Tuesday, September 30, 2014

YRU2 October Events

YRU2 Youth Group Update
This Sunday, October 5th, the YRU2 High School youth group will be meeting at the Unitarian Universalist Church at 90 Holden Street at 6:00 – 7:00 pm to attend the Soulful Sundown Service.  From 7:00 – 8:30 pm the YRU2 youth group and the UU Youth Group will have a joint gathering of pizza and games.  This is a great opportunity for all youth in grades 8-12.
Also, on October 4th at 6:00 pm, all youth in grades 7-12, and all adults, are invited to attend a movie screening of “A Place We Can Call Home” at the Unitarian Universalist Church at 90 Holden St. in Worcester. 
"A Place We Can Call Home" captures the story of three youth who journeyed from three different continents to live in the United States.  As young people living in Worcester, Massachusetts they confront the same joys and hardships of teenagers anywhere in the United States, but these youth face additional challenges as immigrants.  This film, conceived, written and produced by youth, brings young people's realities and perspectives to the national debate on immigration.  This film screening is free and open to the public.

YRU2 meets every Sunday evening from 6:00 – 8:00 pm in the Youth Lounge and is open to all youth in grades 9-12.  For more information contact Lesa McWalters, Youth Ministries Coordinator, at lmcwalters@firstunitarian.com or by calling the church.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Faith Development Classes Begin This Sunday!


I hope all our families who spent the weekend at Ferry Beach had an excellent retreat. We had a small group here who went to the kitchen for a web of life story, a bursting experiment, and a service project. We also enjoyed seeing some of you a couple weeks ago for our welcome back Water Communion in the Children’s Chapel.

Faith Development Classes begin this Sunday.


You do not need to re-register your child if you have done so previously. However, if your child has a new medical condition or allergy, please make sure to let me know. This is important for your child’s safety! Also many of our classes and stories deal with major life issues. If your child has had a major development in his or her life during the past year, such as the birth of a sibling, death of a loved one, wedding of a parent, divorce of a parent, etc. I would ask that you let me know, so that your child’s teachers can especially sensitive if the subject come up. Also feel free to contact me with any questions. I can be reached at ahannaford-ricardi@firstunitarian.com or by calling the church office 508-757-2708 and asking for me or leaving me a message at extension 106.

We have exciting plans for this year. We are blessed with an extremely dedicated and energetic Faith Development Team, as well as many volunteer teachers, advisors and family greeters.  Plus, next month we expect to welcome a new Acting Director of Faith Development.
I hope to see you this Sunday.

Sincerely,

Abigail Hannaford-Ricardi

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Curricula 2015-2016


Curricula 2015-2016

Room for our tiniest ones
Nursery for infants to 3 years of age
10:15 AM – 12 Noon and for some special events and meetings
Room 3 Lower Level

First Unitarian provides childcare for newborn children through three years of age. Our Nursery staff consist of a dedicated team of paid care providers to offer children a safe and nurturing environment where they can have fun, play together and learn. Parents are warmly welcome in the Nursery; in fact, their presence is at times recommended, especially if it is the first time your child attends our Nursery. Families using the nursery are asked to sign in before leaving their child, and to sign out when they are picking up their child. 

Parent & Child Quiet Space
Available during Worship Services
Room 7 Lower Level

We value and welcome children in our sanctuary, but you have options: If you have a young child who is not ready to be separated from you, this is a quiet space available during worship services for nursing or safe baby play time. There is a speaker system in place so that you can tune into the worship service while still seeing to your child’s needs. No child should be left unattended in this space.  A changing table is available in the youth bathroom.


Preschool (ages 3-4)
Spirit Play I     The Promises
Children begin in the service. After Time for All Ages, the children and teachers go to classrooms. 
Parents pick up at the classroom at 11:45 AM.
Room 6 Lower Level

Spirit Play is a Montessori-based program designed specifically for Unitarian Universalists. It is a unique program which follows a set structure.  The program encourages students to explore creatively, think independently, and develop a sense of ritual and sacred space. Spirit Play is a way of learning and experiencing spirituality in a meaningful setting where every aspect of the class is imbued with sacred significance.

Spirit Play I, our program for 3 and 4 year olds, is the first of three Spirit Play programs. SP I focuses on the Seven UU Principles and our liturgical year through story and work time. In this class, the principles are called the “Seven Promises” and we use language children understand. Story baskets are filled with tools of exploration. Art projects are also included.

Please see the Family’s Guide to Spirit Play

Kindergarten and 1st grade
Spirit Play II     The Sources
Children begin in the service. After Time for All Ages, the children and teachers go to classrooms. 
Parents pick up at the classroom at 11:45 AM.
Room 4 Lower Level

Spirit Play is a Montessori-based program designed specifically for Unitarian Universalists. It is a unique program which follows a set structure.  The program encourages students to explore creatively, think independently, and develop a sense of ritual and sacred space. Spirit Play is a way of learning and experiencing spirituality in a meaningful setting where every aspect of the class is imbued with sacred significance.   
Spirit Play II, our program for first and second grade students, is the second of three Spirit Play programs.  SPII encourages critical thinking, and a sense of spirituality through cooperative independent work time as chosen by the children. SP II focuses on the Six Unitarian Universalist Sources:
Wonder and Awe: Stories of the Mystery that some people call God
                        Beginnings and Endings
                        Sacred Places
                        Church Corner or Altar Table
                        Ways to Pray
Heroes and Heroines (Prophetic Women and Men)
World Religion Stories and Lessons
Judeo-Christian Stories
Stories based in Science and Humanism
Stories of our Interdependent Web/ Earth Centered Spiritualties

For more information please see the brief Family’s Guide to Spirit Play


2nd and 3rd Grade
Spirit Play III     Holidays and Holy Days
Children begin in the service. After Time for All Ages, the children and teachers go to classrooms. 
Parents pick up at the classroom at 11:45 AM.
Room 5 Lower Level

Holidays and Holy Days – the third Spirit Play program - is a Montessori-based program designed specifically for Unitarian Universalists.
It is a unique program which follows a set structure.  The program encourages students to explore creatively, think independently, and develop a sense of ritual and sacred space. Spirit Play is a way of learning and experiencing spirituality in a meaningful setting where every aspect of the class is imbued with sacred significance.

Through exploring the various celebrations and traditions of the world religions, children are introduced to the variety of beliefs, symbols, rituals, and stories as well as our history and values. Each lesson is connected to an aspect of our Unitarian Universalist faith.

For more information please see the brief Family’s Guide to Spirit Play
  
4th and 5th Grade
Bibleodeon 
Children begin in the service. After Time for All Ages, the children and teachers go to classrooms. 
They are dismissed from the classroom at 11:45 AM.
Room 1 Lower Level

This is the second year of a two year cycle of Bible literacy classes. Following last year’s in depth look at the Old Testament Bible, this year focuses on the New Testament.
Jesus and his Kingdom of Equals introduces our 5th and 6th graders to an interpretation of the historical Jesus based on contemporary biblical research, principally from the Jesus Seminar. In thirty-three weekly lessons students experience an unfolding narrative of a Jewish reformer who saw through the hypocrisy and elitism of first-century Roman Palestine. This itinerant sage brought a message of affirmation and egalitarianism to oppressed and powerless Galileans and described a kingdom of love, not in the future but already present in the hearts of people. Drama, simulations, crafts including clay and weaving, songs, social service initiatives, and other creative hands-on activities reinforce values concerning such teachings as respect for all, sharing worldly goods, conflict resolution, and friendship.

6th through 8th Grade
D'oh God! 6th through 8th Grades
Youth begin in the service and leave the classroom at 11:45 AM.
Above Stage Classrooms through Unity Hall
Compass Points is a curriculum which guides adolescents on a yearlong spiritual journey with opportunities to explore their identities, their beliefs, their Unitarian Universalist faith, their relationships with others and their connections to the world.  Compass Points is designed for middle school youth groups and is often used in conjunction with coming of age programs.

The Goals of Compass Points are:
·         To help participants sort out their feelings about themselves and their world as they do the difficult work of starting to create their adult selves
·         To help them discover what they believe about life's big questions -- the nature of humanity and the divine, beliefs about life, death and faith
·          To help youth think independently, assume responsibility, make decisions, explore values and adopt the practice of radical hospitality
·          To guide participants in acquiring enough background in Unitarian Universalist history, polity and theology that they can know and express what it means to be a Unitarian Universalists
·          To help them understand that religious liberty is a hard-won legacy that continues to need protection


The Kaleidoscope Classroom
Multi Age
This class is specifically designed for children who fall on the PDD spectrum.

Class begins at 10:45 AM and lets out at 11:45 AM. Parents may choose to have their child attend the first 15 minutes of worship in the sanctuary, or they can spend that time with their child in the Parent & Child Quiet Space (The Bride’s Room # 7 on the Lower Level) before taking him or her to class.
Gather in Room 2 (by the elevator) Lower Level

First Unitarian is committed to addressing the needs of all the children in our program, and we strive to integrate children with special needs into our regular classes. If your child requires accommodations to ensure a successful experience, please let us know. We also recognize that sometimes typical classes may not be a good fit for a child.
The Faith Development Ministries program is thrilled to offer a new special needs ministry class on Sunday mornings that will provide an alternative to traditional FDM classes. This class is for children whose needs can be better met with more consistent leadership, additional staff, a more structured space, and a smaller group size. The Kaleidoscope Classroom will provide participants with an opportunity to engage in imaginative play, creative crafts and spiritual rituals led by nurturing and committed teachers who have specific skills and experience in working with children on the spectrum. If you are interesting in signing up your child for this class please talk with Abigail Hannaford-Ricardi, our Children’s Ministries Coordinator, or include information on your child’s registration form describing your child's special needs and how we can best meet his or her needs.


Youth Groups
BYKOTA – 6th-8th Grades
Our Junior High youth group meets on the first Sunday of each month from 9 a.m-10:00 a.m. In their meetings, they check-in with one another and plan for a variety of social activities and service projects, both in the church and in the community. BYKOTA meets in the “Bride’s Room” downstairs in the Sunday School wing. Youth entering 9th grade have the option of staying in the BYKOTA youth group or moving on to the YRU2 youth group.
  
 YRU2 – 9th-12th Grades
Our High School youth group meets each Sunday from 6:00 – 8:00 pm in the Youth Lounge located on the Mezzanine Level of the church. The YRU2 program is based on a balance of worship, youth-adult relations, community building, social action, learning, and leadership. They also get together for outside events, fundraisers, and retreats.  Youth in this age group are encouraged to attend or participate in worship services, and assist in other leadership roles within the church.