While Sunday School is often thought of being for children, this is not always the case. Sunday School differs from a church service in that the teacher is not usually the main pastor and the setting is usually more informal and smaller and open to more questions or interaction from those attending. It usually is also broken down by groups, either by age, gender, or marital status.
Many churches have Sunday school classes before or after the main church service.
Attending Sunday School is often the only opportunity for children in secular countries to learn about the Bible. There are, however, some countries that do allow religious classes in public schools.
Sunday Schools often have an informal curriculum, but in many instances there is a formal schedule in place. This way, Sunday School courses can replace religious classes that were once allowed in public schools.
Sunday Schools originated in about 1780 in England. Their aim was to provide basic schooling to the working class, who could not afford education otherwise. The schools were held on Sundays as this was the only day that the prospective students were not required to go to work. As the schools were conducted by Christians, Scriptural texts were used as lessons; and the schools also served to give the Gospel to the unchurched poor.
Sunday Schools were the first time that education was provided to the general populace free of charge.