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AIBU to feel disappointed that religious songs and stories are being introduced to this toddler group?

(461 Posts)
neolara Wed 05-Oct-11 18:40:13

OK. I'll come clean and admit it's a toddler group that is run in a church, headed up by the vicar's wife and staffed by volunteers from the church community. It is a completely fantastic toddler group. It's wildly popular, very friendly, lovely, lovely volunteers who make cups of tea and hand out biscuits and chat to all the mums. Really, IMO you couldn't ask for anything more from a toddler group. However, today they sang a couple of religious songs in amongst twinkle twinkle and started telling stories about Jesus. This is a new development and looks like a clear change of policy.

Up until today this toddler group was not obviously a "christian group" with no mention of Jesus or God, although families attending the group were invited along to child services and there was always information about the many and various activities the church organizes. I'm pretty convinced that the vast majority of families who go to the group are not attached to the church - they are just a random cross section of the people in our city. They go because it's a great group.

Now obviously, it is a church group, run by Christians and they are perfectly entitled to run it in whatever way they want. The running of the group has recently been taken over by someone new. She is extremely nice and seems very welcoming.

But as a non-believer, I felt very uncomfortable when the singing and stories are happening. I think this is partly because I just think the whole thing is nonsense (sorry to those who do believe, but I just do), partly because I see it as "indoctrinating" (I know this is only because I don't believe - if I agreed with the views I wouldn't see it in this way) and also because it makes me feel that if I don't believe then maybe I shouldn't be attending. I think that as the kids are so young, realistically they won't understand the stories or songs, so the fact that they are now happening is basically a way of signalling to the parents that this is now a religious group. Obviously, I can choose not to attend and this is something I may end up doing. All of which makes me sad because it has been such a fantastic, inclusive, toddler group in the past. I've been going to it for the past 7 years and it's been pretty great for all of that time.

Do you think it is worth mentioning to the (lovely) woman who runs the group the effect of introducing the religious element to the group? (I'd obviously leave out the bit about thinking Jesus is nonsense!) I wonder if she's even aware that by including religious songs / stories it can make it seem actively unwelcoming to those of other / or no faiths. Of course, this may be the effect that they are trying to achieve, which is obviously OK, (if sad for me!)

gleemama Wed 05-Oct-11 18:43:57

YABU. Its a church group. Don't like it, don't go imo. I'm amazed they haven't had a religious element before if it's run by the church, to be honest.

JaneFonda Wed 05-Oct-11 18:44:34

I'm not sure on this one, it is tough. sad

You certainly seem like a sensible and understanding person, so I think it would be worth mentioning to the woman about it.

It does seem a little bit silly to be preaching to toddlers, to be honest.

SauvignonBlanche Wed 05-Oct-11 18:44:36

It's a church group, in a church, run by Christians - what do you expect? hmm

gleemama Wed 05-Oct-11 18:45:13

That's not my user name btw. Don't know how that's happened.

BatsUpMeNightie Wed 05-Oct-11 18:45:46

The clue is right there - it's a Church Group. Get yourself off to a totally non-denominational group run by some humourless council somewhere OR put up and shut up.

I have tried and tried to see how a couple of songs could possibly 'indoctrinate' your children. They'll be the losers if you take them out but hey - as long as your lack of belief (to which you are entitled, of course) isn't rubbed up the wrong way.


ChitChattingWithKids Wed 05-Oct-11 18:46:06

YABU - get a grip and find a different toddler group if it offends you that much. Personally I would be delighted to find such a group.

gordyslovesheep Wed 05-Oct-11 18:46:12

as a humanist I have to say - stop worrying - it's singing and stories to toddlers - not waterboarding and forcing you to eat The Bible

you can choose not to go

your baby will not decide to be a Christian based on that

you are in for a shock when they start school

where is the harm in learning about faith - you can balance that out with your own beliefs

many of us where raised in the church and chose our own path - and if your child becomes religious that is their free choice smile

blackoutthesun Wed 05-Oct-11 18:46:49


worraliberty Wed 05-Oct-11 18:47:39

as a humanist I have to say - stop worrying - it's singing and stories to toddlers - not waterboarding and forcing you to eat The Bible

<Snorts> grin

BatsUpMeNightie Wed 05-Oct-11 18:47:55

Incidentally - my son went through 7 years of primary education at a C of E school despite us being non-practising non-C of E'ers. He seems to have survived and moreover seems to have made up his own mind about his own stance on the matter of religion. Brainwashed and indoctrinated? Absolutely not.

BatsUpMeNightie Wed 05-Oct-11 18:48:33

<<<snorts with Worra esp @ 'eating the Bible'>>>

3littlefrogs Wed 05-Oct-11 18:49:22

If you are a non-believer, why are you attending a church group? confused

worraliberty Wed 05-Oct-11 18:50:36

<Chops another line for Bats> grin

SauvignonBlanche Wed 05-Oct-11 18:51:19

<< also snorts>> at gordy grin

Xnedra Wed 05-Oct-11 18:51:59

How are the stories presented? Is it full on fire and brimstone if you don't believe in this 100% then you are doomed to hell, or is it stories about a person called Jesus who some people beleive was the messiah, some people believe was a prophet, some people believe was a historical figure and others believe was made up.
If it's the latter (stories) then what is the difference between those and fairy stories, or fables?

CheerfulYank Wed 05-Oct-11 18:54:18

I'd say leave it alone if you're otherwise happy there. Of course I'm a practicing Christian so it may just be that I would love to attend with DS. smile

Best of luck OP, and thank you for your considerate post.

CristinadellaPizza Wed 05-Oct-11 18:54:27

I don't think you can say anything - if they've decided to up the religious content, that's up to them. This is the reason I don't go to toddler groups in churches - because it'd be wrong of me to feel uncomfortable with any religious elements.

reallytired Wed 05-Oct-11 18:54:28

The church are providing the hall and probably heavily subsidizing the activities of the toddler group.

What do you expect? A couple of songs and stories isn't going to hurt anyone. Are you really that insecure about your beliefs?

CristinadellaPizza Wed 05-Oct-11 18:55:57

Well obviously it wouldn't be wrong to feel uncomfortable, it would be wrong to feel I had any influence.

Iggly Wed 05-Oct-11 18:56:31

Sorry to add to the chorus <geddit> but it is a church group. Different to a toddler group run in a church hall by third parties.

FWIW, I don't believe in god. My son goes to a church group or two and every now and then he brings home the odd painting with a bible quote on it. He's not starting reeling off passages from the bible yet

You're the one who is uncomfortable with this, not him. Ask yourself why?

<places a bet, that in several years when it comes to finding a school, OP has no qualms about trying to get into a faith school>

dogscatsandbabies Wed 05-Oct-11 18:57:30

DD and I attend a church run group despite our family not having attended church for many years!!! We sing religious songs at the end, and anyone who doesn't like it leaves before the singing starts. Totally not a problem.

DD loves the singing and I don't believe "Jesus' love is very wonderful" will turn her into a church goer anymore than "I'm a little teapot" will have her providing me with hot beverages.

wigglesrock Wed 05-Oct-11 18:58:10

YABU - you are willing enough to avail of the very friendly atmosphere, helpful volunteers, fantastic group held in a church, ran by the vicars wife but you are disappointed that they might sing a few hymns and tell some stories hmm

As you said in your OP if you don't like it don't go.

LetThereBeRock Wed 05-Oct-11 18:58:15

It's a church group.

It's a church group.

Have I mentioned that it's a church group?

What do you expect? I'm amazed that they haven't done it before now.

I'm an atheist myself and wouldn't like it,but you've no right to complain when you are choosing to go to a toddler group run by a church,that takes place in a church which is headed by the vicar's wife and staffed by church members.

garlicScaresVampires Wed 05-Oct-11 18:58:40

In my considered, devoutly atheist opinion, it's hand for kids to learn stuff like carols and the basics of Christianity. It underpins about 99.5% of our culture. Obviously, if/when DC start worrying about going to hell and having angels watching over them, etc, you'll have to tell 'em they're just stories that everybody knows. My parents pulled this off just fine AND managed to keep us believing in Santa Claus and the tooth fairy wink

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