RE Curriculum

RE children and teachers

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Pre-K: Sunday School Fun (all year)
Our preschool children learn about being in community in a fun and loving way. Weekly lessons incorporate the concepts of church, family groupings, holiday celebrations, nature, and the world around them with art activities, music, and circle time sharing.

Kindergarten: A Discovering Year (all year)
This program offers children the opportunity to learn about their religious community and tradition as well as the freedom to discover and express their uniqueness. The four units encourage children to use their minds, bodies, and emotions to develop their sense of identity and self-esteem within the UU community and the world.

Grade One: Stories About God (fall)
The children are exposed to images, metaphors, and stories that are compatible with our UU principles and beliefs at a time when they are developmentally ready and questioning. A few of the goals of this extremely well written and organized course are: (1) to offer children a variety of experiences with that which people call God—that is, the ultimate reality, values, and mysteries that underlie all the physical, mental, and spiritual dimensions of life, (2) to help children develop a language with which they can speak about God, and (3) to expose children to a wide variety of stories about God based on insights from all the world religions, from feminist experiences, and from the ordinary and extraordinary experiences in life.

Grade One: Creating Home (winter, spring)
This program helps children develop a sense of home that is grounded in faith. Participants explore the purpose and functions of a home for people and for other animals. The program describes home as a place of belonging and introduces the concept of the congregation as a "faith home." Like a family home, a faith home offers its members certain joys, protections and responsibilities.

Grade Two: Experiences with the Web of Life (all year)
This course offers our children a way to learn about and respect the interdependent web of existence of which we are all a part. It offers an emphasis on values, which differentiates it from the ecological content that children often receive at their weekday schools. The goals are to: (1) have the children develop an awareness of the interdependence of living things and each child’s place within the web of life, (2) encourage children’s natural sense of curiosity and awe, (3) gain awareness and comfort with change and growth as characteristics of living things (including life and death), and (4) learn to protect the environment, enjoy nature, and develop a respect for all living things.

Grade Three: Holidays and Holy Days (all year)
This long-used and favorite course offers our children a way to learn about and celebrate special holy days from around the world through stories, food, music, and movement. Our UU principles are tied in to each holiday, so that children may compare and contrast the many theological beliefs and ideas they learn about during the year.

Grade Four: Living the Promise (fall, winter)
This course was designed to have children become familiar with significant aspects of the Bible in a way that holds real meaning for them and is fun. The theme of covenant runs throughout this class, in the ancient Hebrew stories the children read and the religious, political, and ethical questions that are raised for the children to discuss in relation to these stories.

Grade Four: Our Environment (spring)
This course challenges our students to look at the changing face of our planet and to discuss ways they can help to become more aware of the problems and take action to preserve the earth. Throughout the curriculum, we stress personal activism what one person can do to make a difference.

Grade Five: Kingdom of Equals (fall, winter)
This class is an introduction to the life and teachings of Jesus, based on the four gospels of the New Testament. There are four premises of this course: (1) The character of Jesus is a pivotal figure in both secular and religious history, (2) the ideas of equality and radical love as taught by Jesus are still an ideal and spiritual path worth studying, (3) the Jesus stories are universal, and therefore open to interpretation and definition, and (4) Biblical literacy is critical for our students as they learn to navigate the political culture and current events at home and abroad.

Grade Five: Toolbox of Faith (spring)
This course invites participants 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 session 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).

Grade Six: Amazing Grace: Exploring Right and Wrong (fall, winter)
This program guides sixth graders through ways to determine right from wrong and act on their new understandings. Its purpose is to equip them for moving safely and productively through the middle- and high-school years, when they will be continually tugged toward both ends of the ethics continuum. Through Amazing Grace, youth come to depend on their Unitarian Universalist identity and resources as essential to their movement toward understanding, independence, and fulfillment of personal promise.

Grade Six: The Lessons of Loss (spring)
Although the subject of death and dying is introduced and touched on in earlier grades, this class examines how various cultures and religions answer the question of why tragic events occur; the range of UU beliefs concerning death and dying; what other religious traditions believe about death and dying, and how religious rituals acknowledge loss; and allows the students to develop their own thoughts regarding what death means to them and their families.

Grade Seven: Neighboring Faiths (fall, winter)
This class introduces students to the faith traditions and practices of other religious groups in our community. Our group will visit other places of worship and participate in their traditions. We also encourage our students to continue to work on their own faith journey as they compare all the faith traditions.

Grade Seven: Our Whole Lives of Sexuality (spring)
We are pleased to offer this life-affirming course to our seventh grade students beginning in the spring, and continuing through the fall of the following year. This class offers students the opportunity to identify, clarify, and discuss issues about self-esteem, media images, gender identity, relationship building, communication, and caring, as well as learn important facts about the human body, sexual harassment and abuse, and sexual practices. Please note: To register for this class, students must attend Sunday School for three months prior to class.

Grade Eight: Our Whole Lives of Sexuality (fall):
Please see above

Grade Eight: Coming of Age (winter, spring)
This rite-of-passage course matches our eighth grade students with an adult mentor from our congregation. Together they work on completing a required checklist of subjects, including worship, social justice, religious history and tradition, life and organization at First Parish, and their own spiritual autobiography. This class culminates in a worship service and celebration during which students’ personal credos are shared.

630 MASSACHUSETTS AVENUE   ♦   ARLINGTON, MASSACHUSETTS 02476   ♦   781-648-3799

Copyright 2017 First Parish Unitarian Universalist of Arlington

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