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to tell nursery that I don't want dd to sing "grace"

(64 Posts)
Faggotsnpeas Thu 21-Jul-11 12:46:06

At the moment my dd doesn't have lunch at nursery, but will when she goes back in September for once a week, then twice after xmas. I was not aware that the children sang "grace" prior to having their lunch, until I heard them this lunch time when I picked up dd. It is not a religious nursery, they have children of different cultures, and we are not a religious family. Never had dd christened and wont have our ds christened, who is due oct.
I heard the children singing a line "thank you god for the food we eat". So AIBU in saying to the nursery that I do want dd to have to sing "grace" as she always thanks us for meals she is given, and as we are providing her with the lunch she will be having at the nursery, that should be enough.

Appreciate your views on this matter.

charleneanne Thu 21-Jul-11 12:53:03

i dont think you being at all unreasonable you dont do it at home so why should your dd be made to do it at nursery as you say it isnt a religous school we dont beleive either so when it comes to trips to mosques etc i refuse permission for my children to go the same as i have told the school if my ds doesnt want to do RE i will not make him do homework on that subject parents do have rights

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 21-Jul-11 12:53:12

As an atheist I have to say this kind of thing doesn't bother me any more than when they start singing Christmas carols or whatever later on at school. I treat god references as cultural rather than relgious... smile But if it bothers you then say something to them.

redskyatnight Thu 21-Jul-11 12:53:37

I think you could "suggest" to the nursery that they used graces that didn't mention "God".

However, be aware that she'll likely be subject to random mentions of "god" all through her school life. DD came home yesterday singing a song about "God knows my name", assembly is broadly Christian based (even at a non-church/religious school) and then there are harvest festivals/Christmas nativities etc. Yes, you can withdraw her from "religious events" but I think avoiding any mention of God will be pretty tricky.

IMO your best response would be to tell her that some people think there is a God who created all living things and that saying a grace is just about being thankful.

Malcontentinthemiddle Thu 21-Jul-11 12:55:25

YABU.
Grace is just a nice way of making children aware that they are fortunate in having food to eat, and a good way of pausing before they dive straight in and devour it. I'm an atheist, but I still think it's civilized to pause for thought even if you discount the god bit in your head.

CalamityKate Thu 21-Jul-11 12:56:14

See, I'm firmly atheist and it wouldn't bother me much.

My kids go to a church-y school and they come home banging on about "GodWhoLivesInOurHearts" (all one word, just like that lol) and when they ask what I think I say vaguely that some people believe in him and some people don't and everyone's different and that's fine.

dexter73 Thu 21-Jul-11 12:58:59

Tbh I'm not sure how they will be able to stop her singing as she will see and hear everyone else singing and want to join in. They would probably have to actually segregate her from the others to stop her singing along with them.

mistressploppy Thu 21-Jul-11 13:04:00

I'm with Malcontent. I think you'll create more of an issue by insisting on her not singing it. If she doesn't want to sing, she shouldn't be made to, but that's different IMO.

So just regurgitating what Calamity and dexter said really blush <not helpful>

Totally with Malcom - its another way of showing gratifude for what we have. Let her sing it, you wouldnt want her singled out anyway would you.

ceebie Thu 21-Jul-11 13:09:52

I am not sure that children appreciate being singled out and excluded from things - even if it is just grace. She will be able to make up her own mind about god when she's old enough to understand but in the meanwhile, why make an issue of it?

dexter73 Thu 21-Jul-11 13:11:48

Just as a bit of debate, what about Christmas carols? Will you not like her to sing them either?
I'm not religious and am not christened and neither is my dd, but I don't think saying grace at nursery is going to do her any harm.

SunRaysthruClouds Thu 21-Jul-11 13:14:36

Yes YABU. Unfortunately some people seem to take the 'I don't believe' line too far. she is only little.

But you could tell her to sing thanks to Mother Earth, whence all things come and to where all things shall return etc.
I am not a pagan really but agree with those that say it would be good if she could express thanks for the food in some way.

supergreenuk Thu 21-Jul-11 13:18:20

Like it or not you live in a Christian country. Unless you plan on banning Christmas, Easter etc it's going to be present in her life. I think mostly things are done as tradition rather than with any deep seated faith so I would leave it and discuss it if she brings it up with you.

Tanif Thu 21-Jul-11 14:15:04

Are you of a non-christian religion? Or are you atheist? If you're of a different faith you definitely ANBU to ask for her not to sing it. However, if you're atheist you don't have any beliefs, you have an absence of belief, therefore shouldn't care about any old rubbish they sing, really. As has already been mentioned, does she sing christmas carols? Get eggs at easter?

But at the end of the day she's your DD and if you don't feel comfortable having her say grace then exclude her from it.

Ahhh having childhood memories now... "This little prayer to god we say, thank you for our food today, amen!"

fgaaagh Thu 21-Jul-11 14:19:29

However, if you're atheist you don't have any beliefs, you have an absence of belief, therefore shouldn't care about any old rubbish they sing, really.

Er, I'm not so sure that's reasonable.

Why "should" the OP not care if her DD is being asked to sing worship songs in honour of someone else's God, that she doesn't personally believe in? Are only people who believe in one imaginary friend entitled to care about singing to another person's imaginary friend?

PrincessScrumpy Thu 21-Jul-11 14:22:18

I completely understand your position. My only thought really is that your dd is too young to understand why all her friends are doing something and she can't. Making a bigger issue may upset your dd.

I used to pick up dd from nursery just before afternoon snack, but they moved the time to 10minutes earlier for the snack so I turned up 3 times to find dd sitting with the others with no food. She looked so confused why she wasn't allowed any. I decided to pay the extra £1 a day so she felt included. I know that's not a religious issue but for me it was about dd feeling part of what was going on.

My dad was forced to go to a religious school and go to church - he is not at all religious and it hasn't damaged him, just given him an understanding of other beliefs. You can treat god like fairies and dragons if you don't believe.

You can of course get her excluded from it but just think how that would work first. Good luck x

Malcontentinthemiddle Thu 21-Jul-11 14:23:13

I think it's this line that's dubious, OP:

she always thanks us for meals she is given, and as we are providing her with the lunch she will be having at the nursery, that should be enough.

You don't sing grace to say thanks to the midday supervisors who cooked it -you're taking a few brief moments to appreciate having the food. Now I don't believe in God, or Mother Earth, or gaia or anything, but I still think a little reflection on how bloody lucky you are to have some food in front of you is a good thing. You could say to her, if you're really concerned, that maybe when they sing 'god' (and as I remember, the grace you mentioned is almost secular until the line 'thank you God for everything') you could say that God is how some people think about it, and that's fine, but if she likes she could just think of it as 'good luck' or whatever.

Re. carols - I am the atheistist atheist I know, but I like it that the kids sing carols at school - cultural heritage and all that, beautiful tunes, something I grew up with which I'm glad they do too. God is just a model here, for me, for some reasonably noble/nice sentiments.

Tanif Thu 21-Jul-11 14:27:32

fgaaagh, I did add at the bottom that it's HER DD and if she feels uncomfortable it's her decision.

Continuum Thu 21-Jul-11 14:30:09

Surely the best way to make her non-religious is to let her grow up with all that rote school stuff like loads of people did and who subsequently find the whole Christianity thing just a bit irrelevant... otherwise she might end up resenting the whole being made to feel different and become a Christian to spite you!!

stickylittlefingers Thu 21-Jul-11 14:32:36

I wonder is the main reason they do it to stop the children diving in too quickly? We were at a (church run) playgroup for a bit, and they had a ditty (non-religious) to chant pre lunch, to stop Child A having finished their food before Child Z had even got hers, so no one started eating until ditty was sung, and no one sung until all the food was on plates in front of the children. I thought it was a good idea!

Perhaps rather than rushing in with the "don't make her sing it" line, you could ask why they do it, and suggest a non-religious way to achieve the same effect?

BTW totally agree re carols. I don't believe a word of them, but hearing children sing carols makes me tearful, and it's not Christmas without Carols from Kings. It's not easy being an atheist and totally consistent!!

ruddynorah Thu 21-Jul-11 14:34:56

What malcontent said.'god' can be whatever you want it to be.

tawrag Thu 21-Jul-11 14:35:47

I'm constantly amazed at how much religion-based nonsense is still practised in this country with hardly anyone objecting. If all the atheists objected, they'd probably be a majority.

lesley33 Thu 21-Jul-11 14:43:23

I am an aethist as are my parents. But they didn't withdraw us from any religious aspects at our school - a state school that still had Christian assemblies, etc. I think they were right not to. Children don't like being madse to feel excluded and separate from their class mates - especially when they are too young to understand why this is happening.

What you teach her at home will have much more impact. So I think you should just let this go. To insist she doesn't say grace will probably just confuse your DD when all the other children are saying it - and may upset her unnecessarily.

itisnearlysummer Thu 21-Jul-11 15:19:36

When there are so many people without food, encouraging the children to be thankful for the food they have seems like a good idea to me.

Does the nursery make a specific reference to God or do they just express thanks for the food on their table?

Agree with lesley, that it would upset her unnecessarily.

notso Thu 21-Jul-11 15:40:40

YANBU if you also ask for her not to be in the Nativity play, harvest festival etc.

YABU if you happily turn a blind eye to the above.

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