Religious Education: In Depth Unitarian Society of HartfordNourishing SpiritReligious Education for Children and YouthReligious Education: In Depth Our Philosophy of Religious Education Our goal is to help our children and youth: Gain respect and appreciation for themselves, others, all living things and the environment; Become integral parts of our Meeting House community; Develop an awareness of, and appreciation for, our Judeo-Christian heritage and other world religions that influence the formation of our religious beliefs; Experience the joy and inspiration of music and the arts; Become responsible persons who are able to make ethical decisions through which they show their care and concern for all humanity. How Our Children are Taught The seven principles are taught using methods based in the sources of our beliefs, which include, but are not limited to: Fostering a continuing sense of wonder using art, science, and social justice projects; Learning about heroes and heroines from UU history and other historical and religious figures who were dedicated to living fair and just lives; Discovering the ethical and spiritual wisdom of the world’s religions, including our Judeo-Christian heritage; Encouraging the use of logic and reason to discern the answers to life’s questions; Promoting practices that are in harmony with nature, the environment, and the sacred circle of life. What Our Children Learn Our children are encouraged to think for themselves, while receiving guidance on moral and ethical behavior. We allow their individual beliefs to unfold without any dogma. Our children learn that all big religious questions have many answers, and it is their responsibility to seek their own truth. Ultimately, we want our children to become mature adults who make their own decisions about what to believe and how to live. Our religious education program strives to give children the necessary foundation for this lifelong task by focusing on the seven Unitarian Universalist principles in an age-appropriate fashion. As Unitarian Universalists, we believe: Each person is important; Be kind in all you do; We’re free to learn together; And search for what is true; All people need a voice; Build a fair and peaceful world; We care for Earth’s lifeboat. Worship Services Most Sundays, prior to classes, the children join the congregation in the sanctuary for the first 10-15 minutes of the service. This is a time for the children to be part of our spiritual community, and to witness the rituals of the liturgical year. A children’s message, or “Time for All Ages” is offered by our Director of Religious Education, designed to complement the adult sermon. Holidays and holy days are often celebrated with a multigenerational service, during which the children are invited to participate in the entire service in lieu of classes. These services are designed to speak to both adults and children, and to reinforce our connection as a spiritual community. On the first and third Sunday of each month, childcare is available after worship until 1:45PM for any children under the age of 10 whose parents wish to participate in meetings, coffee hour, or other post-service offerings. Chapel for Youth and Children Once a month the youth and children gather in the chapel in lieu of the sanctuary before classes. The time allows for exploration of what worship means and allows them to participate in meaningful ways. They sing, light candles, play instruments, dance, and share readings and poems. Additional Events In addition to our regularly scheduled classes, we also offer dedication services for infants and children of any age as well as Coming of Age and Our Whole Lives for our middle school students. Once every 4-6 weeks we also encourage our children and youth to explore their creative side by offering a variety of one-room activities. This includes such things as incorporating drama and the arts, music, learning to respect and cultivate our environment and cooking and crafts. Family Friendly Congregation We are a family friendly congregation. Most of our events are appropriate for families of all ages or provide free childcare. Please look for this symbol in our programs booklet or when looking to attend events. We work to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our children and families in many ways, including our Safer Congregations policy and practices. Our religious education program strives to give children the necessary foundation for this lifelong task by providing a supportive, structured environment that allows them to focus on the 7 Unitarian Universalist principles in an age appropriate fashion. As Unitarian Universalists, we believe: Each person is important; Be kind in all you do; We’re free to learn together; And search for what is true; All people need a voice; Build a fair and peaceful world; We care for Earth’s lifeboat. UUA.org Sunday Schedule Child Care (Infant-Age 3) Offered at no charge in the nursery during the worship service Drop off 10:15 & pick-up at 11:45am. Religious Education Classes Pre-K-2; 3-5; 6-8 and High School Youth Group meet during the worship service. Children attend worship with the adults for A Time for All Ages at the beginning of the service Leave for class after about ten minutes Once a month we have a Chapel for Youth and Children in the Payson Miller Chapel where the youth and children learn about and lead the worship before heading off to class.