by Karen Hager, Interim Religious Educator
My Sundays are now quite different than they were pre-pandemic. As Director of Lifespan Faith Development for the Blacksburg congregation, I never get to attend RE classes with the children. Our program is large, and my time has to be spent making sure all classes run smoothly, and so I don’t spend that one-hour weekly with a specific group of kids.
But now that our classes are virtual, I spend nearly every Sunday morning running zoom for the PreK and K-5 classes, and I get to experience the joy and fulfillment of being with UU children on a weekly basis.
The main driver for our Blacksburg curriculum choices this year was fun, because we knew, after spending time online each week in virtual school, kids weren’t going to want to attend church online unless they had fun doing so. And so, our kids learn, but above all, our classes are fun!
One of the big advantages of being online is that there is no expectation of children being quiet and still. When quiet is necessary – when we’re all watching a video together, for example – the mute button plays its role, but quiet is not usually necessary. Children enjoying being with each other are a joy for adults, as well. And, if a class goes completely off the rails, the adults just laugh and roll with it, letting the kids talk about what they want to talk about. As I write this, I’m recalling yesterday’s class that turned into an impromptu introduction to the kids’ pets, as one by one, they were pulled into the zoom window and introduced. I’m getting to see a whole part of our children’s lives that I can’t when we’re together in a building on Sunday mornings.
I hope that your family will give our Blacksburg virtual RE classes a try this winter and spring, and find out how much fun virtual RE can be. And, if you’ve ever considered teaching RE, but were a bit afraid of whether or not you’re up to the role, join us and watch other teachers as they lead our classes. Teaching RE is one of the most rewarding volunteer roles at HUUC, and we’ll be working to make sure that teaching this fall is as easy as possible on our volunteers! (If you don’t have children in RE but would like to sit in on a class, contact me at the email address below. For safety reasons, we do not publish zoom links to children’s classes, so you will need me to provide you the link.)