The 6th-8th grade youth are forming their very own Junior Youth Group. The group’s goals are community building, service, and fun. Youth in the group are taking on leadership roles as they help plan and facilitate events and activities, and parent adults are supervising and assisting. From our perspective, helping kids connect deeply to church peers and take on meaningful roles and responsibilities for their group is a great way to help them see why we adults choose to commit to a faith community! We all like to connect and to serve. We also hope that deepening connections at this age will carry over to a more engaged Coming of Age class and Senior Youth Group and help families of this age group become closer.
Our brand new program for K-5th grade is off and running, with great things happening on Sunday mornings – storytelling, art, contemplation, science/technology, drama, and music and movement! It looks and feels different than the Sunday School experience of the past, mostly because we are integrating what we know about what works in educating kids (freedom to move about, create, think out of the box, and engage in participatory, hands-on learning) with what we know works for volunteers (shorter time commitments, plugging in where your interest and energy is). Now we are in the process of fine tuning our well-laid plans and assessing how our program is working for all involved, especially the 4th and 5th graders. It’s great to be seeing the successes of this BIG program shift, but we are not done yet. We welcome your feedback as we strive to create opportunities for meaningful faith development in our ministry of religious education.
Joy Berry, our Director of Lifespan Religious Education, was honored to be asked by the UUA to lead two live webinars recently, meant to teach faith development professionals about contemplative practices appropriate for RE classrooms, worship activity packs, or in the home. Joy’s session reviewed the neuroscience explaining how hand work (like sewing) promotes feelings of calm and focus, and relieves stress and depression for all ages. (By the way, we are using much of the new science around surround children’s hearts and minds in our new Spirit Play program for K-5th grade!) Anyone can view the archived video and PDF here; it should be up in the next few days.
Check out the pictures below to see what we’re up to in the Lifespan Religious Education department!