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.

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"

Dreamy Night at Ethical!

We had a wonderful sleep over on the Ethical Rooftop this summer! 
We had a roof top potluck dinner, 
hide and seek with Felix Adler himself! 
down in the great hall where he once gave the great speeches at the root of our organization,
Dream Catcher Art, 
Tent building adventures,
A lullaby circle with special guests including Simba from BSEC
A good night's sleep,
Morning yoga,
Waffles and fruit for breakfast,
Morning Sand Mandala collaborations,
It was great fun for all ages!  Thanks to those who came! 
And made this Ethical Dream come true! 

Memory Games!

This is the game board for our ETHICAL MEMORIES and HOPES GAME!
We enjoyed each others memories and building the future at the same time!
Can't wait for next season with you all! Let's reach out to our spheres of influence this summer to grow our Ethical Community!!!  You are welcome to bring some friends to the Sleep Over this summer -- and your parents too!

Here's Deepali's Story Workshop.
We took classic short tales and the children designed enacted simple profound story transformations.
Simple experiments in change included:
What if the animals all said YES when the Little Red Hen asked them for help making bread?
What if the Tortoise and the Hare talked when the hare falls hurt in the race?
It may be obvious "what happens" but the feelings and writings it brought up, through enacting and then writing,  were authentic connected experiences, empowered by realizing stories change because of what characters do -- and we change by what we do.

The children are enacting the Tortoise in the race with the Hare.


Remember this game?
"Mother May I?"

In this game, the leader says "Yes, you may!" -- and you advance through requests, taking 2 steps forward, or one jump .....different actions.
In our month of May, our theme was about DEED -- "Mother, MAY I.... help?"  "Mother Earth, MAY I help?"


Ethics for Children focused on DEED.  Within our larger season's focus on ACTIVISM, this included going on two outings: First the Children's March called NEXT GENERATION NOW and then the AIDS WALK NYC.

Though the rainy muddy day of the Children's March made numbers small on the day of the march, the work we did to understand and prepare for march was significant in itself.  Children learned at Ethical Culture about "the Soap Box" that welcomes "freedom of speech."  We practiced getting up on individually to share our values with others.

We had been developing speeches for a few weeks, with guest writer Deepali and group leader Audrey, about our relationship to trees, and their relationships to animals and humans.   Some children shared their speeches on the soap box in our workshop space, others actually even shared with the WHOLE Ethical community.  Marifer made a wonderful discovery, through observing the shyness of a fellow presenter, that you could just BREATHE on the soapbox, and that that is a kind of message all its own.  This was a spicy discovery, like having a profound secret, or riddle for the audience to decode.

At the Children's March, we enjoyed many of the speakers.  Just being there was a huge challenge for us and the crowd who came since it was pouring rain unrelentingly all day.  Two adult speakers told their stories from the Civil Rights Movement's very own Children's Marches.  They had been young teens who left school to march for racial justice in the south.  Their stories were wonderful, and they emphasized the role of music and song in the experience of social justice work.  Songsters from age 4-20 sang homemade songs about envisioning the future with hope.  "No war," wailed a young boy.  "In the future there will be anything you can imagine," pondered a young girl.  One eight year old girl, stood up for Domestic Workers United, sharing her experience of being the daughter of a woman whose job is to help other families with their children.  She spoke with such dignity of the importance of this job, and the hard work her mother does to achieve it well, and the necessity of fare labor supports.  Another young girl spoke about her immigration from Yemen and the discrimination she has faced in this idealistically open-minded country.  Twins led a teen movement, and for the first time Trump was mentioned.  They are standing up for the role of FACTS in a slippery terrain.  Each child on the stage and in the audience had adults there supporting them.  The intergenerational commitment was life affirming and joyful.

At the AIDS WALK NYC, the weather was fully supportive of our ease. We walked to raise money and awareness, inviting sponsorship from our NYSEC members.  Our group is small but fascinatingly all ages.  The conversation is the human-star-of-learning -- where each of us carry insight and perspective uniquely for the dialogue.  We carried posters of the RED RIBBON symbol -- the first-ever ribbon to represent an illness, as a way to stand up for the right to health care, and health research.  We talked about the terrible disease that had been such a mystery in the 80's, and how scientists play an instrumental role in such a dilemma as this.  Scientists needed to be called upon to research the problem in order to gain understanding and thereby, solutions.  Science in Ethics has been a seasonal theme for our program this past spring, so this was a wonderful example of how science influences the direction of humanity. And since at least one of our "dads" is a scientist, we know first hand, that scientists need to be paid money to support their work, since they are people with lives and families to support.  We talked about how discrimination and "othering" played into delayed action and policy in support for AIDS victims.  We talked about how people died of this disease, and also, how they survived with it.  Indeed, I feel very gratified to say, many survivors I know were out marching today, as they have every year for decades now!

We talked about how important it is for people to care about each others health, and solve the health problems of society.

Balloons were given to us from all directions along our way.  We got gold stars to start.  We walked under balloon bridges.  And finally, when things were winding down, a group carrying an enormous bouquet of red balloons gave us the bouquet.  It was so heavy in its pull toward sky that we had to anchor it down with extra intention.  With any more balloons,  Oberson may have flown upward.

Gratitude to contributors who supported our endeavor, financially!


Please sign up for our AIDS WALK TEAM:  ETHICAL 
at this link:
Please join or donate ETHICAL - 9707 for AIDS Walk New York!
Another "WALK" that might interest families is the MOMS DEMAND ACTION walk to end gun violence, on Saturday, June 3rd, 2pm-4pm. The walk starts at Korean War Veterans Plaza in Brooklyn, crosses the bridge to a rally on the other side.  To sign up text BRIDGE to 644-33.  They suggest you wear orange, in solidarity with an action by Hadiya Pendleton's friends, who wore orange in honor of her after she was shot at the age of 15 in Chicago. Orange is what hunters wear in the woods to protect themselves from harm. .



at Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn 
is on Saturday, May 13th.
"Next Generation Now: March and Rally for Youth Empowerment"

The Young Ethical Explorers of NYSEC will be going! Please join us! Let's connect!  Wanna meet up!? Hope you'll come! 

1.  To meet up, RSVP to or
On day of, you may text organizer Audrey at {212-nine20-4483}

2.  For a friendly connection at the event itself,  stay posted here at

2. To introduce a youth-voice, get up on the Soap Box of Free Speech and speak your mind! speak up for your values!

April begins a month of Brain Storms

Miles and Lillian learned a new song from our guest songster, Joanie Klips!
Miles, Joannie, Lillian 

Miles taught us how to make Flip Books by using the window as a light box. So clever!