Chapel & Religious Studies


Chapel is held on Thursdays at 8:35 am for Grades 2 - 6, who meet in the Chapel of the Presidents at NPC. On Wednesdays at 8:35 am, Nursery - Grade 1 students meet in Jones Hall.

All members of the National Presbyterian School community participate in weekly Chapel, a time to nurture the community’s spiritual life through Scripture lessons, sacred music and prayer. Chapels reinforce the School’s Core Values and belief in a Judeo-Christian system of values, including love for God, for others, and respect for other faith traditions. Lower Division students attend Chapel service in Jones Hall, while Upper Division students attend Chapel in the National Presbyterian Church’s Chapel of the Presidents. The oldest students in each service—First Graders and Sixth Graders— serve in leadership roles as greeters, readers and acolytes. In addition, the chaplain, faculty, and NPC pastors deliver homilies. All students contribute to the Prayers of the People.

The entire school community gathers for special services for Opening Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Graduation in the Main Sanctuary of the National Presbyterian Church. The Religious Studies curriculum encourages each student’s spiritual growth while providing a foundation of Biblical and religious literacy. Built on a Christian foundation, Religious Studies classes provide a welcoming and safe environment for students of all religious backgrounds to learn and grow. Through intentional incorporation of the Core Values and themes from Chapel, classes foster a loving environment for children to listen to each other’s beliefs, practices and questions. Attention is paid to connecting the students’ experiences at school, in Chapel and class, to their decision making and sense of themselves.

Learning in Action

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Religious Studies Overview

The Religious Studies Program

Students in Grades 2nd-6th grades take Religious Studies. The Religious Studies curriculum encourages each student’s spiritual growth while also providing a foundation of Biblical and religious literacy. Built on a Christian foundation, Religious Studies classes provide a welcoming and safe environment for students of all religious backgrounds to learn and grow. Religious Studies classes further weave the core values of the school into the curriculum, along with service learning, chapel services, and community life.

Each year of the Religious Studies curriculum builds on those that precede it

Grade 2

Introduction to the Old Testament

This course begins by looking at how the Old Testament came to be, and how students can identify the particular sections and books within it. Students identify major characters in the Old Testament and how they serve as models of faith for us. Students also think about how their own stories, in their families and communities, connect to the major themes of the stories of the Old Testament.

Grade 3

Introduction to the New Testament

Students learn about the formation of the New Testament canon and how to identify its particular sections and books. Students follow the stories of Jesus and his disciples, and how they serve as models of faith for us. Students also think about how their own stories, in their families and communities, connect to the theme of God's unbounded love for us, found throughout the New Testament scriptures.

Grade 4

The Christian Life

Students explore basic Christian beliefs, sacraments, types of prayer and worship. Students learn how to be theologians; to look at life through the study of God. Through practicing types of prayers, learning about Christian worship, and exploring Christian practices beyond their own tradition, students gain a full view of the Christian Life.

Grade 5

Introduction to the Abrahamic Faiths: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam

By learning about Abraham, a central figure, and Jerusalem, a sacred location, of all three faiths, students begin their exploration of these three monotheistic religions. As students experience the sacred tests, symbols, and holy days of a tradition other than their own, the grow in understanding of friends and neighbors. The unique aspects of each tradition are highlighted, as well as the key beliefs of each faith that encourage us to care for our neighbors and the world.

Grade 6

Ethics & Decision Making

Using case studies, students engage in basic ethical theology and apply it to the life of a 6th Grader. Students look at how ethical decision making impacts life at school, home, and with friends, and also in service learning and global issues. In class discussion, students have opportunities to practice listening skills and learn how to disagree with respect.


NPS Students Excel at

  • Connecting the Core Values to lessons in Scripture
  • Actively and respectfully participating in worship services
  • Respecting the diversity of religious faith and practice in the world and within the Christian tradition
  • Connecting lessons from scripture to everyday decision-making
  • Actively listening to the ideas, beliefs, and questions of their peers
  • Engaging with Bible stories through skits, songs, art, sign language, and class discussion

Religious Studies Activities

  • Dressing as Israelites and following Moses on a two-day journey to the Promised Land through the school (2)
  • Making a book of drawings of New Testament stories (3)
  • Visiting the National Presbyterian Church sanctuary to study the stained glass windows, learn the parts of the church and the basics of Christian worship (4)
  • Celebrating the end of each Religious Studies unit with a special lunch and a visit to a synagogue, church, and mosque (5)
  • Writing ethical case studies for their peers and creating presentations on the Core Values to Second Grade (6)


Rev. Jen Dunfee, Chaplain

MDiv, Yale University
AB, Duke University
jdunfee@nps-dc.org

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