BACS Religion Overview

The purpose of the Bryn Athyn Church School religion program is to help students learn, live and love the teachings of the Lord God Jesus Christ as revealed in the Old and New Testaments and the Heavenly Doctrines. Five broad goals serve as an overarching vision for fulfilling this purpose:

  1. Helping students develop an ongoing and developmentally appropriate affection and understanding of who the Lord Jesus Christ is in their own lives
  2. Nurturing an affection for, a knowledge of, and a belief in the Lord’s Word while also developing an ability to read it with understanding and delight.
  3. Helping students learn how to live a life of charity and morality and giving them opportunities to practice it.
  4. Fostering in students an understanding of and delight in the forms and uses of worship and prayer.
  5. Helping students develop a sense of their place and use in the stream of Providence and a confidence that the Lord is continually leading them and providing for their needs.

The primary students are taught religion by their classroom teacher in a worship setting. The students in fourth through eighth grades have religion class taught by a minister as part of their academic day. These students also have Monday worship in their classrooms given by their homeroom teacher as well as chapel on Tuesdays through Thursdays, where a particular part of the Word is taught by a minister. The whole school worships together on Fridays.

Curriculum for Each Grade

Use the menus to the right to find out more about the curriculum for specific grades.

BACS Curriculum (K-8) by Grade – (printable pdf)

Learning in kindergarten takes place through a wide variety of “hands on” activities. We believe children at kindergarten age learn best through these activities as we guide them toward the beginnings of higher level thinking. Some highlights of the year include our singing The Twelve Days of Christmas at the annual BACS Christmas program, our international feast and our spring music show. 

First Grade
First graders love to learn. This delight makes the first grade classroom a special place.  This affection for learning is reflected in their questioning the “why” of so many things. They are very accepting of the great truths about the Lord, creation, heaven and charity to one’s neighbors. A highlight of the first grade year is the first grade play performed in the spring.

Second Grade
Second graders’ small motor strength, coordination, and attention spans continue to develop. They throw themselves into tasks and games, sometimes to exhaustion. They can independently care for most of their physical needs. With this in mind, we offer a variety of learning experiences, so each child can feel successful in various ways. Highlights of the year include feasts connected to social studies units, and trips to the Lenape Village and the Philadelphia Zoo.

Third Grade
Third graders have an increasing capacity for abstract thinking, and are developing an awareness of cause-effect relationships and sequencing, yet there is a strong need to have everything grounded in the concrete. Third grade is a transitional year from childhood to pre-adolescent beginnings. Trying to fit in and be accepted by peers may become important as the year continues. The child needs to feel that the Lord loves him, and will help him in times of trouble. The child needs to gain a feeling of respect for the Lord’s laws, and for His miraculous power. A highlight of third grade is the grandparent friends program. It helps the children to develop connections with older people in the community.

Fourth Grade
Fourth grade is a transitional year for students as they have graduated from the primary grades where they “learned to read”. A shift towards “reading to learn” is a focus in the intermediate grades. Socially, a fourth grader is becoming more peer-conscious and they are delighted with the many opportunities to work with classmates. Practicing charity and respect for others is modeled and encouraged throughout the year. Highlights include the rainforest feast in the spring, as well as dressing in medieval costumes and making a pilgrimage to Glencairn Museum. Fourth graders always enjoy the annual trip in the fall to the Adventure Aquarium. 

Fifth Grade
Fifth grade is a good age to emphasize friendship as it is a time when peers take on a new importance. Students begin to want to understand themselves in a social context. In general fifth graders are eager to learn and love to apply known skills and knowledge. Highlights of the year are the creation and performance of an explorer puppet play and a Colonial day in the spring.

Sixth Grade
Sixth grade is a year of transition between childhood and adolescence, from the intermediate unit to the upper unit, from elementary school to middle school. As a result, students can be in a variety of places in their spiritual, physical, affective, cognitive and social development. As the students progress through the year, they begin to take on more responsibility for their learning, and they are increasingly ready to think more globally about the world around them. A highlight for the year is an independent country study that culminates in a Country Fair in the spring where students showcase their acquired knowledge of their individual country. Earlier in the year sixth grade visits the University of Pennsylvania and Glencairn Museums to appreciate the artifacts from the ancient cultures studied this year.

Seventh Grade
Seventh grade is the first time that boys and girls are separated into different classes. We believe that boys and girls learn differently and that this contrast becomes significantly more distinct during puberty. Consequently, even though both classes are learning the same curriculum, methods and activities are crafted to appeal specifically to boys or girls. Highlights for the girls include making gingerbread houses and fabric dolls. A special project for the boys is painting Revolutionary War cast soldiers.

Eighth Grade
Eighth grade is an exciting culmination of a student’s BACS career. Our academic focus is on preparing students for the coming challenges of high school. Students have opportunities to practice time management while working on long term assignments. The eighth grade class pulls together to put on a play for the younger students, doing all aspects of theater production. Eighth grade also takes field trips that support the curriculum.