As religious educators, we strive to accomplish the following goals for the children of our community:
~ In Children's Language ~
Nursery: Offered from 9:40a.m. – 12:15 p.m. for babies and toddlers through age three We have a minimum of two trained adult staff in the nursery on Sunday mornings to make the morning welcoming, safe, and nurturing for our youngest children. You are welcome to stay with your child until you are both comfortable in this new setting! Please bring diapers and a change of clothing in a labeled bag. Please label bottles and toys as well. We ask nursing mothers to let us know where they will be sitting in church so that we can find them with a minimum of disruption to the church service. If you have any questions, please see one of our nursery staff or our Director of Religious Education.
Sunday Morning Religious Education Classes for Children: We offer age-appropriate religious education every Sunday morning. Most mornings, children and youth begin the worship hour at 10:30 in the service with their parents. Following the children's benediction, they go to their classrooms for classes. See the bottom of this page for information about special Sundays! Our lessons are chosen to complement the monthly theme used in the worship service. We focus on developing Unitarian Universalist identity through teaching our principles, theology and history with a strong emphasis on social justice. To do this, we draw from all six of our sources: children's natural sense of wonder and awe, Christian and Jewish heritage, world religions, prophetic men and women, science and reason, and earth-based religions.
PRE-SCHOOL: The lessons in this class help a child learn that he or she is a valuable part of church, practice helping and making friends, and develop trust in him/herself, their circle of friends, and their teachers.
KINDERGARTEN-1st GRADE SPIRIT PLAY: In Spirit Play classes, our specially-trained facilitators use a Montessori approach to invite children to enter into stories to find meanings for themselves. The program uses three types of stories (sacred stories from many traditions, UU heritage and liturgical stories) to create a special, sacred space for our children. Each Sunday the class is infused with ritual and worshipfulness. With our younger children, we focus on basic values: kindness, respect and justice, and use simple stories and art materials to introduce child-led learning. Since this is a child-centered room, we ask parents to remain outside the room when dropping off and picking up your children.
2nd AND 3rd GRADE SPIRIT PLAY: Our 2nd- and 3rd-graders continue with Spirit Play, but with different, more involved stories and more complex art materials to continue child-led learning. Again, since this is a child-centered room, we ask parents to remain outside the room when dropping off and picking up your children.
4th AND 5th GRADE: The older elementary group is curious, busy, questioning, and social. So the teachers at this level plan lots of drama, creative activities, stories, and games to help the children actively engage with their learning.
6th AND 7th GRADE: Middle school is the age where we really put our values into practice - speaking up against bullying, tackling thorny questions of right and wrong, working on social justice projects. It is also the age where relationships are all-important, so we include opportunities for discussion, games and bonding, too!
8th AND 9th GRADE - Coming of Age alternating with Our Whole Lives: These two years are critical in developing healthy relationships with yourself, your peers, and the wider church community. We are proud to offer two special classes for our growing youth. Our Whole Lives at the middle school level is a full-year program focusing on relationships, values, and sex education in a moral context. Coming of Age offers participants a year to think through and articulate their personal belief systems, culminating in a youth-led worship service and a Heritage Trip to Boston (funded by the class' fundraising throughout the year).
10th THROUGH 12th GRADE YRUU (Young Religious Unitarian Universalists): Our youth are active participants in their learning and their faith community. Sunday morning classes focus on continuing education in areas chosen by the youth. The first Sunday of the month we offer a social group from 12-1:30, and approximately once a month the youth have planned an outing. They may be going to a local attraction like the zoo or a haunted house, visiting another church for their youth coffeehouse, or attending a district-wide rally! Check with the teachers and advisors to see what's planned for this month!
Children's Chapel: Several times a year, children from kindergarten through 7th grade begin the morning in Founders' Hall for a special children's worship service before their classes. Preschoolers go directly to their classroom. Coming of Age and high school students (8th-12th grades) begin the worship hour in the service and then are dismissed for their classes. Currently, children's chapel occurs on the third Sunday of the month in the following months: September, October, November, January, February, March and April.
Multi-generational services: Approximately six times each year we have multi-generational services during which the whole congregation engages in worship together. On these days, children and youth remain in the service with their parents through the entire service. Preschoolers can join their parents in the service or go to the nursery. These services are interactive and planned to include elements that appeal to all ages, such as stories, rituals, drama, music, and movement. Coming next year: we plan to transition to a dedicated religious education hour and a separate worship hour for all ages - stay tuned during this exciting period of growth and increased community!
Currently, multi-generational services are held for:
Special Days in Religious Education: On days when attendance is historically light, we offer a one-room schoolhouse class in Founder's Hall for children and youth from kindergarten to high school. Children and youth begin in service with their parents but go to Founders' Hall for special activities. Preschoolers go directly to their classroom and participate in similar activities.
Currently those days are: