Religious Education News September 2016

With September approaching quickly, it’s not only time to start thinking about “back to school”, but back to church school as well! Our Religious Education Open House will be Sunday September 11.  Join us, after the Intergenerational Service, for a special coffee hour with refreshments and activities where children & families can dress up and have their pictures taken while they register for RE class!  The RE committee members will be there to answer any questions you may have.

RE News & Info for 2016-2017

  • We’ll be looking for at least 10 volunteers each Sunday to help run the RE program and provide Nursery Care! Please sign-up at the Open House!!
  • WELCOME! Sarah McKinley is our new Nursery Caretaker, hired just this summer.  She is a junior at Westford Academy, active in Theater & Soccer. She spent this past summer working with children as a CIT at an overnight camp.  She is First Aid and CPR certified and has experience in babysitting.  Sarah is no stranger to FPCU, attending RE for several years here and making her Affirmation in 2014.  Sarah will be in the FPCU Nursery most Sundays from 10am-12pm.  Following our policy, there will be a volunteer in the nursery with her as well.
  • This Year’s PK-5th grade World Religion Focus: Baha’i – Baha’i is one of the world’s newest religions, beginning about 150 years ago in Persia (now Iran.) Followers of the Baha’i faith believe that there is one God for all people, and that all people and all religions are one. The goals of the Baha’i religion are to preach the oneness of all humanity and to promote world peace. Children will learn more about this faith through workshops &  group lessons!
  • This year’s RE offering will continue to go to both 1. Habitat for Humanity (our outreach program of choice) and  2. stone benches for outside the church (our in-reach gift of choice). Children’s Offering is collected during RE class, and is separate from the church offering.

Curriculum:

    • New this year… Pre-School & Pre-K students will be using the UU curriculum Chalice Children: A Tapestry of Faith Program for Children.  This curriculum will introduce the basic tenets of our UU faith to young children and their families. Those tenets are our love, our covenantal community, our celebration of diversity, a personal sense of wonder and awe, and our hope and work for a better world.
    • Lesson materials for grades KG-2 will continue to come from the Gather ‘Round curriculum, which offers connections to the broader church life, homes, and families as well as outreach to communities and the world.  Activities are tailored to the ability and interest of the learners.  Children will become familiar with stories from both the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures (Old and New Testaments.)  The focus is to gain a basic understanding of the story and characters, as well as exploring possible interpretations of these stories.  Bible stories are taught as meaningful stories, but “what to believe” is left to parents-and, later, children themselves- to determine.  Specifically this year we will use the following curriculum units:   1. The Things That Make for Peace, and 2. Parables and Sayings of Jesus
    • 3rd grade RE lessons continue to build on the foundations of Bible Stories learned in earlier grades and also take a closer look at what our church and faith deems important.  Attention is focused on the Bible as a collection of individual stories and verses in two large sections, The Old Testament and The New Testament.  40-60 of the most famous bible stories will be reviewed and discussed. Curriculum is being created by the DRE & the RE committee.  Religious Education in 3rd grade marks a special milestone at FPCU, as students spend their final year exploring Bible stories and get ready to move onto more UU based curriculums, in an effort to help our children define who they are in the larger faith community.  At the end of the RE year, 3rd grade students will receive 2 special books!
    • 4th & 5th grade will be using the curriculum Toolbox of Faith, which invites students to reflect on the qualities of our Unitarian Universalist faith, such as integrity, courage, and love, as tools they can use in living their lives and building their own faith.  Each of the sessions uses a tool as a metaphor for an important quality of our faith such as reflection (symbolized by a mirror), flexibility (duct tape), and justice (a flashlight).  Reflecting on the qualities (tools) of our faith, children & leaders gain insight into what makes faith important in their own lives & how they can grow within that faith.
    • Middle School RE will cover any and all major World Religions of their choosing and interest. Volunteer teachers choose the religion to be learned and provide materials, information, presenters, and plan for any field  trips to be taken,  in order to implement and enhance lessons.

Looking forward to another great year!
Nicole (Nicki) Tracey
Director of Religious Education