The Nursery: Six Weeks to Two Years
Our paid caregivers warmly welcome infants and toddlers to our well-equipped nursery. The nursery accepts children ages 6 weeks to 2 years. Children of all ages are also welcome in the service at all times, and there is a quiet room in the loft of the Sanctuary for those families who need a little more privacy. The nursery is open from 10:15 to 12:15 on Sunday mornings.
Story Time: Three and Four Years
Three and four year olds will learn about our covenant of love and acceptance this year. The young UUs in this class will learn through hands-on experience with the wonderful and wide world around them; stories about our faith that teach our history and principles; and play, which is the natural expression of the young child's heart and mind. We seek to teach children that the whole of their being is accepted as they are in this class.
Story Time begins at 10:15AM on Sunday mornings. Children are welcome to enter Story Time before the service begins or to listen to the Story for All Ages in the service and then come to Story Time after being sung out.
Spirit Play: Four and Five Years
Spirit Play is the Montessori approach to Religious Education. Adapted for Unitarian Universalism by Dr. Nita Penfold from Jerome Berryman's Godly Play program, Spirit Play focuses on the child's natural spirituality and wonder about the world to help the child engage in religious life.
The creators of Spirit Play see the purpose of religious education to be helping children live into their own answers to the existential questions such as “where did we come from?” “where are we going?” and “what are we doing here?”.
In each session, children will hear a story and then experience a time for art expression relating to that story or another story that was heard earlier in the year. The stories have a Unitarian Universalist focus and seek to build a UU identity through liturgical lessons pertaining to our central story, our covenant, our religious symbol the Flaming Chalice, our church history, and UU heroes. Many of our stories are about our Seven Principles, called Promises in this program, and our Six Sources. Others are about the mystery that some people call God.
Children who are 4 and 5 years old are welcomed into our Spirit Play classroom by a Door Keeper, who readies them for the lesson. The Story Teller leads the day's lesson and helps the children engage in the wondering questions about the story. Both the Door Keeper and the Story Teller assist the children during their independent expression time.
Younger Elementary: Kindergarten through Second Grade
In the first semester of this year, the class worked on a program called “Creating Home” in which the children learned about different kinds of homes and how our church is like a home. In the second semester, we will learn how we can welcome people into our home. The Wonderful Welcome curriculum engages and challenges leaders and children alike to explore how and why we are willing to welcome others into our lives.
Older Elementary: Third through Fifth Grades
“Windows and Mirrors”
We spent our first semester together hearing the moral stories of many cultures in our Moral Tales program. This semester, Windows and Mirrors nurtures children's ability to identify their own experiences and perspectives and to seek out, care about, and respect those of others. The program teaches that there are always multiple viewpoints and everyone's viewpoint matters.
Middle School: Sixth through Eighth Grades
“Riddle and Mystery”
In our first semester, we explored Unitarian Universalism and the ways in which our faith can help us answer our ethical questions. We will go deeper this semester through our “Riddle and Mystery” program. The purpose of Riddle and Mystery is to assist middle schoolers in their own search for understanding. Each of the sessions introduces and processes a Big Question. We begin with Paul Gauguin’s famous triptych (Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?) and end with the three Unitarian Universalist questions (Can we ever solve life’s mystery? How can I know what to believe? What does Unitarian Universalism mean to me?).
High School: Ninth through Twelfth Grades
Discussion and experience are central to religious exploration for our youth as we explore our values and beliefs. Our program emphasizes learning, social action, worship, leadership, and community building. Activities include opportunities for discussion, self-expression, and development of personal faith statements and spiritual practices. We also unpack our Seven Principles and learn how this covenant applies to our own lives.
Youth also participate in retreats, weekend conferences, and leadership development opportunities throughout the year. To participate in off-site events, youth must be registered IN FULL and have special permission forms completed at the time of the event.
SUNDAY MORNINGS: “MY NAME IS EARL”: On the first and third Sundays of each month, High School Youth are invited to explore religious concepts through the life of Earl Hickey as he goes on a spiritual quest to be a better person. Based on the television series “My Name is Earl,” youth will learn about our Unitarian Universalist values and Principles and clarify their ideas about the afterlife, sin, covenant, and many other important concepts that become part of our personal credos.
On the second and fourth Sundays, Youth are invited to worship with our community.
SUNDAY EVENINGS: YOUTH GROUP: From 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM on every Sunday evening, the youth have time for sharing, fellowship, and creativity during Youth Group. With a wide range of activities, the youth get to know one another on a deeper level, learn about Unitarian Universalist spiritual practice, and just have some fun.