Children & Youth Program
Our Religious Education Program
Sensitive to the different needs and abilities of all ages, our program provides information and skills, encourages questioning and free-thinking, supports the sharing of concerns and ideas with others, nurtures spiritual growth and celebrates life.
We encourage parents to help their children arrive on time and remain for the full 1 ¼ hours.
- Babies through Kindergarten children should be picked up in their classrooms by 11:45 AM
- Children and youth in grades 1-12 will join the adults at Hospitality Hour in the Parish Hall at 11:45.
All babies, children and youth will attend the beginning of the 10:30 AM worship service in the Sanctuary with their families.
Then babies and their parents, children, youth, teachers and new families will proceed to Harrop Center to register, find their rooms and meet their classmates.
Refreshments will be served outside at 11:30 AM.
For more information, please contact Katy Joseph, Acting DRE at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The church school community can provide that first step into the larger world.
Your child will find loving care, first friendships, and a choice of toys appropriate to their varying ages, interests, learning abilities and emotional needs.
About Our Program
10:30 – 11:45 AM. Children grades K-12 will join the rest of the congregation in the Sanctuary for the beginning portion of the service. They will stay through “moments for all ages”, and return to Harrop Center with their teachers and classmates. Note: There is no longer a children’s worship in Harrop Center.
Middle School and High School Youth Groups will occasionally attend full services in the Sanctuary.
Several intergenerational worship services are planned throughout the year with childcare available in Harrop Center.
- Unitarian Universalism,
- world religions,
- Bible study,
- death and dying,
- birth and adoption,
- new babies,
- simple living,
- social justice and more.
You may borrow books on the honor system – simply sign the card found in the back of the book, leave it in the basket, and return your book in one month.
It was built in 1904 as the “manse”, the home of the ministers and their families. Sixty years later it was named in honor of Helen Harrop, Church School Director from 1937-1958 and became the home of the church school program.
It is now used for childcare, church school and youth group on Sunday mornings, as well as playgroup, adult education, meetings, social activities and community events during the week.
All parents, except newcomers, are asked to contribute some time to our program every year. There are many ways to help. Your time and skills will enrich our program.
Newcomers are encouraged to attend the adult worship service in the Sanctuary to become more familiar with the Unitarian Universalist faith and our congregation.
An “Orientation to UUism” is offered twice a year and our staff and lay-leaders are always happy to talk with you.
- Fall – Unitarian Universalism; Celebrating the Holidays
- Winter – Religions of the World
- Spring – A Social-eco Justice Curriculum and Childcare and Activities for young children
Nursery – Pre K and Grades 1 – 4
Spirit Play this curriculum is offered K-2. It is a Montessori based program for UU children to explore their faith while encouraging imagination and spiritual wondering in a sacred space. The prepared classroom and trained teachers give the children a safe place to explore the UU principles and promises.
Spirit Play (Grade 2) This multi-age curriculum is based on the Montessori method and Jerome Berryman’s “morning as worship” for the structure of your child’s hour at church.
Harry Potter and the UU (Grade 3 and 4) Based on the popular book series by J.K Rowling, this curriculum will reinforce in your child the idea that they can change the world with their actions! They will conquer real world problems (Horcruxes) as a part of Dumbledore’s Army.
Grades 5 and 6
Sept. 25 – Dec. 11
Neighboring Faiths-Building Bridges (Grade 5 and 6) this curriculum will explore 6-8 different religions that the group would like to know more about. They will also learn about their own developing faith.
Our Whole Lives (Grade 5 and 6) this year we will offer the OWL program for our 5th and 6th graders. This curriculum is an age –appropriate program meant to discuss physical and emotional changes of puberty. Topics will include values, communication, and decision making. Each session includes a Home Link activity for parents and children to complete together. This class is led by two trained teachers.
Grades 1–6 will recognize the holidays with service projects and preparations for Intergenerational Christmas Worship service on December 18.
There will be no church school for grades 1 -12 on December 25.
With age-appropriate content and activities, grades 1-2, 3–4 and 5–6 will learn about how people of different religions around the world celebrate holidays; recognize life passages; understand what is holy or transcendent; and how their faiths teach them about themselves and their interaction with other people and the earth.
Grades 1–6 will learn how to make the world a better place and will participate in an eco-justice activity that helps them act on their faith.
Although our formal curriculum ends on the Sunday before Memorial Day weekend, childcare for babies, toddlers and preschoolers continues to be available in the nurseries.
Arts and outdoor activities are offered to primary children and older children are invited to attend church with their parents.
Our Whole Lives (Grade 7-8) This sexuality education program provides an age appropriate approach to the subject. The class is led by two trained teachers in a safe environment. Topics will include sexual development, reproductive health, affection, intimacy, and body image. There will be a parent orientation offered before this course begins.
Virtue Ethics The curriculum we will be using in the High School Youth Group for this year is called Virtue Ethics: An Ethical Development Program for High School Youth. This curriculum is based on the idea that we make hundreds of big and small decisions every day, and we need to be aware of these decisions, as making intentional, thoughtful decisions will help us to shape the person we want to be.
Each youth selects an adult mentor who will help in the completion of the monthly projects, most of which will be done as a group on Sunday morning.
A Rite of Passage celebration will take place at the end of the year. Youth who complete the program may choose to become junior members of our church.
Older teens may attend adult worship, sing in the choir, help teach church school or participate in Sunday morning youth group.
By learning about different spiritual practices, their curriculum On the Path will explore the nature and meaning of spirituality in the lives of youth and young adults.
The Religious Education Committee meets once a month to determine the policies and programs for the children, youth and adults. The following members currently serve on this committee:
- Deb Becker, Chair
- Toby Dills
- Shannon McGuire
- Beth McLeod
- Bill Roth
- David Tripanier
- Robin Zora
Frequently Asked Questions
- No volunteer may teach in the church school or advise/lead the youth group until they have been actively attending the church for a minimum of 6 months and preferably one year.
- All teachers will attend a Teacher Orientation meeting, at least once every two years.
- All teachers will read or review the Teacher Orientation booklet.
- All teachers will read and annually sign the Code of Ethics.
- All teachers will complete a CORI request form every 3 years.
- There will be at least two teachers/leaders in every classroom. If a teacher must be absent, s/he or the DRE will secure a substitute. If a volunteer is without a teaching partner, s/he will do one or more of the following with the approval of the DRE:
- ask the parent of a child in the class to assist for that session
- conduct the class with the door open
- move the class to a downstairs room with the door open
- combine with a younger or older class
- All doors to the Nurseries will remain open with the gates closed.
These teenagers are eligible to become Junior Members of the church.
Our graduating high school seniors meet once a month with the minister to reflect on their time in our religious education program, how their faith informs their decisions and behaviors, and their feelings and hopes for the next chapter of their lives.
A “Bridging Ceremony’ takes place during a Sunday morning worship service in early June when they ‘graduate’ from our religious education program and begin their journey into adulthood.
Religious (‘to bind back’) Education (‘to lead out’) is that process of spiritual growth. Sensitive to the different needs and abilities of all ages, our program provides information and skills, encourages questioning and free-thinking, and supports the sharing of concerns and ideas with others.
The Unitarian Universalist approach to religious education reflects an on-going search for truth and meaning and a commitment to freedom of belief. Inspiration from all the religions of the world including Jewish and Christian teachings, as well as humanist teachings, science, and personal experiences of mystery and wonder are the basis for church school and adult programs.
Using stories and songs, games and discussions, arts and crafts, service projects and celebrations, children and teens have an opportunity to ask their own religious questions, evolve a sense of ethics, develop their own beliefs and learn to appreciate and deal with life issues.