September 10, 2017 – May 20, 2018
Two Services – 9:15 am – 10:30 am and 11:00 am – 12:15 pm
Unitarian Universalist Church West offers two worship services and two religious education programs on Sunday mornings from the Sunday after Labor Day until the Sunday before the Memorial Day weekend. During the summer, we offer worship and Religious Education at 10:00 am.
Children in preschool and older begin in the Sanctuary with their families for the Worship for All Ages portion of the service. After about 15 minutes, they are sung out to meet their teachers in the foyer and proceed to their religious education classrooms. Infants and toddlers begin directly in the nursery before service begins.
Please do not enter the group rooms before the sessions are over at 10:30am or 12:15pm. If worship service ends before this time, please visit during the social hour. Please pick up your children promptly at the session-ending time. Children through second grade need to be picked up in person by the parents or guardians. Older children are released directly to the Community Room, where families may mingle after services.
Visitors are always welcome at UUCW and in our religious education sessions. Please stop at the Visitor’s Table in the church lobby on any Sunday that you are visiting, and you will be directed to the appropriate group rooms. For your child’s safety, all visitors to our religious education program must fill out a visitor sign-in form. Email addresses are appreciated!
You do not need to be members of the church to register, but all who frequently use the religious education program are expected to make a financial contribution to UUCW and to volunteer in some capacity in the program. Please check with the Director of Religious Education to determine the most appropriate group placement for your child. Register online on the link to the left.
We use email communications to share information about coming events, special projects, class newsletters, and volunteer scheduling. Please check your email regularly. Please see our website regularly for more detailed, up-to-date information including weekly lesson plan descriptions, sermons online, newsletter articles, and upcoming events.
UUCW uses an educational model inspired by the Montessori learning method. This non-instructional, child-centered model encourages children to wonder, question, and work out their answers creatively in a comfortable environment that supports multiple learning styles.
- Worship: Each session begins and ends with a regular ritual including a chalice lighting and a reading, prayer, meditation, song, blessing, or sharing.
- Sacred Time: Religious education is separated from regular experience through the predictable rhythm and flow of time. The morning has a structure that honors the spirit within each child.
- Opening: Forming the circle of children, participating in a chalice lighting and ritual.
- Engaged Storytelling: Using visual cues as much as possible, the lesson is presented through pictures, drama, or “manipulatives” that can be moved around on a backdrop.
- “Wondering” Questions: Children participate in responding to the lesson with an open-ended sense of wonder and in asking questions that relate to their faith development.
- Response Activities: Using a variety of choices that appeal to different learning styles and multiple intelligences, children learn to take the lesson into their hearts in their own way.
- Closing Circle: To end the sacred time together, children share their thoughts and wishes and discoveries, and say goodbye to their lesson leaders.
Three-Year Multi-Age Rotation Model
Multi-age groupings are a creative aspect of the Montessori method that encourages dynamic interaction between children, creates bonded community, and nurtures multiple learning styles and interest-levels.
- Curriculum rotations allow for focus in four major areas throughout the years:
- Unitarian Universalist identity and values
- UU Sources including world religions and Judeo-Christian heritage
- Social justice as faithful action
- Creating communities of love and service
Volunteer Contribution and Donations
Ours is a cooperative program. There is no fee for religious education at UUCW because in addition to their envelope or pledge donations, each family volunteers in one of two main areas. (First-year participants are not expected to volunteer. Please enjoy our community and settle in.)
Religious Education Teaching
Session leaders work in pairs with a regular partner to co-facilitate lessons about ten Sundays per year based upon a rotating schedule. Teachers are encouraged to choose their own partners, and pick together their teaching dates. The two teachers work together to prepare the space, create a community of children, present the lesson or story, guide discussion and “wondering” questions, assist with art response projects and group activities, and bring the time to a close. Our program is dependent on dedicated volunteers who want to contribute to the future of our children, our church, and the principles of Unitarian Universalism. Session plans, supplies, and administrative support are provided. You will deepen your faith as you guide the children.