Children's Religious Education at USNH New Haven

USNH Logo 2017

The Unitarian Society of New Haven provides an inspiring and engaging Children’s Religious Education program.

We offer children’s religious education classes each Sunday for children in preschool through high school, focused on age-appropriate exploration and expression of oneself, the world, Unitarian Universalism and world religions (nursery care for babies and toddlers is also provided).

Our religious education curricula follow an alternating year cycle, since most classes are multi-age.  In year “A” classes focus in on UU identity, history and values. In year “B” we explore the sources of Unitarian Universalism, including our Jewish-Christian heritage and other “neighboring faiths”, science and mystery.  2017-2018 is a “B” year.

Click here for the registration form to enroll a young person in RE classes for 2017-2018.

2017-2018 Children’s Religious Education Course Descriptions (classes begin September 10)

9 – 9:45 a.m. A Lamp in Every Corner – A story telling workshop series for grades K-7.  Led by Jesse Greist, with monthly guest story tellers.

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10:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Pre-Kindergarten through 8th grade Religious Education classes (first 15 mins. all ages in main sanctuary)

Nursery and Pre-KNursery at USNH Children's Religious Education

Nursery care for children from birth through age four age is available every Sunday, year-round.  The nursery is staffed by certified providers and is a warm and welcoming place.  Childcare is provided for meetings and many events outside of normal service time.  Monthly Pre-K classes are provided by volunteers, using “Celebrating Me and My World“, a Unitarian Universalist curriculum.

Children’s Chapel

Children's Chapel at USNH Children's Religious EducationOne Sunday each month, we gather in the Children’s Chapel for shared worship.  Children in Pre-K through 5th grade participate, while 6-12 graders hold classes as usual.  The goal of these chapels is for our children to learn and enjoy the process and elements of worship through sharing  joys and concerns, meditative readings, exploration of the seven UU principles and the six sources from which our faith is drawn, interactive activities and occasional guest speakers on social justice topics. We welcome parents to join us!

The picture above shows Jesse Greist, Director of Lifespan Religious Education leading a discussion during a chapel service.

Sunday Morning Classes – Gather in the Sanctuary at 10:30 a.m.

(children are in classes from 10:45 – 11:45 a.m.)

Kindergarten and 1st Grade: Picture Book World Religions and Bible TalesUSNH Children's Religious Education

An introduction to the iconic stories that serve as teaching vehicles for Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Islamic, and Buddhist tenets.  The stories are read and discussed through the lens of how each tale has shaped our Unitarian Universalist identity, morality and beliefs.

2nd and 3rd grades: Super Heroes – Bible People 

good sam

This curriculum Introduces stories of people from the Bible who have acted with courage and wisdom. Moses, King David. King Solomon, Mary and Joseph, Jesus and John the Baptist, Joseph, Queen Esther.  The children are invited to act out many of these stories, and reflect on their enduring lessons and connections to Unitarian Universalist principles and values.

4th and 5th Grade: Bibleodeon and Beyond

USNH Children's Religious Education

Participants in this class don’t just read, but experience great stories of the Hebrew and Christian bibles. They encounter a crime scene that tells the story of Cain and Abel, and face down the temptation of candy.  They conduct a “Bible Women’s Awards” Night. They construct masks of animals that didn’t make it onto the ark, and build living sculptures. They perform 11 provided playlets.

Middle School

6th and 7th: Neighboring Faiths

The Neighboring Faiths program is a year-long exploration of Religions of the World in general, and our Southern Connecticut neighborhood in particular.  Each religious tradition is explored over three sessions:  an introductory session in which invited guests or class facilitators introduce the main beliefs of the faith tradition.  This session is followed by a “field trip” to that faith’s house of worship.  The third sessions focuses on reflection and connection to our own Unitarian Universalist faith development.

Affirmations Year: A “Coming of Age” Program (8th Grade)

Affirmations Class 8th Grade USNH Children's Religious Education

Affirmations is a special, yearlong coming-of-age course created especially by the Unitarian Society of New Haven.

Eighth graders are encouraged to fully engage in their own free and responsible search for truth and meaning as well as develop their personal understandings and connections to Unitarian Universalism. As a capstone experience, the class attends a study trip to Boston, to see the headquarters of the UUA and other monuments of our faith, and leads a worship service in the spring.

Our Children’s Religious Education Electives

Children’s Choir — For children of all ages, conducted by Jeffrey Douma and Erika Schroth, our Directors of Music.

Our Whole Lives – Every two years, we run three special courses on Sunday mornings for grades K-1, Grades 4-5 and Grades 7-9, which will focus on human growth, development, sexuality, self-esteem and developing friendships/relationships.  These classes, called Our Whole Lives (or OWL for short) use a curriculum developed by the Unitarian Universalist Association together with the United Church of Christ.  We will offer Our Whole Lives classes for 8-9th grades only in the 2017-2018 congregational year.

More than just Sunday School

We also offer a variety of age-specific and multi-generational social events, social justice projects, and worship opportunities for both our congregation and the public.  Be sure to sign up for the USNH newsletter to hear about these and other events and opportunities!