Children’s Religious Education/Exploration
At UUCCI, our mission for Religious Education and Exploration is to inspire lifelong learning, spiritual exploration and growth within a respectful and supportive community of diverse opinions.
Many families have found that Unitarian Universalism helps guide their children in appreciating and understanding varying faith traditions and belief systems within their homes as well as in their extended families.
During Sunday Services
OPTIONS FOR OUR YOUNGEST, birth to age 2:
Parents of infants and toddlers have several options for their youngest ones. Ask for a tour.
- Sanctuary: Infants and toddlers are always welcome to stay in the sanctuary with their parents.
- Nursing Mothers’ Room: A speaker and window allow nursing mothers or caregivers to hear and see the service.
- Fellowship Hall: Parents and caregivers can hear the Sunday Service over the speakers while they walk with toddlers or sit and hold their infants.
- Chalice Children’s Child Care and Preschool: Infants and toddlers can join our preschoolers for craft and play time with our trained and CPR-certified child care staff of seventh to twelfth graders. A volunteer adult supervisor provides guidance and assistance.
CHALICE CHILDREN PRESCHOOL ROOM, ages 2-4:
Our Chalice Children Preschool Room provides child care for young children while their parents and other family members attend Sunday services. Family members can sign their children into this room at 9:50 am, and that same family member must be the one to sign the children out after services. Children should be picked up by 11:30 am. It is staffed by paid and trained teen child care specialists who are supervised by an adult volunteer.
RELIGIOUS EDUCATION AND EXPLORATION CLASSROOM, ages 4-12:
The children Pre-K to 2nd Grade travel to the Elsie Weekly Classroom for Spirit Play. Through the use of Story Baskets filled with 3-dimensional objects, these students hear and wonder about the Unitarian Universalist Seven Promises for community and Six Sources of our faith. During individual work time, they use art, crafts, and building materials and other ways to explore the story.
For children 3rd Grade and up, we have an Exploring Miracles Class. This class will explore some of the mysteries of life with stories, wondering exercises, and science and nature activities. Discussion will include “What do we know?”, “What are we still learning?”, “What might we humans never know the answers to?,” and “What seems like a miracle?” Take home materials allow the students to share the classroom experiences with their families.
During Bartholomew County School Corporation school holidays, we will combine our two classes. We will review our Classroom Promises, explore the meaning of the school holiday, and engage in cooperative play and games with individualized “work time” materials for the students who prefer that choice.
Other educational opportunities for children:
- Several times a year, our children and teen-agers work with adults from the congregation to create, produce, and perform a Sunday Service. Recent examples include Animal Blessing Sunday Service and the Flower Communion Service.
- Canned food hunt on Easter Day collects food for our local food bank
- Fund-raising meals for scholarship students around the globe
- Summer Peace Camp
- Winter “Guest at Your Table” collection boxes
- Winter mitten tree to collect hats and mittens for low-income families
EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR TEENS, ages 13-17:
- During Sunday Services, teenagers can choose between the Religious Education and Exploration Classroom (in the Elsie Weekly Room) or enjoying the Sunday Service with the adults.
- Many of our teenagers become part of our trained Child Care Staff to work with our younger children during Sunday Services, teaching them to share and care during cooperative play.
- Youth Group, Our 7th to 12th graders gather twice a month for volunteer service projects, social justice fund-raising, and fun. “Coming of Ages” classes will begin January 2017; these students will explore what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist and consider the path to membership.
- Our Whole Lives (OWL) Class: During 2016-17, some of our Junior High students join students from the greater Columbus community for Our Whole Lives Human Sexuality classes on Sunday evenings. Background-checked, adult facilitators trained by the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) lead these classes. This course will be offered again in 2018-19.
(OWL is totally separate from Youth Group and other Religious Education and Exploration programs, meeting at different times, with trained facilitators, for a defined period of weeks, and requiring parent permission.)