The Unitarian Society of New Haven provides an inspiring and engaging religious education program for children of all ages. We offer Sunday classes 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 pre-schoolers is also provided). We also offer a variety of age-specific and multi-generational social events, social action projects, and worship opportunities for both our congregation and the public. Scroll down to see brief descriptions of our classes for various ages, and check our website regularly to see what’s going on in our CYRE program!
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”. 2015-2016 is a “B” year.
Click here for the registration form to enroll a young person in RE classes for 2015-2016.
2015-2016 Children’s Religious Education Course Descriptions
Children’s and Youth Religious Education classes are offered every Sunday from September 27th through May 22nd during the both services and in the afternoon. Program times are:
9:15-10:30 Spirit Play for children in pre-K- seventh grade.
11:15am-12:30pm Kindergarten through 8th grade Religious Education classes
1:00-3:00 pm Grades 9-12 YRUU (Youth Group)
Nursery for Infants and Toddlers
Nursery for babies and pre-schoolers is available from 9:15am-12:30pm every Sunday, year-round. The nursery is staffed by trained providers and is a warm and welcoming place.
One 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. We intend 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 which our faith draws from, interactive activities and occasional guest speakers on social justice matters. We welcome parents to join us!
The pictures at left show our Director of Religious Education leading an opening hymn during a chapel service, and a child making “Nature Art” during one of our summer chapels.
Sunday Morning Classes – Gather in the Sanctuary at 11:15 am
(children are in classes from 11:30-12:30)
Kindergarten and 1st Grade: Picture Book World Religions
2nd and 3rd grade: Super Heroes: Bible People
A values-based curriculum for Unitarian Universalist children
In a world where so often “might makes right” and at an age when they are beginning to form values that will take them through their lives, your children are about to meet super heroes from the Bible who were, as the curriculum theme song states, “powerful with brains and even stronger in [their] heart[s].”
The goals of Super Heroes – Bible People are:
To introduce children to the stories of people from the Bible who have acted with courage and wisdom in their attempts to lead their lives fully and make the world a better place for others
To show how the lives of these people confirm the principles which we, as Unitarian Universalists, strive to promote
To encourage the children to lead their own lives fully and to use their own positive “super powers” as they interact with the world around them, and as they do so, to grow both spiritually and ethically.
4th and 5th Grade: Bibleodeon
What might you see if you enter a Bibleodeon room midway through the program year? Perhaps an adult Moses is challenging the group by demanding that members replace their class covenant with laws from on high. On the walls are works of Bibleodeon wall art made by the group and growing around the room into an illustrated timeline of Bible stories. In the center of the room is a pulpit Bible next to the Bibleodeon microphone the kids sometimes use as reporters covering Bible stories. A sign announces the Mystery of the Day: When should we lead and when should we follow? Craft projects referencing various Bible stories are scattered here and there. On a counter are piles of Bibles and doodle books. And all around the room are happy, involved kids and teachers.
6th and 7th: Neighboring Faiths
Neighboring Faiths explores religious diversity in our world through in-class discussions and readings, followed by visits to other faith communities and shared worship opportunities within those communities.
The exploration of each faith tradition, begins with at least 2 class sessions devoted to exploring the faith’s basic tenets and receiving occasional visitors who help jump-start conversations. The youth then visit one of that faith’s local CT houses of worship, and follow up with a closing class which allows them to discuss and reflect on these experiences.
- Clarifies UU values and personal beliefs through a better understanding of the beliefs of others from Atheist to Humanist to devout religious practitioner.
- Religions explored include: UU, Judaism, Islam, Christianity (including: Baptist, Catholic, Lutheran), Hindu, Buddhist, and Earth -based religions, among others.
Affirmations Year: A “Coming of Age” Program (8th Grade)
A special year-long coming of age course created especially by the Unitarian Society of New Haven. 8th 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 UU. As a capstone experience, the class attends a study trip to Boston, MA, to see the headquarters of the UUA and other monuments of our faith.
Click here to visit our Youth programs page for updated information about High School offerings!
Children’s Choir — For children of all ages, conducted by Linda Pawelek, our Director of Music.
Every two years, we will run three special courses on Sunday mornings for grades K-1, Grades 4-5 and Grades 7-8, 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 next offer Our Whole Lives classes in the 2016-2017 congregational year.