UU Religious Education
“UU religious education is about equipping adults and children to face life experiences, to reflect, make meaning, and grow from those experiences. In this way religious education helps to “orient” you to your own path. Stories are a powerful tool, they help us to understand the way things work in the world, teach us about family, conflict, and about our values. This is why much of our religious education is based in stories. We want both children and adults to have a library of potential narratives to help make sense of life, to help know which way the wind is blowing, and how to deal with obstacles that come our way.” — adapted UUA
The mission of the YRE Committee (and therefore, the entire program) is to build a conscientious and safe environment where the children and youth can freely explore spiritual questions that help to deepen and enrich the understanding of one's self and the world around them. Our purpose is to foster the empowerment of children and youth by inspiring them to seek knowledge, think critically, offer service to others, and share together in worship. We are dedicated to exploring our UU identity through experiential learning and the honoring of religious pluralism. It was with these guiding principles that the new curriculum was developed.
Our program and extracurricular themes are both timely and timeless. We are committed to the study of Unitarian Universalism, Jewish and Christian heritages, world religions, and the prophetic visions and actions of our foremothers and forefathers. With these themes, we weave contemporary issues and opportunities to work for social justice.
Overview of Sunday Morning Classes
(Preschool) Story Time with Toddlers. The Toddlers and Preschoolers are combined. This class will enjoy activities with friends and teachers as they learn about the world around them. This class will use Story Time by Mary Jerse Schwartz, a curriculum based on children’s literature.
(K-1; 2-3 Grade) Spirit Play uses the Montessori approach for the structure of Sunday Morning. In Montessori, the key elements are the prepared classroom and the teachers. These elements free the children to work at their own pace on their own issues after an initial lesson or story within a safe and sacred structure shepherded by two adults.
The Montessori philosophy supports our UU values. Both encourages independent thinking through wondering questions, gives children real choices within the structure of the morning, creates community of children in classroom of mixed ages, and develops an underlying sense of the spiritual and the mystery of life. Spirit Play supports congregational polity through the selection of lessons, encourages partnership among Religious Educator and teachers. Volunteers are found to value the program as part of their own spiritual process.
(4th-5th Grade) Spirit of Adventure is 35 unique sessions featuring exciting activities from themes in engineering, exploration, medicine, sports, holidays, food and nature. Active play such as circus arts, a "take apart party," obstacle course, and a treasure hunt are just some of the fun to be had during this year of discovery, while children also foster a deeper sense of Unitarian Universalist identity.
(6th Grade) Riddle and Mystery. “Is there a God?” “What happens after I die?” “Does my life have a purpose?” These are the big questions we all voice. Though UU’s espouse different theologies, we agree on many answers to these questions. This curriculum helps young people understand that our individual search for meaning in the universe is supported and strengthened when we come together as people of faith. Participants explore our shared UU beliefs and determine where their beliefs fit in the spectrum. Engaging, relevant activities range from the introspective (What I Think time) to scripted dramas, internet surveys and exploring UU hymns for answers. Riddle and Mystery begins to set the stage to reflect on World Religions and the Coming of Age journey.
(7th-8th Grade) Building Bridges is a world religions program to deepen youth's understanding of the dynamic, fascinating, and varied world in which they live. It seeks to broaden their knowledge of humanity and embolden their spiritual search.
Coming of Age. An experiential program outside the Religious Education hour rooted in relationship with mentor/youth connections. The Group connects every other month to form a group identity Faith Statements. This program is very flexible and therefore can take many forms depending on the needs of the group. We hope to take a Mission trip or trip to District Assembly! Emphasis is on technology such as Google Hangouts.
High School (9th-12th Grade). Dare to Know is a 23-Session curriculum designed for Unitarian Universalist high school religious education classes (9th to 12th grades). Also included are five additional suggested supplemental Sessions using videos to further develop discussion topics. Throughout the curriculum are recommended readings related to each Session topic, generally consisting of novels suitable for high school readers.
Bridging (Seniors). An experiential program outside the Religious Education hour Rooted in relationship with mentor/youth connection. The Group connects regularly to form a group identity. Students develop Faith Statements which can take many forms. Help is offered to connect Bridger to a UU church in their next adventure.