A Sunday school is an Spiritual and educational institution, usually (but not always) Christian in character.
Sunday school classes usually precede a Sunday church service and are used to provide catechists to Christians, especially children and teenagers, and oftentimes adults as well. Churches of many Christian denominations have classrooms attached to the church used for this purpose. Many Sunday school classes operate on a set curriculum, with some teaching attendees a catechism. Members often receive certificates and awards for participation, as well as attendance.
Due to the fact that Sunday school classes precede morning worship on the Lord’s Day, many provide a light breakfast, such doughnuts and coffee, except on days in which Holy Communion is being celebrated due to the fact that many Christian denominations encourage fasting before receiving the Eucharistic elements.
In the Sunday school, the Deacons of Youth also participate in teaching the Sunday school classes for teens and up to the age of 16. Sunday schools were first set up in the 18th century in England to provide education to working children. William King started a Sunday school in 1751 in Dursley, Gloucestershire, and suggested that Robert Raikes start a similar one in Gloucester. Raikes was editor of the Gloucester Journal. He wrote an article in his journal, and as a result many clergymen supported schools, which aimed to teach the youngsters reading, writing, cyphering (doing arithmetic) and a knowledge of the Bible.
In 1785, 250,000 English children were attending Sunday school. There were 5,000 in Manchester alone. By 1835, the Society for the Establishment and Promotion of Sunday Schools had distributed 91,915 spelling books, 24,232 New Testaments and 5,360 Bibles. The Sunday school movement was cross-denominational. Financed through subscription, large buildings were constructed that could host public lectures as well as providing classrooms. Adults would attend the same classes as the infants, as each was instructed in basic reading. In some towns, the Methodists withdrew from the large Sunday school and built their own. The Anglicans set up their own National schools that would act as Sunday schools and day schools. These schools were the precursors to a national system of education.
The role of the Sunday schools changed with the Education Act 1870 which provided universal elementary education. In the 1920s they also promoted sports, and ran Sunday School Leagues. They became social centres hosting amateur dramatics and concert parties. By the 1960s, the term Sunday school could refer to the building and rarely to education classes. By the 1970s even the largest Sunday school had been demolished. The locution today chiefly refers to catechism classes for children and adults that occur prior to the start of a church service. In certain Christian traditions, in certain grades, for example the second grade or eighth grade, Sunday school classes may prepare youth to undergo a rite such as First Communion or Confirmation. The doctrine of Sunday Sabbatarianism