Religious Education Program 2016 – 17
Here at the Unitarian Church of Hinsdale we have a continuing commitment to the spiritually rich and psychologically sound nurture of your children and youth. Our comprehensive program embodies our Unitarian Universalism principles and heritage. We seek to provide our young people with opportunities for worship, learning and fellowship activities that will guide them along their spiritual journey.
Our Director of Religious Education, Pam Fodor, with support from our strong Religious Education Committee, take great care in preparing fun, captivating, classes, workshops, activities and worship services to help our young people explore their Unitarian Universalist beliefs and values as they grow and mature.
Pam Fodor is happy to speak with you further about the program. Please feel free to contact her at 630-323-2885 or email@example.com.
The goals of the children and youth religious education program are to cultivate:
* a UU perspective toward life
* attitudes of inquiry
* an appreciation of nature
* excitement and reverence for life
* a joy of companionship
* an evaluation of worth and beauty
* a willingness to contemplate those things which are deep and meaningful
Without imposing specific doctrine(s) upon our young people we strive to teach a way of thinking and a way of approaching life as a Unitarian Universalist.
We aspire to this goal through
* age appropriate curricula
* worship services
* examples of our own adults’ contemplation of life and religion
* group service projects
* social gatherings
* special workshops
BIRTH THROUGH AGE THREE
For our youngest children from birth through age three volunteer parents and paid high school youth will provide an opportunity for the children to learn through play, build relationships with the church and its members, and have fun during “church time.”
FOUR YEARS THROUGH GRADE TWO
Children ages four years through second grade will be introduced to the magic of Spirit Play. Spirit play seeks to engage children in the questions of life within the context of the Unitarian Universalist faith. The program encourages independent thinking through wondering with an adult who does mediate correct answers but truly wonders with the child. It gives children real choices through freedom within the structure that promotes a sense of community and develops an underlying sense of the spiritual and mysteries of life. Each week stories are presented through active storytelling followed by a “wondering” time that opens up the child’s response to the story. Time is then allowed for the child is to work directly with that story, or another, or respond to the story through art materials.
THIRD AND FOURTH GRADE
STORIES OF UNITARIAN UNIVERSALISM, THE WORLD RELIGIONS AND BIBLE TALES
The goal of this curriculum is to introduce first our own Unitarian Universalist faith and then Christianity and world religions through stories and allow children to explore the differences and similarities to their own lives. It is difficult for children to grasp the abstract concepts of comparative religious studies. But we can share beautiful picture books and stories that highlight UU principles and celebrate different faiths, to help them begin a journey of understanding, tolerance and celebration for the diversity of human expression of faith.
FIFTH AND SIXTH GRADE
HARRY AND UU
The Harry Potter series of books by J.K. Rowling are an excellent way to immerse children in the idea that one can work to make the world a better place. These books offer important moral and social values for children, guiding them toward making good choices. This curriculum seeks to help participants learn that change is possible through multiple avenues, and can happen whether the problem is local or worldwide. Students will have the opportunity to make a difference in their community and the world in a meaningful way through hands-on projects.
SEVENTH AND EIGHTH GRADE
OUR WHOLE LIVES
OWL is a comprehensive approach to human sexuality presented in an age appropriate manner. It is based firmly on the values of respect, responsibility, justice, and inclusivity. The junior high youth will examine their values; discuss sexuality and body awareness, gender and diversity, sexual orientation and gender identity, relationships, lovemaking, responsible sexual behavior, STIs and sexual abuse.
SENIOR HIGH YOUTH
GRADES NINE THROUGH TWELVE
Senior High Youth Group youth meet weekly with adult advisors to participate in a supportive environment in which they can explore their feelings about themselves, their world and their religion. Some curricula are used, as determined by the desires of the group. Youth and advisors work jointly to plan and participate in social action projects, leadership development and opportunities for worship. The youth will be invited to attend district and local youth conferences throughout the year and will create and present a worship service for the congregation.