Children

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Welcome to Faith Development for Children at Main Line Unitarian Church. We offer classes on Sunday mornings year round (age grouped from September through June, one-room schoolhouse in July and August) at 10:00 a.m. Our Faith Development programs seek to:

Develop Unitarian Universalists who are fully functioning religious beings engaged in honest dialogue, lifelong learning, and exploration of self and world
Sustain strong families and create multigenerational relationships that value all
Invite and promote questioning, curiosity, and religious freedom

Changes are occasionally made on Sundays to accommodate the population in attendance. Subscribe to E-Notes to hear about updates or changes. 

Each Sunday service includes a Story for All Ages, when teachers, children, and families are together with the rest of the community for a portion of our Sunday worship in the sanctuary. This is a special time when younger members of our community are brought into the circle of those gathered to worship in the manner of Unitarian Universalist congregations—becoming familiar with the traditions and rituals of our faith. We encourage families to bring children to a Story for All Ages at an early age.

Children are welcome to use activity packets (found outside the sanctuary doors) to keep hands busy and minds alert. Nursery care is available for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers during this time. After a Story for All Ages, the congregation sings to the teachers and children as they depart for their classes.


2017-18 Children’s Faith Development Calendar

First, third, and fourth Sundays: Story for All Ages in the sanctuary, then RE classes

Second Sundays: Story for All Ages, then 6th-9th to class. PreK-5th to Faith in Action, in the McGinness Room

Fifth Sundays, when they occur: Story for All Ages in the sanctuary, then RE classes

*Note: There are several special Sundays when we have Multigenerational Worship—during these Sundays families stay together in the sanctuary throughout the service. Check E-Notes for schedule changes. 


2017-18 Children’s Faith Development Curricula

Pre-K for 3 and 4-year-olds
The Rainbow Connection
A central concept of Unitarian Universalism is the seven Principles that all congregations affirm and promote. These Principles are considered to be strong values and moral guides that each of us may use to guide our lives. Although preschool children are too young to memorize the Principles, we can begin to acquaint them with the ideas behind the Principles. We can focus on the values inherent in each. The Rainbow Connection uses story books for preschoolers to discuss those values that unite us as UUs. Because socialization and comfort are important goals for this age, each class contains a fun craft project, time for song and games, and time for free play with friends.

Kindergarten & 1st Grade
Spirit Play
Based on the work of Maria Montessori and Jerome Berryman, UU religious educators have adapted their ideas into a unique learning environment called Spirit Play. Each session is based around a shared story. Through story, our children learn about Unitarian Universalism and its history, and develop an underlying sense of the spiritual and the mystery of life. Wondering questions and hands-on exploration encourage independent thinking. This class creates community for the children by learning and socializing together and becoming friends.

Kindergarten and 1st Grade, 11:30 a.m. (after services in Winter)
Our Whole Lives (OWL)
Our Whole Lives is an award winning life span curriculum which helps parents in their jobs as primary sexuality educators. At this age level OWL focuses on proper names for body parts, differences between genders and ends with a basic understanding of where babies come from. Parents are included through home links in all that is explored with the kids—opening opportunities for healthy conversations with our young children about personal safety.

2nd & 3rd Grade
Spirit Play
Based on the work of Maria Montessori and Jerome Berryman, UU religious educators have adapted their ideas into a unique learning environment called Spirit Play. Each session is based around a shared story. Through story, our children learn about Unitarian Universalism and its history, and develop an underlying sense of the spiritual and the mystery of life. Wondering questions and hands-on exploration encourage independent thinking. This class creates community for the children by learning and socializing together and becoming friends.

3rd Grade, 11:30 a.m. (after services in Spring)
Stepping Stones
This is a right of passage for our children in building their growing UU identity. Our Stepping Stones program helps them understand in more depth—the adventurous and creative Unitarians and Universalists whom have shared their talents with the world. At the end of this four-week program, they will be recognized in worship and have the opportunity to become an integral part of a worship service in the life of our congregation.

4th and 5th Grade
Harry and UU
Back by popular demand, Harry and UU is a social action curriculum for grades 4-5 based on J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books. Through the themes that are reflected in Harry Potter books that are closely related to the seven principles, children are immersed in the idea that one can work to make the world a better place. This curriculum has meaningful sources and projects that are relevant to children and in turn keeps them engaged.

4th and 5th Grade, 11:30 a.m. (after services in Winter, Spring)
Our Whole Lives (OWL)
This eight-session program helps fourth and fifth graders learn about and discuss the physical and emotional changes of puberty. Participants read along with their parents It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie H. Harris, which examines topics such as values and sexuality, communication and decision-making. Each session includes a HomeLink—a homework activity for parents and children to complete together.

6th and 7th Grade (and 8th that are not in OWL)
Neighboring Faiths
This curriculum explores the history and development of different faith traditions through a religious journey around the world and close to home. Participants plan their own program by choosing which religious groups to learn about, visit, and relate to their own growing UUism. They compare and contrast ideas about God, symbols, sources of authority, prophets and leaders, holy days, beliefs and practices, as well as social service. Neighboring Faiths encourages acceptance by fostering first-hand experience and dialogue with different religious communities, including Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and earth-based spirituality.

8th Grade
Our Whole Lives (OWL)
Eighth grade OWL is a comprehensive sexuality education program that includes age-appropriate information about human development, relationships, personal skills, sexual behavior, sexual health, and society and culture. It’s grounded in a holistic view of sexuality, addressing not only the physical components, but the spiritual, emotional and cultural sides as well. Instructors are required to attend OWL teacher training. Parents are required to attend a parent orientation meeting in September. Youth are expected to attend each weekly class.

9th Grade
Coming of Age (COA)
Coming of Age has been redesigned for MLUC 9th graders, in recognition that they are at the beginning of a journey—able to reflect on all they have learned, while investigating and defining their own beliefs. This program invites students to deepen their understanding of UUism and their knowledge of MLUC, and to begin a contemplative process around their own spirituality. The COA year includes opportunities for service, fellowship, fun, and adventure. Activities on both Sunday mornings and at other times engage youth in a process that culminates in the creation of personal credos (from the Latin: “what I set my heart to”).

In the spring, a special youth-led service celebrates a unique threshold in their spiritual journey, when youth are ready to share their own credos with the larger congregation. This program requires a high level of commitment by parents and youth and regular participation is essential.

COA also includes for the second time, a special program from the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia called Walking the Walk (WTW). WTW is a nationally-recognized initiative that provides teenagers with experiences, skills, and resources necessary to live in a diverse world, deepen their own identities, and break through walls that distance and divide them from people of other religious, cultural, and economic backgrounds.

Interested in evening Youth Groups for Grades 7-12? View our Youth page for details.


Childcare on Sundays

Nursery care is available on Sundays for babies and toddlers. We encourage families to bring children to as much of our time together in the Main Meeting Room as possible, but children in Pre-K are also welcome in the nursery during a Story for All Ages and Multigenerational Worship. Contact .