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Growth – Children & Teens

Sunday Religious and Character Education Classes
At UUCC, we want our children and youth to feel part of a supportive and caring community as they freely explore ideas about religion, develop their own spiritual beliefs, and build relationships with their peers. Our mission is to provide children with a fun and caring environment in which they are encouraged to ask questions and to develop Unitarian Universalist values. We aim to carry out the mission of the RCE program in a spirit of love, trust, cooperation, patience, and mutual respect.

Most Sundays, children and youth join the adults in the Sanctuary for the first 15 minutes of the church service. This is an opportunity to experience several important moments: the lighting of the chalice, words of affirmation, and a song or two. Kids listen to a “Story for All Ages” then head to their religious and character education (RCE) classes. On the way, they collect non-perishable food items brought by congregants for the local food pantry at Respond Now. Caregivers may take infants to the “Under 5s” room (nursery and preschool) at this time.

From time to time, we hold intergenerational services, which are specifically designed to interest and engage kids in kindergarten and older. They stay in the Sanctuary for the entire church service. Childcare is offered for infants and preschoolers.

Children Under 5
We care for babies and toddlers, along with preschoolers, in our “Under 5s” room (Classroom 2). Most parents bring their own diaper bag, bottles and sippy cups, but we also have a large stock of supplies, with a changing table in a nearby restroom.

When the church service ends … 
We ask elementary, middle, and high school students to meet their parents in the Gathering Room when their RE class ends. This way, parents can begin socializing and RE teachers do not feel rushed to finish their lesson or activity.

Infants, toddlers, and preschool children stay in the Under 5’s classroom until they are picked up by a parent or adult designee.

If you are visiting…
Please introduce yourself to the Greeter(s) at the church doors and let them know that you would like your child(ren) to attend the RCE class. If visiting children feel hesitant or not quite ready to attend a class, they are welcome to stay in the service.

LEADERSHIP

UUCC employs a part-time Director of Religious and Character Education (DRCE), Dan Feldt. Dan has taught in the RE program at UUCC and served on the Religious Education Committee for twenty years. This background gives him a valuable perspective on the elements of an involving educational experience. Dan believes that the lively introduction of new ideas and respectful dialogue between the children and the teacher set the cornerstones for a life of spiritual growth and discovery.

Melissa Schwartz, who directs the elementary level program, brings her background in early childhood education and her tremendous creativity and dedication to her work.  She and Mark Schwartz have created a beautiful and welcoming environment for the children.  Melissa designs engaging and thoughtful curricula for this age group.

The DRCE organizes and leads teams of volunteer teachers, all of whom are members of UUCC. All volunteer teachers adhere to behavioral guidelines outlined in our Child and Youth Protection Policy.

While each teacher brings a unique style to the classroom, we expect all teachers to:

  • model the “Unitarian Universalist Principles”
  • set a tone of respect and caring
  • try to recognize and bring out each child’s special gifts and qualities
  • encourage questions and discuss children’s own thoughts and ideas.

 

 

THE U.U. PRINCIPLES FOR KIDS

  • Every person is important and valuable.
  • All people should be treated fairly.
  • Our church is a place where we accept one another and learn together.
  • Each person is free to search for what is true and right.
  • All people have the right to speak out and vote on things that matter to them.
  • We work for a peaceful, fair and free world.
  • We take care of the earth, the home we share with all living things.

The Six Sources

These ideas come from many places:

  • the sense of wonder we all share
  • women and men long ago and today — people whose lives remind us to be kind and fair
  • the ethical and spiritual wisdom of the world’s religions
  • Christian and Jewish teachings that tell us to love all others as we love ourselves
  • the use of reason and the discoveries of science
  • the harmony of nature and the sacred circle of life.

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UU Community Church
70 Sycamore Drive
Park Forest, IL 60466
708-481-5339
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