RE News & Info for 2018

  • As the RE committee continues to construct a Safe Church Policies Handbook for FPCU, we will need to make sure we are following the most basic of safety rules & procedures. This begins with a new registration process, in which parents/guardians will need to fill out a registration form before dropping their child(ren) off in RE class, as well as signing off on our Policies & Procedures In addition, we need to always have 2 unrelated adults with each group of children.  Which means, we’ll be looking for 9-11 volunteers each Sunday to help run the RE program and provide nursery care!
  • Nursery Caretaker: We are excited to have Sarah McKinley in the Nursery again for her 2nd year as our nursery worker! Sarah is a senior at Westford Academy, active in theater & soccer.  She is First Aid and CPR certified and has experience in babysitting and working with children as a CIT at an overnight camp.  Sarah is no stranger to FPCU, attending RE for several years here and making her Affirmation in 2014.  Sarah will be in the 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 is Sikhism. Children will learn about this faith through workshops & group lessons held throughout the RE year!
  • Children’s Offering is collected during RE class, and is separate from the church offering. Last year’s out-reach offering of $220 went to Habitat for Humanity towards the construction of a house in Westford. Our in-reach offering was again saved & carried over, giving us a total of $745. Students will discuss & vote on where this year’s offering will go during our Social Justice workshop in January.
  • We’ve improved previous year’s curriculum and added some new components to this year’s…
  • Pre-School & Pre-K will continue to use the UU curriculum Chalice Children: A Tapestry of Faith Program for Children. This curriculum introduces the basic tenets of our UU faith: love, community, celebration of diversity, a personal sense of wonder and awe, and our hope and work for a better world. This year the curriculum is complete with the recommended story books for each lesson!
  • NEW THIS YEAR! KG-2nd grade will be using the UU based curriculum Picture Book Bible Tales.  This curriculum is fun, friendly and concise with teachable moments that introduce classic Bible Tales to young elementary children.  This program will acquaint them with tales that are part of our culture and show them how to find universal messages of inspiration and hope.  KG-2nd grade will also continue to use the Gather ‘Round curriculum, which offers connections to the broader church life, homes, and families as well as outreach to communities and the world.  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. Volunteers will have the option to use one or both curriculums for each Bible story lesson.
  • 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.  The most famous bible stories will be reviewed and discussed. Curriculum is being created by the DRE with the help of the students.  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.  At the end of the RE year, 3rd grade students will receive 2 special books!
  • 4th & 5th grade will be using the UU curriculum Windows & Mirrors, which nurtures student’s ability to identify their own experiences and perspectives and to seek out, care about and respect those of others. This program teaches that there are always multiple viewpoints and everyone’s viewpoint matters and presents UU as a faith that is lived through identifying and acting on responsibility toward one another. The metaphor of windows and mirrors represents the dynamic relationship among our awareness of self, our perceptions of others, and others’ perceptions of us.  Students will begin by exploring how their own individuality creates the “Lens” through which we all view others.
  • NEW THIS YEAR! We are combining middle school & high school to form one Youth Group! Components from both the High School Discussion Group and the Middle School RE class will be used. Karin Drowne will still lead approximately 7 Discussion Groups.  In addition, we will continue to need volunteers to plan and lead outings and activities.

Religious Education Registration

After Sunday service on September 10th, join us with Fellowship for an Ice Cream Social, take a tour of our Religious Education classrooms, and register for Religious Education classes! We look forward to seeing you! Please click on the postcard below.

open house postcard 2014-15

 

Getting RE Ready for the Fall…

We’re looking for committee members & volunteer teachers!!

The ‘Back-to-School’ season is approaching and that means we’ll be Back-to-RE in no time!  To prepare for the year ahead, the RE committee will be meeting Wednesday August 9th.  For anyone interested in joining the RE committee please join us at 7pm, downstairs in the open RE room.  Also, in order to prepare parents and volunteers, I will also be holding “teacher trainings” on:

 

Wednesday 8/16 7pm

Wednesday 8/30 7pm

 

Each training will run for ~1 hour and will cover the basic structure of RE class as well as info on the PS/PK curriculum Chalice Children & the K-2nd curriculum on Bible stories.

 

*In an effort to make ‘teaching Bible stories’ comfortable and easy for all, the K-2nd curriculum will now offer 2 lesson choices for each story- one from the Gather ‘Round curriculum & the other from the new UU curriculum Picture Book Bible Tales.  Please join us on one of these nights to learn more!!

 

Please Note: 3rd grade and 4th/5th grade curriculum will only be discussed if parents are interested in hearing about it, but “training” is not necessary, as we have a consistent teacher for each class & volunteers will just be needed for support!

 

Looking forward to another great year,

 

Nicki Tracey, DRE

ntracey@firstparishwestford.org

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