Jan 8: In With the New

This week we resumed our classes with all new lessons. The K-2nd and 3rd-6th graders began their new unit on the Judaeo-Christian roots of Unitarian Universalism, the preschoolers continued their Chalice Children curriculum with new lessons, and the infants and toddlers engaged in a new theme.

In the 3rd-6th grade classroom, we began our study of the Judaeo-Christian roots of Unitarian Universalism by discussing the story of Adam and Eve. Larry was home recuperating from his shoulder surgery, so I filled in for him. We started the lesson by talking about our birth stories. Everyone who knew theirs shared their story. Then we began to trace the stories back. Who was the first mamma to give birth? Maeve told us about evolution and the gradual process that has defined who we are today. Then Lily told us her favorite of the two Adam and Eve stories she knows. I shared the other, “Eve created from Adam’s rib, ate the apple” story. We all decided that evolution makes a little more sense to us and as a class of girls, we definitely didn’t like that Eve was created from a man and led to the downfall of all humans. I concluded the lesson by hinting at just what “downfall of humans/ beginning of ‘evil’” is alluding to – we’ll discuss Cain and Abel next week.

In the K-2nd grade classroom, Molly gave the kids a lesson in context. To really understand the Judaeo-Christian roots of Unitarian Universalism, it’s important to understand the time before the Common Era. Molly started class by asking why we call this year 2012 and what happened 2012 years ago. The kids liked the idea that in many areas the year was kept by the number of years a king or queen had ruled. King William planned to rule for a lot of years! Then they talked about how people didn’t have electricity or phones, and roads were rough that long ago. They also talked about how cities would bully each other. Each child was given a basket that represented a city and they discussed how many people, ships and sheep the city had. This lesson will help the kids better understand the context of the Bible and its stories. Next week they learn about Adam and Eve.

In the Pre-K classroom, the focus of the lesson was on understanding how our families are part of the church. They talked a lot about all the things that make up the church. Some responses included… toys, blocks, snacks, dolls, puzzles, markers, paper, books, and people! Then they worked together to create a jigsaw puzzle. Every child drew a picture of his/her family. All of the pieces fit together to create a picture of the fellowship building with a chalice in the middle. The lesson showed the kids that all of us create the fellowship community and each part is vital to the whole.

In the nursery, the infants and toddlers read Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? and Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You See? Then they talked about animals that love the winter and others that hibernate to avoid it.

If you would like to continue these lessons at home, here are some suggestions: for 3rd-6th graders, review the idea of genesis or where we are all from. Then compare and contrast the versions of Adam and Eve and explore the differences and their implications. For K-2nd graders, draw pictures of how people would celebrate the new year 100, 500, 1000, 2000, and 2500 years ago to get them thinking about the time before the Common Era. For preschoolers, make a puzzle at home that represents your family and all of its composite parts. For infants and toddlers, take them on a visit to the zoo and show them which animals are out and about and which ones seem to be a bit more sleepy and sluggish this winter.

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