Students in all grade levels study religions to develop an understanding of traditions, practices, belief and symbol systems, and ethics. They engage meaningfully with the essential concepts of various traditions and develop tools to critically examine sources and texts. Students consider models of practice and values to reflect on their own choices and aspirations. Our courses help students develop an understanding of religious pluralism, the compelling practice of compassion, and the importance of ethical action.
Students are introduced to and reflect on topics such as blessing, community, friendship, sacred stories, celebrating festivals, taking care of the environment, service to others, and living in fairness and justice. They learn to make connections between religious ideals and the celebration of festivals.
Students are introduced to various religious traditions and visit places of worship in the city. They make the connection between institutional and personal religion, and examine the intersection of religion and politics in the United States. Students explore the lives of people who have changed the world to consider the possibilities of what they can do with their own power for good, an essential piece of the OES mission. Students write a reflective paper “This I believe,” and engage in planning chapel services for grades 6, 7, and 8.
Upper School courses prepare students to examine with critical and emotional intelligence religious traditions and contemporary religious movements in the world. Students gain a sophisticated understanding of the literature, categories, and vocabulary relevant to these traditions, and apply their understanding to analyze contemporary phenomena such as anti-religious modernism and the conflict it can engender. Students develop an understanding of religious pluralism, the compelling practice of compassion, and the importance of ethical action.