Children & Youth Spiritual Growth & Learning Programs
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December 1, 2013
Nursery (birth - 3 years)
Our paid staff provide a loving presence and engage children in games, stories and crafts with seasonal and holiday themes.
3-5 Year Olds The Spiritually Growing Child
Children will hear the story, “One Candle.” For one family the traditional Hanukkah celebration has a deeper meaning. Amidst the food and festivities, Grandma and Great-Aunt Rose begin to tell their story – the one they tell each year. Their story reaffirms the values of tradition and family, but also shows us that by continuing to honor the tragedies and the triumphs of the past there will always be hope for the future.
Goal: Learn about Hanukkah while connecting it to hope in their own lives at holiday time.
1st – 4th Grades Moral Tales - Making a Difference
I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do. — Edward Everett Hale
This session introduces the concept of responsibility. It reinforces the ideas in the seventh Unitarian Universalist Principle, respect for the interdependent web of all existence, by demonstrating the idea that our action or lack of action makes a difference in an interdependent world. It encourages the children to feel empowered to take action when love, faith and conscience call. The session is woven around a folk tale from Thailand and Burma, "Not My Problem." In this story a queen is repeatedly asked to take action on what she considers a matter too small for her attention. She continues to ignore it until the situation grows to the point that her whole kingdom is lost. During the session the children explore the concept and experience of responsibility through acknowledging ways that they already make a difference, considering through role play how to make a difference in real life scenarios, and brainstorming problems that matter to them, and how even small actions on their part promote positive change.
5th – 8th Grades Amazing Grace - Human And Divine
To err is human, to forgive divine. — Alexander Pope
To understand everything is to forgive everything. — Hindu Prince Gautama Siddhartha, the founder of Buddhism
This session focuses on forgiveness. It explores such religious ideas as redemption and salvation: concepts that are meaningful for many Unitarian Universalists and helpful for youth to understand more fully other faith communities. The session begins with the above quotation from Alexander Pope, and then uses stories of Prometheus and Jesus to present two attitudes toward forgiveness. Participants will reflect on how place can influence their own spiritual thoughts and understanding and consider offering forgiveness to somebody in their own lives.
9th-12th SENIOR HIGH YOUTH GROUP
The senior high youth group meets from 11:30-12:30 after attending the first part of the 11 a.m. service. The group offers its members a safe place to share their lives and find support and friendship among open minded and loving peers. The group engages in discussions about issues relevant to youth’s lives and communities.
9:30-10:45 am: Children's Holiday Service Rehearsal
Children and Youth Program
Children and youth in Preschool (3 years) through High School join the community for the first part of worship at 11 am and then go to their respective classes until 12:30.
Nursery: Birth - four years
Location: Nursery, Church’s Lower Level
Childcare Staff: Giovanna Fernandez and Sandra Sotelo
We provide a safe, clean environment in which to support each child in initiating play activities at the developmental level they manifest. Each week our paid staff, Giovanna Fernandez and Kimberly Fernandez, provides a loving presence as they engage children in games, stories and crafts with seasonal and holiday themes throughout the year.
Three- to five-year-olds: Picture Book World Religions
This curriculum is based on the philosophy that young children learn about religion through relationships. What is a person? Who am I? How am I related to others? What are my responsibilities? What kind of world do I live in? These are religious questions that children begin to answer as they become acquainted with themselves, other people, and their environment; all responses are mediated by the significant adults in their lives. Each week the children look and listen to an engaging picture book that reflects the week’s central theme with accompanying activities. Themes from September –June include: Individuality, Earth Day, Cycles of Life, Harvest, Thanksgving, Christmas, Hannukah, Winter Solstice, Family, Golden Rule, etc.
- Teachers: Sarah Logan, Thomas Tan
Grades 1-4: Moral Tales
Each session has a central story in which participants meet real and fictional heroes and heroines who have displayed moral courage and spiritual greatness. They will hear about characters who have struggled, but who have chosen justice, goodness, and love. All sessions include hands-on activities to make learning accessible to individuals with various learning styles as well as structured exercises for questioning, reflecting and self-expression. The goals of the curriculum are to help children begin to build a personal moral compass. Through their exploration of goodness and justice we hope children will be grounded in Unitarian Universalist ethical beliefs, moral values and spiritual practices that can not only transform the individual, but transform the world, as well.
1st-8th Grades Summer Schedule: Stories of Courage and Wisdom
- Teachers: Rev. Geoff Rimositis, Amy Lorenzen
Grades 5-8: Junior High Youth Group
Amazing Grace: Exploring Right and Wrong
& Riddle and Mystery
The junior high youth group will explore two curriculums this year. The first curriculum, Amazing Grace: Exploring Right and Wrong, equips youth for moving safely and productively through the middle- and high school years, when they will be continually tugged toward both ends of the ethics continuum. Through their involvement in Amazing Grace, youth will come to recognize and depend on their Unitarian Universalist identity and resources as essential to their movement toward understanding, independence, and fulfillment of personal promise.
The second curriculum, Riddle and Mystery, assists youth in their search for understanding. Each session introduces and processes a Big Question. The first three echo Paul Gauguin’s famous triptych: Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? The next ten, including Does God exist? and What happens when you die?, could be found on almost anyone’s list of basic life inquiries. The final three are increasingly Unitarian Universalist: Can we ever solve life’s mystery? How can I know what to believe? What does Unitarian Universalism mean to me?
In addition to the Sunday morning curriculum, youth get together for once-a-month social activities (First Friday Fun Nights), join with other middle school youth for weekend conferences: Middle School Unitarian Universalist Gatherings MUUGS (Middle School UUs) and a junior high backpack trip in June.
Grades 9-12: Senior High Youth Group, Youth Room
The senior high youth group meets on Sundays from 11:30-12:30. The group offers its members a safe place to share their lives and find support and friendship among open-minded and loving peers. The group engages in discussions about issues relevant to youth’s lives and communities. They plan social and service projects throughout the year.
They also participate in youth conferences in area Unitarian Universalist churches under the auspices of the Pacific Central District of Unitarian Universalist Congregations and Young Religious Unitarian Universalists (YRUU). The youth group’s empowering philosophy educates youth to be leaders within the group, church community and denomination.
Youth Group Advisors: Rick Morris, Rev. Geoff Rimositis, Terra Wood-Taylor
Check out Rev. Geoff’s blog (link is below) on The Spiritual Journey of a Child through Our Faith Community and to see descriptions of our children and youth programs for 2012-13.
Please contact Rev. Geoff, GRimositis@gmail.com if you would like to learn more.
Church Office Hours
Week of August 26-30: office hours will be Monday, Tuesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed Monday, September 2 for Labor Day.
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., but closed at noon for an hour break.
Tuesday and Thursday: Closed