for Children (Nursery-7th Grade)
We have year round programming for children and all are welcome! During our "Teacher Holidays" we always offer childcare for 7-years and younger. See the calendar for specific dates.
up to -2 years
Our youngest children are cared for in the first floor Nursery. Here we create a warm, accepting atmosphere where trust is formed, helping our tiny ones to be comfortable and happy. Children will have time for exploration and plenty of cuddling. We have two rooms available for our growing needs, one for more active babies and the other for quiet time. If your baby or toddler needs you to stay for a few minutes or the entire service, you are most welcome. Parents are asked to sign-out a pager from the Information Desk. If a child is unhappy and cannot be comforted in a reasonable period of time, you will be contacted. Another option is for parents and babies to view the service on the monitor in the Daisy Bingham Room (located in the basement of the Sanctuary).
2- & 3- year olds by Sept. 1
Becoming comfortable with the church, their caregivers and peers is the goal for these youngsters. A warm, loving staff helps our little ones transition from home to church. Children will have lots of time for free play. World of Wonder, a simple curriculum with monthly themes, helps them explore a preschooler’s world through stories, finger plays, art materials, movement and music. A snack and chalice ritual are also part of the program. Parents are encouraged to stay with their child until they feel comfortable in this setting.
3- & 4-year-olds by Sept. 1
We Are Many, We Are One is based on the philosophy that young children learn about religion through relationships. What is a person? Who am I? How am I related to others? How do I treat other people? What are my responsibilities? What kind of world do I live in? These are religious questions that children begin to answer as they become acquainted with themselves, other people, and their environment; all responses are mediated by the significant adults in their lives.
Our morning program includes a friendship circle, story, music, chalice ritual, and a snack. Theme-based activities and crafts are provided, as well as interest areas where children may explore and participate as they choose. They also have access to a wonderful outdoor play space when weather permits. Parents should plan to participate in the classroom and provide snacks at least three times during the year.
5-years old by Sept. 1
Our Houses, Our Homes is a curriculum designed to help Kindergarteners feel at home in the world. It includes the concepts of birth and death, and being comfortable with one’s body. Christmas is the time for building a stable for Jesus’ birth and reenacting the nativity. By exploring being at home in their church, building a home for something small and a special house for themselves, we hope children will experience the spirituality of family and a larger understanding of community. Parents provide essential support by assisting in the classroom throughout the year for this very labor intensive, but very fun, curriculum.
FREE TO BELIEVE
1st & 2nd Graders
Free to Believe is an experiential program designed to nurture the emotional, social, and spiritual life of our 6- and 7-year-olds. The first two-thirds of Free to Believe uses the Unitarian Universalist principles as starting points for exploring values, beliefs, and what it means to be Unitarian Universalist. The last third of the program examines some “big questions” through the perspective of our Unitarian Universalist sources. Lessons include experiences that nurture and enrich children’s spiritual development, including a variety of meditations, ritual chalice lightings and closings, and opportunities to explore the wonders of nature. This curriculum also takes into account different learning styles by including a variety of activities related to many of the different intelligences.
HOLIDAYS AND HOLY DAYS
3rd & 4th Graders
Holidays are the natural, age-old vehicles of religious socialization. They help us remember a great person or event. They let us give thanks for life’s bounty. They encourage us to invoke light and gladness for overcoming danger, death and drought. The festivities tell a story through experiences far better than words ever can. In Holidays and Holy Days, our 3rd and 4th graders not only talk about but actually celebrate holidays and holy days from many religious traditions. The holidays celebrated lift up a Unitarian Universalist value or address a universal human response to life.
In the context of holidays children will be introduced to diverse celebrations, including No Ruz (Iranian New Year), Powamu (Hopi bean planting ceremony), and Buddha and his birth. The spiritual dimension of holidays will be emphasized to give children a chance to examine their own religious beliefs as they look at those of others.
A QUESTING YEAR
5th & 6th Graders
The Questing Year invites participants on four quests tied to the themes of self, church, mystery, and social action. Here’s what the kids learn of the quests from a letter inviting them into the program:
Inner Quest – Who are you? What are you like? How are you different? What’s your place in the world? A mirror board and a personal alien will help you find answers.
UU Quest – What does it mean to be a Unitarian Universalist? What’s special about UUs? How do UUs live out their principles? You’ll meet and investigate outstanding UUs who will show you some answers.
Mystery Quest – How can you understand what you can’t see? Like God? Or the great mystery? Or spirit and spirituality? A poem beginning with pigs that can’t swim will help you develop your own answers.
Action Quest – How can you make the world a better place? A class social action project your group chooses and does will let you try out some answers.
Compass Points will lead its adolescent participants on a year long spiritual journey during which they will have opportunities to sort out their feelings about themselves and their world as they do the difficult work of starting to create their adult selves; discover what they believe about life’s big questions – the nature of humanity and God, beliefs about death and faith; think independently, assume responsibility, make decisions, explore values and adopt the practice of radical hospitality; acquire enough background in Unitarian Universalist history, polity and theology that they can know and express what Unitarian Universalism stands for; and understand that religious liberty is a hard-won legacy that continues to need protection. This group will take on special projects throughout the year that are intended to connect them more to our church community. They will attend the Music and Worship services and the Youth Service.
8th and 9th graders who opt out of Our Whole Lives or who are new to the program will be joining this class as well.