Religious Education Policies & Information

Through the talents of church members, the goal of Religious Education at Unitarian Universalist Church West is to:

  • Enable children to develop their own personal religious values rooted in the principles and purposes of Unitarian Universalism.
  • Promote religious freedom by exploring the religious traditions of others and thereby examining our own.
  • Provide education and opportunities to help young people identify their place in this world through social action and environmental awareness.
  • Help each child feel a true sense of belonging to our church by building classroom community and worshipping together.

Church Year September 11, 2016 - May 21, 2017

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.

Beginning Time

Worship for All Ages: Children and youth join their families in the Sanctuary for the first portion of the service before leaving for their religious education sessions. Additional opening and closing worship circles take place in the class groups.

Ending Time

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 in the Nursery, Air, and Earth groups need to be picked up in person by the parents. Older children may be released directly to the Community Room, where families may mingle after services.


Visitors

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!


Registration Procedures

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.

Communications

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.


Educational Model

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.

Group Room Guides: Two session-leaders work cooperatively in distinct roles, lending consistency to their interrelationship and to the development of the session time.

  • The “storyteller” holds sacred time by forming the circle with the children, presenting the story or lesson through engaged storytelling, asking open-ended “wondering” questions, and closing the circle with a ritual or sharing.
  • The “spacekeeper” holds sacred space by arranging the room setup and materials, greeting the children and taking attendance, assisting with the children’s transitions between activities, and leading the response-time craft, games, and activity choices.

Session Structure

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.

Religious Education Council

Supporting the Director of Relgious Education, Religious Education Council members choose to concentrate in some of these areas:

  • Goals and visions for religious education
  • Curriculum review and evaluation
  • Special events for children and families
  • Social service opportunities for children and families

Contact

UUCW Logo13001 West North Avenue
Brookfield, WI 53005-5214

Tel 262.782.3535
Fax 262.784.9479
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Hours

Office Hours:
Tu-F 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Sunday Services:
9:15 AM and 11:00 AM

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