It's not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It's our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.— L.R. Knost, author
The UUSG religious education program strives to give children a place to explore what they believe both spiritually and as residents of this planet. Lessons and conversations in the classroom focus on what other religions and great thinkers believe as well as what the individual child believes. At the core we are trying to help our children become critical thinkers who will ask “what do I believe” instead of taking what they read and hear as fact. Using the UU Seven Principles as guidelines, we work to create meaningful lessons and projects to help each child form their own set of spiritual values. The Seven Principles are re-stated in children's language as follows:
- 1st Principle: We believe that each and every person is important.
- 2nd Principle: We believe that all people should be treated fairly and kindly.
- 3rd Principle: We believe that we should accept one another and keep on learning together.
- 4th Principle: We believe that each person must be free to search for what is true and right in life.
- 5th Principle: We believe that all persons should have a vote about the things that concern them.
- 6th Principle: We believe in working for a peaceful, fair, and free world.
- 7th Principle: We believe in caring for our planet Earth, the home we share with all living things.
Children are present for the first few elements of the Sunday service. After the "Story for All Ages" or "Conversation with the Children," they are ushered to the Fellowship Hall for Religious Education class, which lasts until the final hymn of the service.
Our Current Curriculum:
This church year the kids of the UUSG are exploring the Seven Principles through the curriculum “Cooking the 7 Principles”. Each Sunday, RE leaders read a story as a part of the service that relates to one of the guiding principles of Unitarian Universalism. After the story is read the children head downstairs to RE class to discuss the story and cook something that corresponds to the story’s message.
Some examples from Principle 1 (kids version, We Believe Each and Every Person is Important) stories and recipes are-
- The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig. We made chocolate chip cookies because the boy in the story was ignored at school until a new child befriended him and gave him a cookie, as well as confidence to be himself. The UUSG kids discussed that while someone can’t really be invisible, they can feel like they are and that we, as fellow human beings, can help someone struggling with shyness to be part of the group.
- Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai. We made naan khatai, a Pakistani cookie which is where Malala is from. The story led to conversations about bravery, a girl’s right to an education, and our commitment to causes we believe in.
Over the course of the year we will explore themes of justice, compassion, acceptance, truth, the right to a vote, fairness, and caring for our earth — all accompanied by delicious recipes.