposed to experiencing it.

Until recently this was still the case. Children were expected to memorize scripture and recite the answers to questions from a catechism. Anyone who went through a confirmation program more than 20 years ago can probably attest to this. Being confirmed meant learning your denomination’s doctrine and youth weren't expected to question what they were taught.

Today we are seeing Christian educators reevaluating how Sunday school can best help form a lasting faith in children and youth and getting away from giving information; spiritual practices, services projects, and other activities are being used to help children grow in their faith by living by its principles.

Advertisement

Life

  • Dan Savage
    Dan Savage cares about LGBT youth, bullying and saving lives
    Today's Buzz
  • Raku
    Teachers and students can use this summer to learn a new skill
    Camera
    15 Photos
  • Beach body
    Fitness: Earn your beach body badge with bootcamp classes
    Camera
    10 Photos
  • Greek wine
    Unwind with these delicious wines: The thrilling wines of Greece
    Camera
    7 Photos
  • Mandy Moore
    Exclusive interview with Celebrity Mandy Moore concerning animal activism
    Camera
    5 Photos
  • Educational family vacations
    Find out how to take an educational family vacation that doesn't break the bank
    Camera
    9 Photos

Related Videos:

  • 'Song of the New Earth': New film out about sound healer Tom Kenyon, Exceptional
    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/YdR5xbAoU70?VQ=HD720&amp;allowfullscreen=true&amp;autoplay=1"></iframe>
  • Bullies do not belong in today's society
    <div class="video-info" data-id="518257942" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url="http://pshared.5min.com/Scripts/PlayerSeed.js?sid=1304&width=480&height=401&playList=518257942&autoStart=true"></div>
  • Jewish Zodiac
    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/CEDPhz7p2Zs?VQ=HD720&amp;allowfullscreen=true&amp;autoplay=1"></iframe>