What to Expect
Religious education programming for children and youth at BBUUC uses the underlying principles and values of Unitarian Universalism as its framework. Within that structure, we focus on world religions, our Jewish-Christian heritage, and Unitarian Universalist identity and ethics.
Both the curricula we use and the way we teach are based on our belief that it is natural and healthy for children to seek answers to the questions of life, that there is much to learn from each other and from people of varied faith traditions all over the world, and that children benefit spiritually, ethically, and culturally through this process.
Our hope for our children and youth is that they will be taught the values that UUs share, that they will witness our UU principles in action within this religious community, and that they will participate as an integral part of what they call “MY church.”
A typical Sunday morning for children and youth at BBUUC begins with a welcome at the front door before the service begins at 10:30. Children under the age of three are invited to go to the church nursery at that time, if their parents prefer, or they may remain with their parents and the other children for the beginning part of the service. Around 10:45, the children leave the service and walk with their teachers to their classrooms. The youth remain in the service throughout the Joys and Concerns part of the service, then go to their classroom. The classes end at 11:30 along with the service. At that time, the youth may join the adults for coffee hour. On many Sundays, the children’s classes combine for snacks and singing until 11:45, at which time they are dismissed to their parents.
Nursery – infants through three-year-olds
Childcare is provided in our nursery every Sunday for our youngest children. Activities are age-appropriate, from toys to stories. Parents should bring all supplies that their children may need during their stay in the nursery.
If your child(ren) will be participating in LRE classes, please fill out this form: https://www.bbuuc.org/?p=1450
Spirit Play Class – 4-year-olds through first grade
Spirit Play is a Montessori-style UU curriculum based on the “Godly Play” curriculum by Jerome Berryman. It uses the freedom and structure of Montessori methods to address our lifespan religious education areas of focus with Berryman’s “morning as worship” approach. Using story baskets, the teacher tells a story that connects the children to their religious heritage, to Unitarian Universalists purposes and principles, to ethical behavior, to world religions, and to the wonder and mystery of life.
After the story, the children choose art activities or a story basket to retell. The morning ends with a snack followed by expression by the children of Joys and Concerns. The Spirit Play classroom is considered sacred space, and the atmosphere is one of calm, fun learning.
Elementary Class – second through fifth grades
The Elementary Class builds on the experiences of Spirit Play through a variety of curricula based on the three areas of lifespan religious education focus mentioned above. The choice of curricula is based on a three-year rotation of these areas with Unitarian Universalism as the framework for each. Each Sunday includes a story and related activities, from building to drawing to drama to working with clay, and more. The class is taught by a team of four teachers on a rotating basis.
Youth – sixth through twelfth grades
When our children reach middle school age, they are referred to as “youth” and the lifespan religious education programming structure changes for them.
Each week the youth remain in the adult service longer than the children, and once a month remain for the full service. The other Sundays are spent with their advisors discussing or participating in social action, learning about world religions or visiting other places of worship, discussing Unitarian Universalism history and identity, discussing the challenges of teenage life and ethics, and developing spiritual practices.
The format is designed to be informal as an alternative to their daily school life, and welcoming to both BBUUC youth and their friends. Approximately once a month, the youth have a social outing after the service.
Our hope for our youth is that they will deepen their understanding of what it means to live as Unitarian Universalists in the wider world, that they will develop spiritual practices that will serve them through their adult lives, and that they will be supported as they move from childhood to adulthood in our religious community.
Our youth are also involved in a three-stage coming of age program called “Transitions” timed for their entrance to middle school, entrance to high school, and prior to high school graduation. Most of the Transitions activities during the year take place outside of regular Sunday morning programming.
Teen Social Action and Faith Enrichment
In the summer of 2009, BBUUC youth began a 6-year plan that offers opportunities for them to enrich their lives as Unitarian Universalists. These activities are designed to follow our life-span religious education goals. The plan is designed to offer – in alternating years – travel to a site with historical UU significance (Chicago, Boston, and Washington D.C.) with travel to a location where they participate in an intensive social action project. The trips are funded by parental and congregational donations and by fundraising throughout the year by the youth.
Adult Religious Education is held on Wednesday evenings at the church. Childcare is available to participating parents during this time, if necessary. Specific classes vary in length from 4-6 weeks and are usually designed so that members and friends may attend some or all sessions. Enrichment classes are selected from categories as follows:
UU history and heritage
world religions and their texts
theology, ethics, and justice
Check this website or the BBUUC monthly newsletter for scheduled Enrichment classes throughout the year.