Ethics For Children, Tweens & Teens

Here, young humans empower their ethical development, create life-long freindships, and stand up with care and courage for a GOOD WORLD in action.

A great September welcomes ALL

Young Ethical Explorers (YEE)
meets every Sunday at 11, except for major holidays.
Open to all ages — with projects that connect us as brothers and sisters in “the human family” as well as peer dialogues about the ethics of our lives .

COMING OF AGE:  Children in their second decade may be interested in a Coming of Age Group beginning in October.  If so, parent and youth info & envisioning-session is scheduled for September 23, at 1pm. Please RSVP with interests and questions to  You may visit
 for some information. 

YEE Programming open to all ages:  

September 9th:  
ORIENTATION & OPEN HOUSE:  10:30 arrival
Children's Philosophy Club will meet on the first Sunday of each month. 
This is a chance to look at "BIG questions."  First we'll meet an author of Big Questions:
JR Becker, author, founder of the Annabelle & Aiden book series

September 16:
Children become Ambassadors for International Day of Peace

September 23:
International Day of Peace ACTION-ist News & Sharing
Come "AS" your favorite peace hero.

September 30: 
Diving Deep into "Green" Action
Come "AS" your favorite green hero.

To be continued...

Color Harmony from Color Chaos

Color Chaos? No, Color Harmony!
Story by children: Gabriel, Katie, Lillian, Marifer, Siddharth, and adults Nildania and Audrey with prompts by Deepali of Writefully Ours
Creative Inspiration: Lynn Rowe Reed’s Color Chaos

Green = Peace
Blue = Effort
Yellow = Hope
Purple = Joy
Red-Violent = Anger to Resolution
Turquoise = Calm
Red = Love
Principal  Mr Greystone

One day, I made an announcement: “I want to be an illustrator!” My mother bought me a big box of crayons. I put them in my backpack and dashed off to school. Just inside the school I met our new substitute principal, Mr Greystone. His No’s went on and on. NO Running, NO Shouting, NO hopping, No Singing! In my classroom Mrs Peters wrote the schedule on the board. I saw that I would have to wait a long time to use my new crayons…after math, reading, testing, lunch, recess, spelling bee and science. 
At lunchtime I smuggled my crayons into the cafeteria. Next to the lunch line was Mr Greystone’s new board. We tried out Marvelous Magenta, Dandelion Yellow, and Periwinkle Blue and 61 other colors. When Mr. Greystone came in, he blew his stack! Art supplies in all colors were collected for disposal, recess was canceled. We got extra spelling words. 
“There will be NO more crayons, NO more markers, NO more colors of any kind!”
Meanwhile, inside the trash can, the colors started talking and bickering.”HOW WILL WE EVER GET OUT OF HERE,” said Black. “ quiet. Let’s stay hopeful as we work together to plan our escape,” said Hopeful Yellow. “Yes, we should be working together, with love, to find a way out of here.” said Red, brimming with Love for the other crayons.
Hard-working Blue had a great idea. “We can make a climbing pile from the stuff in the trash can to climb up. We can pile up crumpled paper, pens and board. It takes a lot of effort to build the trash tower, but it will be easy to climb up and get out of here,” he said.
Peaceful Green was thinking about how all the colors could come together. He said: “Let’s solve this problem by making an invention. Our invention will be a color wheel.”  Red-Violet, helpful as ever in finding solutions, encouraged Green: “Indeed. We could form a color wheel together, spin it and bounce out of the garbage can,” she said. 
Some colors still needed a little nudge, and Joyful Purple came to the rescue. “Let’s sign a joyful song. All our noise of bickering is giving us headaches and grumpy feeling. If we could sing together, children might hear a beautiful sound. They will come forward and discover they are coming from the trash can. Maybe they will sing with us if we are signing a song they know. How about a song about coloring? How about the song: what a wonderful world?”
That got all the crayons moving! Singing ‘what a wonderful world’ together, all the colors found their order by getting in a circle. But there was no jiggle! The color wheel was not moving. Then a big wind came and blew the lid of the garbage can over. Some colors blew up and away along with it. The lid knocked the Principal’s and he began to change his mind.  
A few others were still stuck in the bottom of the can. By then all the crayons that had escaped and the children were singing together! The trapped crayons heard them and got inspired with more ideas. “Let’s draw a hole and then escape through it,” said Calm Turquoise. “Ummm…I am not so sure that will work,” said one of the primary colors. “We can try,” said Yellow. 
“Or…,” began Turquoise, “We can use the pointy pencils to drill a small sign that says: ‘You are all blank without us!’ All the colors agreed. 1, 2, 3…GO! They drilled the sign, made thetrash tower, climbed it and held up the sign. 
The Principal, who was rubbing his head and thinking, turned around and read the sign. As the children and the crayons continued to sing ‘What a wonderful World,’ the Principal said to himself, “My Goodness.”  “Ahh!” he yelled. Then he let the remaining colors out. “Yay,” said the colors, “Now we can recolor the school!”
They covered everything in a colorful jumble. Soon the Principal realized he was not happy without the colors.” Sorry,”he said. 
“Colors Matter,” said everyone together!

Standing up for Education with the Malala Song

We began 2018 by standing up for education.  We learned about child Nobel peace prize Recipient, Malala Yousafzai. We learned about her struggles, and joys and the ways in which she has stood up for equality in education.  

To the tune of twinkle twinkle little star, we are singing this song together.  

Enjoy singing it at home or with your school classes.  We are planning ways to celebrate Malala Day at Ethical -- July 12 will be her 21st birthday.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Malala Yousafzai                    "twinkle twinkle" 
tells the world                       "little star"
Every child                            "how i wonder"
deserves to learn.                  "what you are"

“One child, one teacher,          "up above"     
One book, one pen                 "the world so high"
Can change the world             "like a diamond"         
every day.                             "in the sky."

We the children                     "twinkle twinkle"
of Ethical NYC                       "little star"
Stand with you                      "how i wonder" 
To say we agree.                   "what you are." if you are starting the tune again....

Yes to each child                   "twinkle twinkle"
Yes to each teacher               "little star"
Yes to each book                   "how i wonder"
Yes to each pen.                   "what you are"

Yes to my learning                "up above"
And yes to yours.                  "the world so high"
Yes to his learning                 "like a diamond"
And yes to Hers.                   "in the sky"
No matter the color               "twinkle twinkle"
Of their skin, eyes, or hair.     "little star"
No matter their                     "how i" 
gender-identity                     "wonder" 
Or what they wear.               "what you are." if you are starting the tune again....

Every child                          "twinkle twinkle" 
needs support                      "little star"
to learn and grow                 "how i wonder"
and do their best.                "what you are"

If one girl                              "up above"     
can change the world             "the world so high"
What can a 130-                     "like a diamond"         
million do?                             "in the sky."

Let's help each child                 "twinkle twinkle"
do their personal best.             "little star"
“Education please!”                 "how i wonder"
We must insist.                       "what you are"

Writing as Deed

Ethical NYC has been hosting Deepali Srivastava's "Writefully Ours" program. This has ignited a new dimension of our children's ethical development.  They write as deed! Our group is all ages, so they work at the level of their own ability and understanding.

Older children dive into writing prompts with enthusiastic autonomy, new-writers make enormous progress applying their own ideas to respond to worldly problems, sometimes getting an older writer to scribe for them,  and young-pre-writers draw and "tell" their great ideas for transcription. The group has written letters through Amnesty International to stand up for international environmental activists who have been unjustly silenced through imprisonment; and through CARE to give voices of Hope to Syrian refugees.

In letters to 4 year old Tarek from Syria, who hopes to one day become a doctor, children wrote encouraging notes to cheer him on toward his goals encouraging positivity in the face of challenges. Here is a sample of the range of responses, just our youngest and our eldest.

From Oberon who is also 4 years old like Tarek, came an inspiring poetry "You are the heart and star of love." He added, "I want to be a fire fighter to bring peace.  It's a good idea to be a doctor.  You'll help people. I want your new home to be peaceful.  I want your new room to be blue and gray."

Our wise elder-child Lillian told Tarek:  "Your story summoned empathy right from the bottom of my heart.  I love sad stories, but only when they are fictional.  I feel like my duty to this unforgiving war is to help, encourage and support refugees like yourself.  Earth would be a cruel cold place without our sun.  The history of humanity, and all the humans are the lump of rock that is Earth.  You, and others like you, are the sun.  You are our sun.  You are our sun, and don't you forget that, for even on the darkest of days, the warming rays of the sun may shine through, if it believes in itself.  Good luck in your endeavors."

After she wrote this, she imagined him in his early twenties, remembering her letter as an inspiration for not giving up in his challenging childhood.  And she imagined herself a few years older then him, thinking of him.  

Story Play!

As Young Ethical Explorers, our older students are engaging in a twice-monthly break-out group with Deepali Srivastava, founder of "Writefully Ours."  She offers isvalues-based, poetic and imagistic prompts, to which the students respond.

Recently the children contemplated the Indian philosopher/poet Rabindranath Tagore's
"If you shed tears when you miss the sun, you also miss the stars."

And a small poem by George Cooper:
"Come little leaves, said the wind one day, Come over the meadows with me and play."

The children of diverse ages are welcomed to share their writings with one another and with appreciative parents, witnesses.

We study Peace at Ethical and Make intriguing Friends too!

International Peace Day is a favorite holiday to celebrate at Ethical

Once the fall season took off, we began to prepare for an anticipated guest:  our new ethical friend Uliks, the Whirling Dervish of NYC.  He had been spotted by our families, spinning and building rock towers near the Hudson.  Dad-Gunther made a friendly invitation to him to come and share his Whirling Dervish philosophy and practice with us.

To prepare, we memorized and contemplated a poem by Rumi, the ancient Persian Poet.
"Out beyond the idea of wrong-doing and right-doing, there is a field, I'll meet you there."
For our group, this "field" has become a metaphor for exploring peace, exploring ethics.

When Uliks the Whirling Dervish of NYC came to visit Ethical, he shared with us his inspirations and methodologies.  Rumi is indeed his inspiration, so reciting Rumi was indeed a beautiful welcoming gesture from the children of Ethical. With Uliks, we balanced rocks as he does -- albeit, we balanced rocks from a rock collection in the Ethical closet from long ago when some of you may remember, we created an animation of rocks in a season of "Animating Earth"~ watch it here!

And with Uliks, we made whirling drawings and we listened to his special music.  Finally we let our minds enter the spinning stillness of his practice, as we watched him whirl, skirted in traditional whirling wear.  Indeed, he whirled on our very own rooftop playground.  Interestingly enough, he said that whirling up high away from the earth was quite difficult.  He spins with his palms facing upward and downward, to become the conduit of energies from below and above.  He wears a hat shaped like a gravestone in honor of letting go of the ego.  He whirls almost every day... but interestingly, he only began whirling after moving to NYC as an adult. His roots are in Albania, and his childhood took place in Milan, Italy.  To read more about him, you can link to this article about Uliks Gryka

Thank you Uliks! 

Another wonderful guest came into our rooftop experience recently.  Mari!  
It would be more accurate to say we were her guests, perhaps, since she was working in the rooftop greenhouse while we were up there playing.  Sure enough, we have some curious children!  And Mari, who is a parent volunteer in the Ethical Culture School, was very generous to us. She showed children some of the interesting plants and tools of her space, and answered many questions.  Most intriguing was a special technology she had that looked like a open-mouthed bird sitting on the ground, with its belly full of water.  She showed us how a porous clay root releases water from the birds belly into the soil slowly over time. 

Thank you Mari!

Fall Season Ahead

Young Ethical Explorers Fall Season 2017: 


Send RSVPs or Inquiries to
Inviting all NYC Humane Families:  
New comers are most welcome. 

Special Fall Season Focus:  "STORY-PLAY" 
Thematic sessions invite children to face story-based ethical dilemmas, as they are supported in conveying their ideas on paper, and transforming  them into presentation. The goal is to grow a community of young ethical writers whose prose and poetry will take on the big social and environmental issues of their time.  
1st and 2nd Sundays are lead by Guest-teacher Deepali Srivastava, founder of Writefully Ours 
Other sessions are led by organizer, Audrey Kindred, with special guests and themes.


October 8th  ~
"Be the Change You Wish to See in the World"  -- Gandhi.
Join the movement to make Halloween "Green" !!!

Oct. 15th, 11am:
Group A:  "Writefully Ours" with children over 6.
Group B:  "gRRReen" -Mask & Costume Making from recycled materials -- you may enjoy bringing egg cartons, tubes, old fun clothes for cutting into new purpose.
Oct. 22nd, 11am:
Zombie Research Society!
Yoga's corpse pose is a resting technique of letting go.  We'll take it for an energizing connection to seasonal themes of our skeleton bones, blood, heart, brain and feeling.  We'll "zombie out" and then recharge batteries to reinvigorate our bodies and brains!  We'll use the zombie study to ask what does it mean to FEEL alive! This is a playful exploration of heavy themes.  We'll all get membership cards for the Zombie Research Society!

October 29th, 11am: 
Happy Bones Festival
-- bring a picture & story of an ancestor to this fusion-style "dia de los muertos"  
We'll have a DAY OF THE DEAD to stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. This is a celebratory connection to 'roots' and an exploration of ancestry.

November 5th
"Writefully Ours!"

November 12
"Writefully Ours! 
November 19
GooD: Gratitude & Deed Festival

No session on November 26th
Giving Thanks.

Dec. 3
"Writefully Ours"

Dec. 10
"Writefully Ours"

December 17, Winter Festival

Resuming in the New Year on January 7th.

Coming in the Fall Season:
TEENS CONVENE!  RSVP and bring your friends to
for TEEN OPEN SPACE ~ First Sunday afternoons of each month, 1-3pm ~ Oct. 1, Nov. 5, Dec. 3. 
         Nov. 10-12 (preregister at  REGISTER NOW! 

Meets second Sundays: 
Oct. 8, Nov. 12, Dec. 10. 

Register for 
starting in January 2018
(suggested ages 10-12) 
(Suggested time: 3rd Sundays at 11-12:30) 
"Changing Brains... Changing Bodies" 
A mini-course about CHANGING! gently weaving understandings from biology, neurology & psychology into a supportive experience of the changes experienced in youth. 

VIRTUAL PARTICIPATION FAR AND WIDE:  September 9-24:  DEEDS by Ethical Explorers
All ages are welcome to participate in the ETHICAL TEAM of the Global Unity Compassion Games, where “survival of the kindest “ fosters  “Building Bridges!”
Suggested donation for participation is a voluntary contribution for visitors, and free for NYSEC members. 
New Parents are asked to please commit to attending a NYSEC Newcomers event. 

Ongoing on Sundays
Ethics for Children
11am, 4th floor:  Arrival. All gather with the ETHICAL community on the 4th floor.  
For community greeting and music:  
• 11:15 -- Children will go upstairs for an independent project of friendship, creativity and deed
-Teens may enjoy volunteering with the children for "community service"
(Contact to arrange this) 
• Adults and teens may choose to experience the Morning Meeting.  
• Pick-Up At 12:30 on the 5th floor or on the Playground (weather permitting) 
• Families are welcome to join the community for lunch, for a small $ contribution
• Children and teens always eat for free!

FAMILY PLAYGROUND TIME:  12:30-2pm, open play with parents collaborating as "playground monitors"