What Are We Teaching the Kids?
(A Sample Snapshot in Time)
We have as many as 35 kids in at least five rooms engaged with as many as seven Religious Exploration programs on any given Sunday. The UUCMP Religious Exploration Program is vibrant, and we have room for you.
The curriculum used in each classroom is informed by years of Unitarian Universalist thought about religious exploration and faith development for children and families. You can see some of the most current thinking in the form of curricula offered for free at this UUA web site: http://www.uua.org/re/tapestry/children/index.shtml.
Our curricula are adapted by the teachers who use them in order to fit the needs of the kids and families who join us on any given Sunday. A rough snapshot of what you will find is similar to these programs described below. You can also get a sense of our teachers and their approaches on our RE Staffing page.
In the Nursery and during all childcare, the focus is on safety, play, love, and boundaries.
Curriculum like Chalice Children, which focuses on UU values and being part of a UU congregation. We have fun helping the kids try to shape their hands and fingers into that old “here is the church, and here is the steeple” game, as well as coaching the kids to keep trying that mouthful “I am a Unitarian Universalist,” sung to the tune of “Little Rabbit Foo Foo.”
Curriculum like Around the Church Around the Year, which helps children aged 5-7 feel a part of their Unitarian Universalist community. Through the year, children explore their experience with life and death, the environment, relationships and identity, and they gain an appreciaton for UU people, buildings, rituals and celebrations. All this is done, not in an abstract way, but rather in a way that is appropriate for the life of the young child.
Curriculum like Spirit of Adventure, which offers a year of thematic units on topics ranging from travel, invention, and science, to animals, food and human rights. The life stories of influential UU men and women--many of whom are widely famous but may not be known as Unitarian Universalists-- anchors for the class themes in history and example. Movement activities and projects are woven in with time for reflection, sharing and dialogue.
MIDDLE SCHOOLERS—GRADES SIX–EIGHT
These older students do a personal check-in about issues in their lives, play kinesthetic games, and also work with curriculum like Heeding the Call. Youth are encouraged to view themselves as agents of change in the world as they develop qualities crucial to justice work. They reflect on their own lives while making connections to others, building self-awareness while growing as leaders.
SENIOR HIGH SCHOOLERS—GRADES NINE–TWELVE
These almost-adults direct their own journey on the themes of UU identity, community, worship, fun, and justice with guidance from able adult advisors. They are very active in regional youth conferences and local justice initiatives.
SPECIAL FOCUS PROGRAMS
These special focus programs are offered in addition to Sunday morning programming as needed, usually on an alternate year schedule, and with explicit parental consent.
COMING OF AGE is a yearlong program for eighth through tenth grade youth, which seeks to deepen engaged UU identity and affirm our teenagers’ passage toward the greater freedoms and responsibilities of adulthood. The program involves local classes and district-wide youth retreats.
OUR WHOLE LIVES (OWL) is a comprehensive sexuality education program that includes important aspects such as self-esteem, body image, free and responsible decision-making, assertiveness, conflict and negotiation skills, harassment and abuse awareness and responses, in addition to the more basic physical birds and bees (taught age-appropriately & honoring of all genders and orientations). We have 5 UUCMP adults certified as OWL teachers for seventh–twelfth grades.
If you have kids in our program, know that they are in good hands. If you’d like to offer your time and care to our program, just let Aaron know. It brings us all closer, and you might even learn something new. When we have two services, you don’t have to miss out on worship to share in the RE journey, so come join us as we explore!