Growth – Children & Teens
Sunday Religious Education Classes
At UUCC, we want our children and youth to feel part of a supportive and caring community as they freely explore the concept of religion, develop their own spiritual beliefs, and build relationships among their peers.
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 education (RE) 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, as well as a crib and changing table.
UUCC employs a childcare assistant so that we can guarantee two adults in the room at all times. The volunteer teacher typically works with the preschool children on a simple lesson while the younger children participate, watch, or play.
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 RE class. The greeter will ask you to fill out a short form so that we will know your children’s names and whether they have any food allergies. If visiting children feel hesitant or not quite ready to attend an RE class, they are welcome to stay in the service.
The mission of the UUCC Religious Education (RE) program is to provide children with a fun, caring, and spiritual environment in which they are encouraged to ask spiritual questions and develop Unitarian Universalist values. We aim to carry out the mission of the RE program in a spirit of love, trust, cooperation, patience, and mutual respect.
We have a three-year thematic rotation of curricula which explores:
- our Unitarian Universalist principles, beliefs, and heritage,
- the Judeo-Christian roots of Unitarian Universalism, and
- the teachings of major world religions.
This year, our students are learning about Unitarian Universalism.
Director of Religious Education
UUCC employs a part-time Director of Religious Eucation (DRE), Dan Feldt. Dan has taught in the RE program at UUCC and served on the Religious Education Committee for the past sixteen years. This background gives him a valuable perspective on the elements of an involving educational experience. With a MFA degree in Theater Arts, he brings a sense of collaboration to his interaction with the children and the RE instructors. He’s also directed a number of holiday plays at UUCC. 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.
He sees the living out of UU principles of compassion, thoughtfulness, and integrity in the now twenty-somethings from his earlier RE classes.
An RE Committee helps to plan and direct curricula, budget, special events, etc. For more information call our church office at 708-481-5339.
The DRE organizes and leads teams of volunteer teachers, all of whom are members of UUCC. All volunteer teachers undergo a criminal background check and 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 Univeralist 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.
CLASSES FOR 2014-2015
Because UUCC is a small to mid-sized congregation, we must be flexible in creating groups for our RE students. Each year, we consider the number of students in each grade and the curriculum we plan to use. Then we divide up the kids into groups we think will work socially, intellectually, and emotionally. This year’s classes are as follows:
Our preschool curriculum this year is Celebrating Me in My World. It begins by celebrating the wondrous qualities of the children themselves and expands outward to the things and people around them. This program provides preschoolers with experiences and opportunities to grow in their sense of trust and caring and to develop their self-identity and the sense of connectedness with all of life.
One goal of the Around the Church, Around the Year curriculum for the kindergarten to second grade is to help children understand Unitarian Universalism. What do Unitarian Universalists believe about life, death, people and the environment? The children will become familiar with the flaming chalice; a dedication ceremony; the Flower Communion ritual; and the Unitarian Universalist approach to Christmas, with its focus on the sacredness of every birth and the unique worth of every person. Another goal is for the children to discover and to explore their feelings about themselves and their relationship to the social and religious community of which they are part.
Toolbox of Faith invites third through fifth graders to reflect on the qualities of our Unitarian Universalist Faith, such as integrity, courage, and love, as tools they can use in living their lives and building their own faith. Each of the 16 sessions uses a tool as a metaphor for an important quality of our faith, such as reflection (symbolized by a mirror), flexibility (duct tape), and justice (a flashlight).
The Families curriculum for grades 6-13 is designed to provide space for youth to look at their families. Understanding begins with attending to and listening to each other’s descriptions of their own realities. By understanding their own families, learning more broadly about families, and representing a range of healthy families, youth will gain a greater sense of family functionality and their own efficacy in contributing to it. The central activity of this program is a family focused photo-documentary, so the youth will be developing some basic photographic skills.
“First Friday” Get-Togethers
The First Friday is a UUCC tradition that gives families hang out and unwind, eat dinner and socialize together. We typically make pizza (fixin’s supplied.) Our activities vary—we play games, make music, dance, get crafty, and sometimes just talk!
Dates: The first Friday of every month, October through May.
Time: The kitchen opens at 6:30 p.m. Stay until 9 p.m.
To Bring: Dinner always feels a little more complete if everyone brings a side dish to share.
Note: Everyone is welcome to participate in First Fridays, whether you come with family or alone!
- 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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