All ages will worship together this Sunday in our Water Communion Ceremony. Children and youth are especially invited to participate in this ritual of healing and grace. Childcare is available in our nursery for infants and children under the age of three.
How does Unitarian Universalism teach our children and youth about caring for each other, for our world community, and our planet? One way is through the metaphor of our “inner compass.” Click through on the links below for more information.
Preschool, Chalice Children: #28 Teddy Bear Month – Teddy Bear Picnic!
This session will conclude Teddy Bear month by talking about all we learned. All children and their stuffed friends are invited to celebrate their friendships with a Teddy Bear picnic!
K/1st Grade, Creating Home: #4 Animal Houses
Children will spend time learning about animal homes of all kinds. They will explore farm animals and our relationship with animals we have taken out of the wild to provide food. They’ll talk about how humans provide farm animal homes for rest, shelter, and a place for growth. They’ll also talk about how wild animals make their own homes that provide the same functions. Safety and respect for the homes of wild animals will be part of the discussion.
2nd/3rd Grade, Moral Tales: #4 In Another’s Shoes
Today the children will learn about empathy as a tool for treating others with caring, compassion and respect, and for making moral decisions about how to act in the world. They’ll hear a folk tale from Scotland about a seal hunter who wounds a seal and then is given a chance by the seals to “step into their shoes” and experience how it feels, from their perspective, to be hunted. We’ll extend our exploration of empathy by acting out various scenarios where we stepped into other people’s shoes to see things from their point of view.
4th/5th grade, Sing to the Power: #4 The Power of Place
The children will learn about Project Harvest Hope, a UU organization which promotes economic development in Unitarian villages in Transylvania (ethnically Hungarian Romania). This project, which was started as a partnership between the Unitarian Universalist congregation in Oakland, California and the Unitarian church in Ok’land, Transylvania, shows earth power in honoring both our own location and the different locations that are dear to others.
Junior Youth, Families: #4: Family Photos: The Art of Photography
In today’s session, youth will learn about several elements of photography, including how to frame a subject. They’ll plan the first Family Event and review all that is involved, including the need for a consent form for subjects.
Many of our religious education classes center on helping our children and youth understand our greater American culture, especially cultural ideas surrounding families and religion. Click through on the links below to find out more.
Preschool, Chalice Children: #27 Teddy Bear Month — Lost!
The session theme today is “Sharing our fears with friends makes us feel less afraid.” Using a third party—teddy bears—helps the children talk about some potentially scary situations (being lost, being sick) in a nonthreatening way. Please have your child bring their teddy bear or other favorite stuffed animal to the next session, Feb. 26, when we celebrate our last day of Teddy Bear Month with a party!
K/1st Grade, Creating Home: #3 Beehive
This session explores what happens inside a beehive and how bees carry out certain functions of a home, such as providing a place to prepare and eat food, rest, or sleep, and car for the young and elderly; sheltering inhabitants from storms, heat, and cold; and providing a place for all to be together.
2nd/3rd Grade, Moral Tales: #3 Faith, Hope and Prayer
The children will hear the story, “A Sword of Wood,” about a Jewish man whose faith is tested by a shah. The Jew holds fast to his faith and relies on prayer as he meets various challenges. We’ll talk about prayer as an important practice in many world religions. For the purposes of this session, prayer was presented as a two-step practice: first, naming what is in your heart, and second, engaging in deep listening.
4th/5th grade, Sing to the Power: #3 The Power of Growth
In today’s session the children will hear about Michael Covington and the Georgia Street Community Garden, an urban gardening and community center in Covington’s home neighborhood in Detroit. We’ll explore the earth power of growth by decorating pots and planting herbs, and investigate the journeys our food takes on its way to us. We’ll learn about the impact that producing, transporting, and selling food has on our environment and communities.
Junior Youth, Families: #3 Our Families
Youth will share more information about their own families and talk about how a congregation might feel, or act, like a family. They’ll also talk more about how they will work together on their photo-documentary.
Religious education classes continue as our children and youth explore symbolism, conscience, and their own sense of being rooted in time and place. Click through on the links below for more information.
Preschool, Chalice Children: #26 Teddy Bear Month — Sick!
Our little ones are exploring some potentially scary situations in a nonthreatening way — through their Teddy Bears! Please have your child bring a favorite stuffed animal to each of these sessions. Today we’ll talk about caring for one another when some feels sick.
K/1st Grade, Creating Home: #2 Symbols of Faith
Children will explore together what a symbol is and experience a ritual involving two symbols of our Unitarian Universalist faith: the flaming chalice and the song “Spirit of Life.” We will create faith symbols of our own and dance to “Spirit of Life” to deepen our connection with our UU faith home.
2nd/3rd Grade, Moral Tales: #2 Conscience: Hearing the Inner Voice
Children will hear a Buddhist story about conscience, or inner voice, in which a child recognizes that no matter what he does, or who else is watching, he always sees his own actions. We’ll introduce a visual aid, the “Moral Compass” poster. In each session of Moral Tales, children explore a different direction one can go, or a virtue one can tap, to act with goodness and justice. Today, the children will talk about using one’s conscience or inner voice to find direction. We’ll also introduce the “Gem of Goodness” project today. Please read the handout (Letter to Parents) describing this activity that your child will have after class.
4th/5th grade, Sing to the Power: #2 The Power of Roots
Today’s central story is about the poet George Ella Lyons who was inspired by a friend’s describing a deep sense of place and roots to write the poem “Where I’m From.” Children will explore their own sense of roots and place through writing their own “I am from… ” poems and drawing a plan of their living space, noting special memories that belong to different rooms.
Junior Youth, Families: #2 Many Families
During today’s session we’ll analyze mainstream media images of families for family diversity. Then we’ll watch a film that affirms family diversity through the use of children who talk about how they feel about their families.
Preschool: Chalice Children: Teddy Bear Month – Friendship!
Teddy Bear Month uses a third party—teddy bears—to introduce some potentially scary situations (being lost, being sick) in a nonthreatening way. Please have your child bring a teddy bear or other favorite stuffed animal to each session in Teddy Bear Month.
K/1st grade: Creating Home: On the Threshold
Children will begin a new curriculum today called Creating Home. They’ll create name stones and use them to mark the threshold of on a portable labyrinth that will be part of each future session. By walking the labyrinth, the children will experience the ritual of journeying while still remaining within the “home” that we create in our learning space.
2nd/3rd grade: Moral Tales: We Are All One
In this first session of their new curriculum, Moral Tales, children will hear the story “We Are All One” and try to imagine what various living beings — human and non-human — might say to us if we could understand them. We’ll make a web together and learn about the seventh Unitarian Universalist Principle, “respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.”
4th/5th grade: Sing to the Power: The Power of Earth
Fourth and Fifth grade youth will hear an Australian Aboriginal story of the creation of the world from the dreamtime. They will interview each other to identify the many ways we are connected. As they become more familiar with this new curriculum, youth will begin to discover how the four elements — earth, air, fire and water — represent different kinds of power that each of us can use to make the world a better place.
Junior Youth: Introducing the Families Program and Project
Youth will find out more about the activities that are part of Families, including the photo-documentary project. They’ll discuss ways all participants can help lead some activities and create a group covenant.
Many of our classes will be finishing up their current curricula today. There will be some celebrations and talk about how we can continue to live into what we’ve learned this fall — using our “wonder” skills, becoming leaders, and living out our UU values. Click through the links below for more information.
Chalice Children: Session #22: Imagination
Today’s class will talk about the power of imagination! As Unitarian Universalists, we value creativity and creative problem solving. This session will be a time to reinforce the creative expression of each child’s uniqueness and inner world.
World of Wonder: Session #16 Using Our Senses of Wonder
This is our final class in World of Wonder! We will celebrate our time together with an outdoor Wonder Walk, using our senses and our “wonder skills” of slowing down, paying attention, and observing nature. We will place a special yarn around our wrist to help us remember the time we spent together and that we are all a part of the interdependent web.
Signs of Our Faith: Session #16 Signs of Faithful Leadership
We’ve reached the end of Signs of Our Faith! We will acknowledge our deep connections to each other, to all other people, and to our Unitarian Universalist faith. We’ll discuss ways our connections call us as faithful leaders to honor the UUs who came before us and to support those who will join and follow us.
Windows and Mirrors: Session #16: Choose to Be UU
Today we will play a game where we group ourselves by preferences, some religious, and consider how these preferences related to Unitarian Universalism. We’ll listen to a story about Dorothea Dix, a 19th-century woman who chose to become a Unitarian as an adult and who made one of the most important contributions in the history of the United States to the treatment of people who are mentally ill.
Amazing Grace: Session #16: Look at Me, World
Our junior youth will talk about virtues, values, and self-respect through exploring the story of Narcissus. We’ll do our final Ethics Play and wall-to-wall questions and talk about what is coming next in our junior youth class.
One thing that we wish all our children and youth to recognize through our religious education programming is that they have the power and the duty to make a difference. Even our smallest ones can help others and our eldest – they can change the world! Click through on the links for more information on each class.
Preschool: #10: Helping Others
The theme is “We care for one another and help one another.” We will make cards for people in our congregation who are sick or lonely.
Kindergarten/1st grade: #15: Working Together to Make a Difference
We’ll discuss working together cooperatively to care for the interdependent web. Our story is about the First Unitarian Church of St. Louis and how people of all ages are engaged in projects to become a “Green Sanctuary.” We’ll also play cooperative games and create a handprint garden mural together.
2nd/3rd grade: #15: Witness for Justice
Public witness is a sign of our Unitarian Universalist faith. We believe we should speak up when we witness a wrong and speak out to support those who need help. We’ll look at posters that witness for justice and hear about John Cashin, an African American leader in Huntsville, Alabama who was a member of the UU congregation there. Cashin witnessed for the rights of black Americans to participate in the political process. He is one of our UU ancestors.
4th/5th grade #15: Prayer is a Place to Grow a Soul
Children will test Unitarian Universalist versions of prayer practices based on a variety of religious traditions to discover what feels comfortable and useful in our personal search for truth and meaning. We will use our bodies, words and music in different ways to open ourselves to a sense of awe and wonder, exploring the use of prayer and meditation practices to connect with a larger force inside or beyond us. From the story, “Letter to Nancy ,” the children will learn that three purposes of prayer and meditation are to express thanks, regrets and hopes.
Junior youth: #15: Saving the World
Our youth will talk about the power of individual action and kindness, then hear a story about a single snowflake that made a big difference. They’ll make art built on the idea of universal love, hear about the butterfly effect, and create a round-robin story.
On this Martin Luther King jr. Day weekend, our children & youth (kindergarten through middle school) will talk about bullying. Using resources from GLSEN’s No-Name Calling Week and other sources, children will discuss how to be an “upstander” — an individual who sees something wrong and works to make it right. Our preschoolers will be talking about the wonder of dreams.
As we look forward into 2017 our children will talk about making a better world through respectful exploration of how we are different and how we are the same. Click through on the links for more information about each class.
Preschool: #9: Chalice Flannel Board
Today’s stories and activities are about differences. Children learn that all kinds of people can be friends, even if they are different. They’ll hear the story “Am I A Color Too” and be introduced to the class flannel board and chalice.
Kindergarten/1st grade: #13: Green Energy
In class today we’ll explore “green” energy, that is, energy that comes from sources that are cleaner, make less pollution, and will last forever such as sun, wind, and water. One important way we can care for the interdependent web is to save energy. We’ll hear a story about wind energy and collaborative problem solving on the Danish island of Samso and make our own pinwheel wind turbines.
2nd/3rd grade: #13: Finding Beauty in Uniqueness
As Unitarian Universalists, we believe that we are all unique individuals and that is beautiful. We think our community is stronger when everyone is welcomed the way they are. In class today we’ll discover unique traits about each other and discuss how our love of diversity leads us to tell stories and explore rituals from other cultures, but we always do that in respectful ways.
4th/5th grade: #13: Images of Injustice
The children will be introduced to author Charles Dickens, a Unitarian for part of his life. They’ll hear an excerpt from his novel, Oliver Twist, and explore his technique of painting detailed, sometimes comical portraits of the extremely wealthy and the extremely poor in order to illustrate our common humanity. We investigate current newspapers and magazines for representations of people’s lives in extreme poverty today.
Junior youth: #13: Bad Guys, Good Guys
This session is the first of four that focuses on ethical development, using the Cherokee story of the two wolves inside us to ask whether people are basically bad or good. Youth will consider a series of up-and-down questions that introduce the concept of character and then will talk about building good character. Finally, the Ethics Play activity asks youth to practice making ethical decisions.
Our no-rehearsal Christmas pageant returns! We’ll tell the story of The Nativity with all the familiar players and carols. This multi-generational experience will cast all characters on-the-spot, from shepherds to angels to animals, with basic costumes provided for everyone who wishes to participate. Come be a part of the play!