Religious Education for Children & Youth

Religious Education Mission

The mission of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Kent’s Religious Education Program is to provide opportunities for religious explorations guided by a spirit of play and our UU heritage and principles.

Our 7 Unitarian Universalist Principles: Children’s Version

  1. Each Person is important
  2. Be kind in all you do
  3. We’re free to learn together
  4. …and search for what is true
  5. All people need a voice
  6. Build a fair and Peaceful World
  7. We care for the Earth and all upon it.

What to Expect on Sundays…

All children in grades Kindergarten-5 start the morning in the sanctuary seated with their parents/caregivers. The beginning of the worship service is created to be friendly to folks of all ages. It includes music, lighting our chalice, celebrations of special events in the church and the story-based Time for All Ages, following which the children are “sung out” to their classes. The Preschool children begin the morning in the classroom.  The middle school and high school youth frequently join the entire community at the beginning of the worship service. We have many opportunities for Multigenerational Worship experiences throughout the year. They are publicized in the Chalice Flame newsletter and on the website. These worship services are carefully crafted to be engaging for children and adults. On these days children should sit with their families, although teens may opt to sit with their peers.  Nursery care and the preschool class remain available on these Sundays. Our classes are staffed by volunteer teachers and leaders who receive training and support.   All are dedicated to the faith development of our children and youth. Between services, the Religious Education Committee assures that there is a supervised art activity in the fellowship hall. No other supervision or program is offered during social hour and parents/caregivers are responsible for the care, safety and happiness of their children and youth at that time.

9:45 AM Religious Education Offerings:

Nursery for infants through age 2 (as of September 2013):

Tender loving childcare is offered for our youngest ones by Michelle Bores, our childcare provider and adult or teen volunteers. The nursery is available during both the 9:45 am and 11:30 am worship services. Michelle is an experienced and educated childcare provider who holds certification in CPR and First Aid.

We recognize that separation between parent and child, even for a brief time, is a milestone in the lives of both parents and children. Every effort is made to make it a comfortable transition for everyone. There is reserved seating in the last row at the back of the sanctuary.  Sitting there will assure that parents/guardians can be readily called if needed.  The audio of the service is piped into Founders’ Lounge.

 

Preschool for children age 3 and 4   Celebrating Me and My World

This Unitarian Universalist curriculum by Deborah Chandler Pratt, celebrates the wondrous qualities of children.  The goals for the participants include:

To develop a positive self-image To feel safe and accepted at home and in the church To become familiar with the terms “Unitarian Universalism” and “chalice” To engage in the joy of sharing and living in a group To become aware and appreciative of our interconnectedness with nature To develop cooperative skills To express what they see, feel, think, remember, and prefer To extend the boundaries of what they regard as “their world.”

Grades Kindergarten-2   World of Wonder

This program, by UU curriculum writers Alice Anacheka-Nasemann, Pat Kahn and Julie Simon,  delves deep into our Unitarian Universalist seventh Principle. It instills respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part, and appreciation of its beauty, excitement, and mystery. It is founded on the premise that direct experience in nature is essential to children’s physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual development.  There will be lots of outdoor experiences!

This program is from the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Tapestry of Faith core curriculum and can be viewed in its entirety at http://www.uua.org/re/tapestry/children/wonder/index.shtml

Grades 3-5   Sing to the Power

This program by the Reverend Lynn Unger, affirms our Unitarian Universalist heritage of confronting “powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love.” Participants experience their own power, and understand how it can help them to be leaders who are enabled to change the world for the better.

This program is from the UUA’s Tapestry of Faith core curriculum and can be viewed in its entirety at http://www.uua.org/re/tapestry/children/sing/index.shtml

11:30 AM Religious Education Offerings:

Nursery for infants through age 2 as well as preschool children who attend at 11:30:

Tender loving childcare is offered for our youngest ones by Michelle Bores, our childcare provider and adult volunteers. The nursery is available during both the 10:00 am and 11:30 am worship services. Michelle is an experienced and educated childcare provider who holds certification in CPR and First Aid.

We recognize that separation between parent and child, even for a brief time, is a milestone in the lives of both parents and children. Every effort is made to make it a comfortable transition for everyone. There is reserved seating in the last row at the back of the sanctuary. Sitting there will assure that parents/guardians can be readily called if needed. The audio of the service is piped into Founders’ Lounge.

 

School-Age Children   Spirit of Adventure

This class is primarily for children who have older siblings in the middle and high school youth groups and for families who are unable to attend the 9:45 service.  We will be using Spirit of Adventure, by UU religious educator, Katie Covey.  It uses unique and engaging activities—dissecting a computer, building cantilever architecture with graham crackers, using science to prepare food—to learn about our faith.  It is sure to be both fun and meaningful!

Middle School (grades 6-8)  Popcorn Theology

This widely-used curriculum by Michelle Richards,  uses the concept and popularity of movie night to explore issues of theology and ethics for young Unitarian Universalist youth.  During each session, a selected excerpt of a classic or current movie will be screened and then the youth will explore the theological and ethical issues expressed.

High School Youth Group  (grades 9-12)  Exploring Our Values Through Poetry

Using curriculum is just one of six aspects of balanced youth programming.  The learning selection for this year is written by Karen Harris.  The author states that poetry can be an accessible and profound tool in our spiritual practice as we journey toward becoming more conscious as human beings and as Unitarian Universalists. This program utilizes poems and raps that are concerned with elements of the spiritual life: acute observation, conscious and continuous inquiry, the unveiling of reality, hope and hopelessness, the afterlife, and the tenderness of the human condition.

 The program is from the UUA’s Tapestry of Faith core curriculum and can be viewed at http://www.uua.org/re/tapestry/youth/journey/index.shtml             http://www.uua.org/re/tapestry/youth/poetry/index.shtml

Our youth are empowered to set the direction of their program and function within a culture of shared leadership. The youth and their advisors strive to integrate the six characteristics of a balanced youth program into their Sunday morning program.  These are worship, learning, community-building, social action, leadership development and healthy relationships between and among youth and adults.

Other Programs:

In addition to these wonderful Sunday morning offerings, we are offering OWL (Our Whole Lives: Sexuality Education for Grades 4 and 5) as well as our Coming of Age program for youth in grades 8 and 9.  Details of these programs are forthcoming.