Welcome to the Children’s Education Program at the Unitarian Church of Vancouver! Our core program for children takes place during the 11 am Sunday Morning service.
We aspire to have our program:
- Engage the body, brain and soul
- Make story, music, movement and mindfulness a regular part of our lives
- Create a safe place to explore life’s big questions at every age.
- Share insights, passion, and wisdom with each other: children, adults, and youth.
- Create a sense of belonging, worth, and groundedness within Unitarian community.
- Connect with and celebrate nature
- Learn about diverse perspectives—in faith traditions, in ethics, in personal beliefs.
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Download FALL 2016 Program Calendar:
|Date:||March 21, 2017|
Up to 3-years-old – Childcare
Childcare is available and is provided by two trained and paid staff. The childcare room is on the main floor of Hewett Centre.
Sunday Program Components
Our program for ages 3-12 consists of a core curriculum for each age group punctuated by special events, garden days, and fellowship with each other, youth, and adults.
3-5 years old: Chalice Children
For the 2015-16 church school year, beginning in September, children entering preschool or kindergarten will be exploring their sense of wonder and respect for the world through this Tapestry of Faith program. Through art, story, play, and friendship children will grow their sense of belonging to the congregation, celebrate the diversity of families, individuals, and ways of being in the world, learn the importance of sharing and expressing love, and develop hope for a just and fair world.
6-8, and 9-12 years old:Celebrating Our Origins in the Universe
“We all evolved from the dust of exploded stars!” Our understanding of Cosmology is our Creation Story of the 21st century. This class is the product of putting two Unitarians, one a cosmologist (and UU minister) and the other an early childhood educator, together. Our early and late elementary school age children will concurrently explore the origins of the Universe, the Earth, and human beings on the Earth. Each week we will learn about different aspects of cosmology and evolution. We will be actively engaged in exploration and discovery even planning our own experiments. We will be organizing a family star gazing field trip at some opportune time of the fall or winter!
Themes for All Ages
Many people find balance and harmony in life through a mind-body-spirit practice, such as yoga or meditation. These practices build richness into our day, and serve as touchstones in moments of stress. What better time to learn centering than when we’re young? We’ll explore yoga for children, simple blessings, guided visualizations and mindfulness practice.
Festivals and Fellowship
Each faith has its own festivals and observances, and their stories and rituals help us experience and understand many ways of being. Each month we will be taking opportunities to come together in fellowship. To explore the importance and meaning of ceremony, to commune together, to deepen our ability to find meaning, peace, and moments of stillness in our busy lives. We will connect with each other, the larger church community, and with the natural world. We will explore thankfulness, ancestors, labyrinths, solstice and more.
Into the Garden
Throughout the year you’ll find us outside in the children’s garden. We’ll plan, plant, tend, harvest, eat and save seeds from our own vegetables and flowers, with help from experienced garden mentors. We’ll sharpen our observation skills, develop a profound sense of seasons, cycles, and ecosystems, and enjoy the abundance and marvelous design of nature. And we’ll practice meaningful leadership by contributing food and flowers to service initiatives, and by growing a garden that is inviting and educational to all.
Sunday Tea with the DRE
I am initiating a new quarterly post-service gathering in the Fireside Room forum. This will be a chance for parents, children and youth to connect more directly about how life at church is going, family needs and concerns, interests, and idea sharing. It is an informal time to get to know each other more fully. We will provide tea/coffee, snacks, and extended childcare for the younger ones—outside when weather permits. You can save the dates already! September 11th, January 29th, and June 5th—after the service.
Messy Church MAKE Dinner
Messy Church has become a beloved tradition over the past two years and it will be continuing. The second Friday of each month from 6pm-9pm (cooking and set-up start at 5pm) we will meet to eat together, play, sing, create, and take-apart together. The child care room is staffed, so parents have an opportunity to relax and connect together while the kids play. Our first date is September 9th: Summer Harvest Pizza and Salad.
The Sunday programs are generously funded by our churchcommunity, parent donations and volunteer time. Drop-ins are always welcome, but if you like what we’re doing please register with us. Registration helps us get to know you, keep you in the loop and provide a program suited to our registrants. If you choose to support the programs with a donation, or an offer of your time, these are most welcome. Click the button below to send a fillable pdf directly to Kiersten, or pick up a paper packet on Sunday to complete.
Our Religious Exploration program depends on volunteers to help bring it fully to life. Connections across generations are valuable for everyone involved as we journey together on our search for truth and meaning. Volunteers are welcomed at many levels of commitment. For teachers, class curriculum, teacher orientation and support is provided by the DRE. Ideas for special projects or workshops are welcomed. Thank you for journeying with our children and youth—may everyone involved find fun in meaning!
For New Families and Children
Our children’s Religious Education program classrooms are downstairs in Hewett Centre.
Parents and/or guardians of children under 4 years old, please sign your children in with our childcare providers in the childcare room on the main floor of Hewett Centre, anytime after 10:45 am on Sundays. We ask that the same family member who signed your children in also pick up directly after the church service.
A typical Sunday begins with adults and children proceeding to the sanctuary. After opening words, greeting our neighbours, and an opening hymn, the children are invited up to the front to listen to a story for all ages. Following the story, the children are sung out of the sanctuary and proceed to their various classes, all located across the courtyard in the Hewett Centre.
On your first visit, you may wish to accompany your children to their classrooms and introduce them to their teachers. You can then return to the service whenever you and your children feel ready. Please feel free to stay with the children’s program if that feels best to you.
After the worship service, please pick up your children in the Hewett Centre, lower level.
We also have occasional intergenerational services where adults and children all attend church together. On these days, there will be no children programs, but child care for those 3 and under will still be available.
For More Information
The Director of Religious Education sets the overall direction of the Children and Youth programs, with supervision from the Minister and input from colleagues, parents and the congregation. Providing quality programs takes the work of many hands and we rely on the assistance of parents and other interested adults.
For more information about children and youth programs, please Email Kiersten Moore, Director of Religious Education, or phone her at 604.261.7204 x225
If you are interested in the following paid positions in our Children’s or Youth programs, we would love to talk to you.
- Religious Education Preschool Teacher (ages 3-6) in our Children’s program, click link below for details.
- Childcare Workers (infant-toddler) in our Children’s program, click link below for details.
Our parents speak
“It’s a great pleasure to see our children growing up with a keen sense of social justice and compassion, as well as a natural curiosity about different cultures and religions. The Unitarian Children’s Education program has helped to nurture those values.”
“The church school exposes my children to a wide variety of ideas about, and an understanding of, the breadth of religious experience. They learn a genuine tolerance for other points of view, to find their own path, and how to live an ethical life. They are becoming fine human beings.”