A Vibrant Program for Pre-school through Ninth Grade
We have a vibrant program for children from pre-school through 9th grade, with over 500 children enrolled in our classes and over 120 volunteer teachers. Our classes meet during each of our worship times—Saturdays at 4:30 p.m. and Sundays at 9 and 11 a.m.
In the early years, we focus on building a trusting community, helping children to feel safe and secure at FUS, and introducing them to UU principles. During the elementary school years we learn more about our UU history and traditions, the beliefs of other traditions, our evolutionary history, and the stories of the Bible.
In middle school, youth compare the basic tenets of the worlds’ religions, deepen their understanding of their own beliefs and Unitarian Universalism, and learn about relationship development and sexuality.
Our curricular program culminates with our 9th grade Coming of Age year. These students explore some of the BIG QUESTIONS in life and develop a statement of their personal beliefs.
Celebrating Me & My World
For 3 & 4 year oldsCelebrating Me & My World invites children to celebrate what is wonderful about themselves and to explore the world and the people around them. It encourages the development of a positive self-image, feelings of comfort and safety here at FUS, familiarity with the basics of our religious principles, awareness of our connectedness with nature, and the development of cooperative skills that make for a happy group experience.
the Web of Life
For Kindergarten & 1st GradersExperiences with the Web of Life celebrates our 7th UU principle: “Respect for the interdependent web of life of which we are a part.” Children in this class will observe the ways that living things relate to the rest of life: what the earthworm eats, what eats the earthworm, what it contributes to the soil, how that helps plants and helps us grow food in the soil, and so on. Each lesson is an adventure in finding such interdependent connections. Throughout the curriculum, our spiritual connection with all living things is reinforced.
Holidays & Holy Days
For 2nd and 3rd GradersHolidays and Holy Days introduces children to religious and cultural holidays throughout the world. Each week is a new celebration. From Ramadan to Divali, Huichol Indian Day to John Murray Day, children will use celebrations as a lens for observing religious and cultural traditions. UU values are explicitly related to the many religious traditions celebrated here. The celebrations of diverse religions and cultures tell us stories that children absorb with delight!
For 4th and 5th GradersBibleodeon introduces biblical scriptures by presenting the best-known Hebrew and Christian stories with fun and interactive games, such as investigating the Cain and Abel crime scene and solving the “Mystery of the Day.” Participants also act in playlets, create a biblical timeline, give awards to outstanding biblical women, and more. They explore connections between biblical events and UU principles, between biblical ideas and their own lives.
For 6th Graders Saturday & Sunday at 9 a.m., & 6th & 7th Graders Sunday at 11 a.m. Building Bridges is a world religions program to deepen youth’s understanding of the dynamic, fascinating, and varied world in which they live. It seeks to broaden their knowledge of humanity and embolden their spiritual search. During the year they will discover the beliefs and rituals that are the pillars of Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Indigenous faiths, and more. They will look at the beliefs that connect us as well as the differences that distinguish us. This year includes welcoming visitors of other faiths as well as attending other places of worship about once per month. Some flexibility in scheduling is required.
For Seventh Graders, Saturday, & Sunday at 9Compass Points is a UU curriculum that leads middle schoolers on a travel journey to all directions. Each direction points to a leg of the journey that is life, helping us to engage our spiritual and questioning selves in ways that deepen our appreciation for our own gifts, for others, and for our rich and dynamic UU history. Each week participants “take a stand” on an ethical or philosophical issue, delve into that issue more deeply, and then re-visit their “stand.” Included in our topics are concepts of religious authority, dying and living, religious freedom, our UU ancestors, and how we “walk the talk.”
Mind, Body & Soul
For Eighth Graders Mind, Body & Soul is the merging together of three excellent sources: Our Whole Lives, Love U2, and several “home grown” lessons. In this class, youth explore issues related to relationships and sexuality. They learn to know themselves and their hopes, to communicate with others, and to define their boundaries. Topics include gender differences, emotional needs, stages of intimacy, gender identity and orientation, sexual arousal patterns, sexually transmitted diseases, pornography and the media, pregnancy options, and more. Our goal is to create a safe community where teens can honestly discuss sensitive issues that profoundly affect them – mind, body & soul. Regular attendance is imperative to create and sustain a trusting bond and to most benefit from the lessons. A parent orientation will be held prior to the first class.
Coming of Age
For Ninth Graders Coming of Age is a program that honors our teens as spiritual seekers and celebrates the significant passage from childhood to youth. During the year, teens strive to define who they are and what they believe. They grapple with some of life’s “big questions” and learn life skills that help them to live a healthy life – spiritually, emotionally and socially. The year’s program includes two weekend retreats, class activities and discussions, time spent with “elders,” a service project, and more. Each participant develops a “This I Believe…” statement that is then presented at the Coming of Age worship service in May.
Participation in Coming of Age involves a significant commitment from parents and youth. Weekly attendance is very important and several events require participation. These include the fall (usually mid-October) and spring (usually early April) retreats, and the opening and closing ceremonies. If you have not attended an orientation for the Coming of Age program (all 8th graders were invited to this in the spring), then be sure to talk with our Director of Children’s Religious Education before enrolling.
Creating a Safe PlaceIt is important that together we do all we can to assure our children’s safety. We take several precautions toward that end.
- Running sexual and criminal offender background checks on all our volunteer teachers, our child care coordinator and youth advisors.
- Requiring that two adults be present with a child or group of children at all times.
- Requiring that our teens working in the child care program have all taken a baby-sitter’s certification class through the YMCA, Red Cross, or some other established program.
- Asking that parents of younger children (those in child care and in our pre-K through 1st grade classes) be sure to sign out their children when they pick them up at the end of class.
- We also ask for your help in promoting safety. Please be sure to read the Behavioral Guidelines for Children on the following page and help your children to abide by these guidelines.
- If you have any concerns about your child’s safety, please contact Leslie Ross, our Director of Children’s Religious Education, at 233-9774, extension 119 or at this link.
Each year classes begin the weekend after Labor Day and go through the weekend before the Memorial Day weekend. We have CRE classes at all three worship services—Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.; Sundays at 9 and 11 a.m.. Each week children pre-K through 7th grade start out in the Auditorium for an Intergenerational Message before heading into their classrooms. This is a valued time for us to be together as a whole congregation! Classes end at 6 p.m. on Saturdays and 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Sundays. We appreciate parents allowing their kids to stay for the duration of class.
Our pre-K through 5th grade classes combine two age groups and rotate each year. Roughly speaking, every other year your child will have a class that focuses on Unitarian Universalism. On opposite years we offer a class that otherwise expresses our principles and priorities. Students in grades 6 through 9 generally have the same classes offered each year.
Our Class Rotation
Chalice Children • 3 and 4 year-olds
Treasure Hunting • K and 1st grade
Free To Believe • 2nd and 3rd grade
Exploring Our Origins • 4th and 5th grade
Celebrating Me & My World • 3 and 4 year olds
Experiences With the Web of Life • K and 1st grade
Holidays and Holy Days • 2nd and 3rd grade
Bibleodeon • 4th and 5th grade
Our 6th to 9th grade classes include Building Bridges, Compass Points, Mind, Body & Soul, and Coming of Age.