We’ve got some wonderful changes in store for our young UUs! If your child is in preschool (starting at age 3) they are encouraged to go to the preschool room IMMEDIATELY upon arriving at church. Their teachers will welcome them and invite them to play with a variety of new materials and toys.
Free-choice will become an even bigger part of the preschool experience as we gradually transition into a new program, called Spirit Play. Spirit Play is based in Montessori philosophy and Unitarian Universalist content.
Children will consider different UU themes through stories, “Wondering Questions,” and self-guided activities. Spirit Play deepens children’s experience in the classroom by creating understandable guidelines, age-appropriate rituals relating to our faith, and ways to participate in a community. The program utilizes elements of the Montessori Method and Jerome Berryman’s “Godly Play” approach to RE.
After all the children arrive, they gather for Circle Time when they hear a story told with manipulatives and then wonder about it together. They are not given definitive answers but are encouraged to figure out what the story means to them. Each story has its own basket of materials kept in a particular place on the shelves so that children may further explore the story.
After the story and wondering, the children move on to a work time where each child may choose from art materials, nature activities, creative toys or other stories as their work for the morning. This program takes into consideration the multiple learning styles that children have and the multiple ways intelligence manifests itself in their activities. There is a great deal of freedom to move around the classroom during the work time, and then children come back together for a closing circle. This method develops a community of children in a sacred space and gives children the spiritual language to talk about what is most important to them. It also gives them a measure of freedom to choose activities that speak to them.
Spirit Play was a wonderful part of our preschool program in past years and we are delighted to bring it back to Heritage! Want to know more? Visit www.spirit-play.com or talk to Rev. Leslie.