Religious Education Curriculum
Preschool and Nursery
There are two years of curricula for Preschoolers, both designed to engage them in the challenges and wonders of the world in which we live. There is also a subtler goal of reinforcing our children’s awareness of being connected to things greater than themselves. Core topics like our UU faith, diversity, tolerance, the Golden Rule, ecology, and service to others are explored each year. Additionally, one year’s lessons focus on moral development… feelings and behaviors like anger, forgiveness, no tattling, responsibility, etc. Another year’s curriculum explores things that are wonderful in our world, such as the moon and stars and the feelings of joyful mystery they inspire in us, thereby stoking our children’s innate sense of reverence.
Our curriculum was developed over a period of many years. We aim to foster religious literacy (facts and concepts about religion), spiritual engagement (spiritual practices such as prayer, meditation, service to others, worship), and moral competence (how to make difficult decisions and take action based on your beliefs). The curriculum is based on congregational input, awareness of different learning styles, our UU principles and traditions, and finally, curricula developed by the Unitarian Universalist Association.
Each church year has an overall theme. An example theme from a past year is “Leadership and Responsibility.” Each church year is also divided up into five smaller topics, or “rotations.” A sample year’s rotations are:
Spiritual Leaders (Sept./Oct.)
Moral Teachings (Nov./Dec.)
Influential Unitarian Universalists (Jan./ Feb.)
Family and Community Responsibilities (March/April)
Civic Duty (May/June)
During each theme, or “rotation,” BUC’s kids participate in four different workshops. Possible workshops might be history, drama, cooking, storytelling, games, science, art, bookmaking, riddles, and more. Every class involves a moment of contemplation as well as a time for sharing joys and sorrows as a community.
Middle School -- 6th & 7th Grade
Each two-year rotation includes an exploration of Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and both Catholic and Protestant Christianity, as well as other less-common faiths. We use guest speakers, field trips, crafts, and cultural enrichment (including books, pictures, artifacts, music, and food) to enhance classroom instruction. We welcome the support and input of families and individuals who have a background in any of the faith traditions that we are studying!
6th & 7th graders also participate in the UFO (Unitarian Friendship Organization), an introductory youth group for middle schoolers that takes place outside of regular Sunday morning classes.
8th Grade -- Coming of Age Year
Our Whole Lives (OWL) is a comprehensive human sexuality curriculum which emphasizes respect, positive interaction, communication, safety, and accurate information. Our philosophy is that all people should have these skills in order to make informed decisions about the relationships in which they will involve themselves, both sexual and otherwise.
The Right of Passage Experience (ROPE) program requires a great deal of thought on the part of the participants. Through a series of class discussions, interviews with family and church members, social events, and the UU Heritage trip to Boston, the youth are encouraged to explore their own ideas about God, religion, and setting one’s path in life. The goal is to help young people grow into adults who are spiritually whole and who can use their religious beliefs to guide them through good and bad times in life.
High School & GUUSH
The High School program is designed to nurture people for whom respect of all things is primary, and acting on one’s principles is inevitable. To this end, the high-school classes work on a rotation model complementing and rounding out the BUC Elementary and Middle School curricular programs. Themes guiding the four years are:
Truth, Ethics, and Responsibility
The High School Sunday Morning curricular program is a synthesis of youth input as well as UUA curricula adapted for use in our classes. Youth have an engaging and inspiring Sunday morning experience, exploring in more detail issues affecting religious practice, living an ethical life, sources of knowledge and beliefs, UU identity, and concerns affecting youth’s lives. The High School class meets every Sunday morning during our service. GUUSH (the Great Unitarian Universalist Senior High youth group) provides our liberal religious youth with opportunities to share ideas, worship, socialize, and grow. Social action projects and fun events outside of the Sunday evening meetings are important, and regional youth conferences and workshops offer additional opportunities for youth to make connections beyond the BUC community and to develop leadership, social justice, and other skills.