Register for Religious Education


Hello Friends,

Thank you for checking out our website to learn more about children and youth programming at First Parish. The past few years have been unusual because of COVID, but we have adapted to continue to be in community together, and are excited to be together again.

We met in person on September 11th to kick off our program year and it was a great success! 

We renewed old friendships and opened our doors to greet newcomers. We opened our Nursery and met in classrooms with teachers. Our evening programs for middle and high school youth are gearing up for another wonderful year with their volunteer teachers and advisors. 

Are you NEW? 

We are an open door congregation, which means that in almost all circumstances you can just drop by to see what we’re all about. Swing by the membership table in our coffee hour room, called the Vestry, to meet with someone who will share information and guide you to your next steps.

We encourage families to visit us once or twice, then fill out a registration form for your child(ren) so we can best serve them. It’s important for us to have information about allergies, learning styles, family dynamics, etc. Parents can stay with their children if transitioning is hard. 

In order to run our dynamic program we rely on volunteers to teach, help on Sundays when we offer One Room programs, join as a guest to help with music or art, or in the kitchen to cook. If you have a special talent you’d like to share please be sure to pass that information along, too! 

As we return to in-person programming, our focus will be on:

  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Community building
  • Spiritual grounding

Our primary goals for our time together during the fall will be:

  • To establish relationships between participants and volunteer teachers and advisors
  • To have fun!
  • To be reminded of the many blessings in our lives through rituals and ceremonies
  • To explore the values and principles of our  Unitarian Universalist faith
  • To stay safe!
  • To travel our spiritual paths, side by side

What’s Next, Then?

Please take a look at the Fall RE Calendar. Most weeks we will be holding classes in our building, but we will have a few family activities outdoors, to maximize the warm weather while we still have it! 

The Nursery will be open for babies and toddlers through the age of three. Adults may drop off their children before worship service begins at 10:00 am, to introduce them to our volunteers and to settle them into the space.

Older children will join their parents for worship in the Sanctuary at 10:00 am. Together they will share in our opening rituals, hear from the choir and musical guests, and be greeted by the worship leaders and ministers. Each week there will be a special moment for the children, called the Time for All Ages. The children will be dismissed from the Sanctuary to their classes. Parents are expected to pick up children in grades Prek- 3 when the worship service is over, or 11:30 if the services run longer. Older children will be dismissed by their teachers and can join their families in the Vestry, our coffee hour space. 

Snacks will be offered to the children, which will be eaten outdoors while the weather cooperates. Gluten free and vegan options will be available.

 

We’re RE-Working How to Keep Our Young People Safe!

Here’s what we are doing to keep our children and youth as safe as possible at our church:

  • Outdoor activities during class time when weather allows
  • All RE Volunteers will be required to show proof of vaccination
  • Masks are not required. However, we respect and support anyone who chooses to wear one
  • Hand Sanitizer dispensers will be available in all classroom spaces and in the church hallways
  • Classrooms will be well ventilated
  • Following UUA safe congregations protocols means that two volunteers will be with our children at all times.  Volunteer teachers in the RE program are required to agree to background checks.

If Your Child is Sick…

During this time we ask families to follow the same guidelines as being used in the Arlington Public Schools for assessing whether or not a child should attend RE programs. Please monitor your child for symptoms such as:  fever (100ºF or higher), dry cough and shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea/vomiting/diarrhea. Even if you suspect that this is just a cold, we ask that you refrain from bringing your child to church until 24 hours after symptoms pass.

We want to support your family should you have a sick child or family member. Please contact our Director of Religious Education at Tina@FirstParish.info

 

We’re RE- Establishing Youth Programming!

Our Youth Group – The High School Youth Group is held weekly on Sunday evenings, from 7-8:30 pm.  We follow a model of teen empowerment and the youth elect officers each year. They, together with returning Youth Group Coordinator Rose Sawyer Marsh, and veteran adult youth advisors, collaborate to create a program comprising community building, spirituality, worship, social justice and outreach,  and having fun. 

They will begin their year with a picnic, a special gathering for freshmen, and a parent orientation.

To learn more please contact Rose@firstparish.info

Our Whole Lives (OWL) Sexuality Education: The course for those in the 8th grade is full. Another class will be offered for our current 7th graders beginning in March. Those unable to join the class this fall and were put on a wait list will be added to the class roster for spring.

Upcoming Events

September will be a month of discernment for the RE task force as we gather information. We will continue to access our plans for grade combinations, room assignments and outdoor activities.

The Nursery will be open for babies and toddlers every week.

PreK, a class for 3 and 4s, will be making friends and sharing stories, art activities and music.

Grades K/1 will talk about Faith, Rituals and Mystery, while being creative and having fun.

Grades 2/3 will explore our Interconnected Relationship with the Web of Life, go outside every week, and discuss the changing seasons in relationship to spirituality and the holy.

Grades 4/5 will learn about important people and events from Hebrew Stories of the Bible. Together they will read, do role plays, games and become familiar with those ancient folks.

Grades 6/7 will begin a comparative theology course called Neighboring Faiths. They will learn more about world religions and travel to places of worship to experience various rituals and worship services. 

Please reach out to us to learn more! Our staff is here to answer your questions, either in person on Sunday mornings or via email or phone. 

Tina Schultz, Director of Religious Education: Tina@firstparish.info

Rowan Wheeler, Religious Education Assistant: Rowan@firstparish.info

Rose Sawyer: Youth Group Coordinator: Rose@firstparish.info

RE Committee (Chair, Ellen Robie): RE@firstparish.info

Please know you and yours are most welcome here! 

Yours in Faith,

Tina Schultz

Director of Religious Education


Children’s Programs

 The RE program at First Parish creates a place where children learn and discuss liberal religious values, create lasting friendships, and foster a strong sense of community to help them navigate life in our challenging time. Adults and children together discuss the big questions of life and ponder spiritual issues. Children make friends of all ages for life, learn to care about others, and grow spiritually and emotionally. Our hope is to raise children to act beyond the church doors with open minds, loving hearts, and helping hands

Our RE classes are full of music, art, stories, and dance. During the fall, winter, and spring terms, our children are exposed to a variety of interesting topics and are challenged to take the values they learned on Sunday mornings back to their homes, schools, and playgrounds.

Click here to see an overview of our RE curriculum, from pre-K through grade 8.

If you are new to First Parish please see our FAQs.

Members of the Religious Education Committee and I are always glad to hear your thoughts about the program. If you have any questions, or would like to schedule a visit, please contact me at 781/648-3799 ext. 5, or e-mail tina @ firstparish.info.

I look forward to a wonderful year with you and your children.

Tina Schultz
RE Director

From RE Guidelines:

The purpose of this church is to grow in love, understanding of truth, and service to one another in the world. 

Our mission is to live out this purpose in a religious community that is always open, loving, and accepting to those who share our purpose, principles, and values. 

To accomplish our mission, we covenant for ourselves and our children: 

  • To gather in recognition and celebration of our diversity, uniting the vision of love, truth, and justice offered by our Unitarian Universalist faith
  • To seek and encourage a deepening spiritual faith
  • To nurture and love one another through collective worship and meditation, exploring the mysteries and struggles of life, celebrating life’s passages, sharing our talents and resources, and examining and reinforcing the values by which we act.  
  • Thus, we promise to care for one another, for the people of the world, and for the earth. 

Being in Community Together

This is a cooperative church school, and we don’t charge for our morning RE program.

Our RE teachers are volunteers, and most are not education professionals, though all are committed to the spiritual growth of our children. Parents are encouraged to teach in our program after attending First Parish for one year.

First Parish members are strongly encouraged to pledge or donate toward the maintenance of our church.

Here are some other ways to contribute your time and energy to our Sunday morning and evening programs.:

  • Assist with a One-Room Sunday School
  • Share your skills—as a musician, artist, baker, storyteller, field trip driver, etc.
  • Act as a Youth Group Advisor on Sunday evenings
  • Be a mentor for our Coming of Age program
  • Take part in Time for All Ages
  • Volunteer to help in the RE Office with administrative needs

Contact DRE (Director of Religious Education) Tina Schultz for more info.