Children up to 23 months
Babies and toddlers up to 23 months play in our age-appropriate nursery with our paid nanny and volunteer assistants. Children should bring their own bottles or sippy cups, snacks, diapers, and a change of clothes with them to the nursery.
Children ages 2 or 3
Your child is offered a preschool class led by paid staff during either service. Our preschool classes are meant to transition children from the nursery into a Sunday School classroom. Emphasis is placed on building a caring community within the class. Each class begins with free play and incorporates a circle time (with flameless chalice lighting and story) and activity into the session. Classes also enjoy a snack and free play. Preschool classes begin at 9:30 and 11:00 a.m.
Children age 4 on Sept. 1, 2009 through Kindergarten
Your child is offered a choice in the early service: attending intergenerational worship AND/OR participating in our 9:30 a.m. Spirit Play class, which is led by a paid lead teacher. During the late service, your child will be enrolled in Spirit Play Plus (which meets at 11:00 a.m.; these children do NOT attend the first portion of the service.) Kindergarten students who wish to attend the first portion of the service may request a transfer to our normal Spirit Play Class. Transfers are granted as space allows.
Spirit Play is a Montessori-based religious education program. The sessions follow a distinct routine, while allowing the children to make their own choices about their religious exploration during 'work time'. The emphasis is on building a child community within the classroom. Children are let in by a doorkeeper, who helps them settle down to be 'ready' before entering the room. Once children have all arrived to the circle, they will have an opening ritual, be guided through a story told in conjunction with physical materials, will be asked 'wondering' questions that help them explore that story, will enjoy self-selected work time, and will end with a feast.
Your child is offered the choice of Spirit Play (see paragraph above for brief description) or intergenerational worship during the early service. During the late service your child is offered Spirit Play (children in first grade Spirit Play will attend the first portion of the service, and then go to class).
Second Grade through Fifth grade
Your child is offered intergenerational worship during the early service and traditional classes during the second service (2nd, 3rd, 4th-5th).
Intergenerational Worship at 9:30 a.m.
UUFR is thrilled to offer an 'all ages all the time' worship service at 9:30 each Sunday morning. This service is led by our enthusiastic and talented Assistant Minister, Eric Kaminetsky. The service supports the ideal of intergenerational community and honors the idea that worship IS religious education. Children learn how UU adults 'do church' because they are doing it right alongside the adults. The service is 45 minutes long and incorporates participatory elements, story, sermon, and music. On the first Sunday of the month, there is a Together breakfast in lieu of worship service. Social action work is integrated into the program hour through the year. Families with AND without children are strongly encouraged to participate in Together either regularly or periodically, as we believe that quality intergenerational worship and community are fundamental to the strength and longevity of our faith community and tradition.
Students in 2nd through 5th grades attend the first portion of the 11:00 a.m. service with their families. They adjourn to class following the Common Conversation.
This class will use the curriculum, 'Stories About God', and the companion storybook 'Hide and Seek with God', by Mary Ann Moore. This class explores God as the central symbol in a religious communication system. The liberal curriculum is story-based, covering three themes: God is a oneness that takes many forms; God is love and worth that can take many forms; and God is mystery that can take many forms. In the Explorer's class children begin to develop a language with which to talk about God, to hear a wide variety of stories about God, and to express their own thoughts and feelings about God. Many UUs have concerns about using the word 'God', because it is so strongly associated with a certain set of beliefs rather than our own understanding of such forces as ultimate reality, value, and mystery. This curriculum encourages exploration of these fundamental human concepts through the word 'God', and encourages an openness to thinking about the word in many different ways. Each Sunday students go with their parents for the first portion of the service.
For just over half the year, the third graders will study stories from the Hebrew Bible, using the curriculum, 'Timeless Themes.' Children are introduced to some of the religious literature most central to North American culture and UU heritage. They will explore some of the human issues that inspired these scriptures: the timeless themes of transcendent power, human responsibility, love of freedom, speaking out against injustice, respect for the beliefs of others, love of one's neighbor, and forgiveness. The Bible stories are taught from a UU value structure, and use gender-inclusive language. In the spring, third graders will have two intensive units on Buddhism and Islam. During each unit, we will use a curriculum by Rachel Brown. Her curricula introduce the children to the beliefs, history, and traditions of Buddhism and Islam through activities and discussion. Resources are available through the Youth RE office for parents who would like to learn more themselves about Buddhism or Islam. Parents are also encouraged to attend the fall learning circle on Houston Smith's, 'The World's Religions'. Each Sunday students go with their parents for the first portion of the service.
Fourth and Fifth Grades
This year our Fourth and Fifth graders will use the curriculum Toolbox of Faith, which is part of the UUA's Tapestry of Faith curriculum. Toolbox of Faith invites participants to reflect on the qualities of our Unitarian Universalist faith, such as integrity, courage, and love, as tools they can use in living their lives and building their own faith. Each of the 16 sessions uses a tool as a metaphor for an important quality of our faith such as reflection (symbolized by a mirror), flexibility (duct tape), and justice (a flashlight). The entire curriculum may be viewed online. This class also self-selects a year-long class social action project. Each Sunday the Fourth and Fifth graders attend the first portion of the service with their parents.
Special Needs Ministry