May

Spring has sprung and we’re already looking forward to summer!

We start the month of May with lots of sharing…

On May 4 all classes share a little about what they’ve learned in their school-year lessons about World Religions and even share a special hands-on project for adults and children alike. There will be reading, singing, and maybe even some dancing!

Throughout the month we’ll wrap up our lessons and start getting ready for the summer World Travelers curriculum.

May 24 we’ll have some super family fun and meet at the church in the morning to plant our garden. Be ready to dig in the dirt! Bring a sack lunch so we can all picnic in the yard.

Coming up… June 1 will be our big Bon Voyage party! Lots of fun, games, food, and fellowship as we set sail on a summer full of adventures.

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Fall 2013

It’s Winter and our UU children are enjoying the World Religions curriculum.

7th-9th grade class  – Marisa Larson and Ken and Pat Embers have been meeting with these students and are discussing various aspects of Far Eastern religions with an emphasis on Buddhism.

3rd-6th grade class – Students have been discussing Earth  Religions and their connections with nature and Native American viewpoints.

K-2nd grade class – Students have been easing into the World Religions curriculum with discussions about sacred places.

Pre-K class – Pre-K kids have been familiarizing themselves with our own sacred place, the fellowship, and learning about our special UU symbols, especially the flaming chalice.

Nursery – Infants and toddlers have been busy exploring with all their senses. Toys feel good and taste good! Story books look and sound wonderful. And all the kids smell delightful.

(Read about all the adventures on the RE blog.)

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Summer 2013

It’s Summer and our UU children are enjoying the UU World Travelers curriculum.

All grades are combined during the summer and each Sunday we are visited by a guest Tour Guide.

Summer adventures include…

June – tours of Hawaii, Pillsbury Crossing, campfires, and food

July – tours of sound, storytelling, nature, and dance

August – tours of water, art, and music

(Read about all the adventures on the RE blog.)

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It’s Winter and our UU children are drinking in the warmth of the seven principles of Unitarian Universalism.

(If you sing the principles to the tune of “Do-Re-Mi”, I promise you’ll know them as well as all the kids.)

1-Each person is worthwhile  (September’s focus)

2-Be kind in all you do  (October’s focus)

3-We help each other learn  (November’s focus)

4-Search for what is true  (January’s focus)

5-All people have a say  (February’s focus)

6-Work for a peaceful world  (March’s focus)

7-The web of life’s the way  (April’s focus)

 

 

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It’s hard to believe, but the end of summer is within sight. Those of you who have not yet had the opportunity to directly participate in the “UU World Travelers” religious education program may not know all the wonderful things the students have been learning or how the program works.

Here’s a quick synopsis … The students are sung out of the sanctuary and gather in the Jupiter Room. We light a chalice and each child is given the opportunity to share during “joys and concerns.” This is an important part of each Sunday as our younger members find their voice in this mostly adult-centered institution.

At the conclusion of joys and concerns that day’s volunteer “tour guide” is introduced and s/he shares information about a particular “destination.” Often times that destination has been a real place.

This summer we’ve carpooled to Tom and Monta Manney’s homestead, we’ve toured the UUFM kitchen, camped in the UUFM back yard, and will soon head to the Community Gardens. Students learned about Japan via photos, food, and origami. They experienced Mt Olympus via stories of Zeus, Athena, Hercules, Achilles, and other Greek gods. They enjoyed Morocco via photos, food, and donning traditional Moroccan clothing; and London via language, sports, and tea and crumpets.

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Camp Out!!

About twenty UUs came together for s’mores Saturday night. Songs were sung, gypsy songs were played on the violin (yay Jennifer!), and ghost stories were told. Only half of the s’more-eaters braved the night but the weather was wonderful. Sunday morning Sandy and Lily made waffles and sausage for the campers. Kim led us all in outdoor yoga in the memorial garden for an after breakfast treat. A big thank you to all who helped and participated! Larry, you were sorely missed and we wish you a full recovery!

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June 3: Bon Voyage

Sunday! What a great party! Every kid had a blast, and I have to admit, I did as well. As Aimee and I were trying to help four kids play the water balloon game I had prepared, four little guys had the time of their lives playing with and popping the remaining balloons! Cory, you go girl, crawling in the bounce house and having a jumping-good-time. It’s things like this that have a lasting effect on our kids. Adults willing to play WITH them….priceless. Sponge toss was better this year than last even! Who knew they would just prefer to bomb each other with sponges….And Face painting!!! AWESOME, not only was it fun for them to hang with Kim, but it turned out to also be an exercise in trust. William let Kaia paint his face (she did a great job)! Some adults let kids paint them (I just wasn‘t one of the brave ones), and then there was Jocelyn…my little love bug who made herself a “cat”…with black paint (Meeeow Meeooow she said). She wore it all afternoon. In fact, all four of our kids wore their face paints with pride, pride of their belonging to a place. A “great” place, as they say – where even Michael Oldfather gets silly with cookies, Cory becomes five again, a magic bowl of wiggly water bombs is reachable, and everyone can be transformed with paint! It’s a place where Sloane and Jocelyn can share lunch outside, where William can disappear out front without my heart popping out. It’s a place where all the children belong to all of us, and we to them. We are a family, and nothing makes it clearer than moments like these.

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PNO: Travel

Friday was Parents’ Night Out. Christy, Larry and I got the privilege of hanging out with a great bunch of kiddos. Larry took a group up to the garden, where they worked on building forts. The great thing is they also learned a thing or two about nature, hard work, and team work! Burke found what he considered a prize stick (simply perfect for the cause) and asked for help. Conner, Nick, Indigo and William all came running to assist, instantly. They worked together to shift the stick to fit through the opening in the trees. For an hour our children worked together. Their communication and compromising skills were in use the whole time. Not once was there a snide remark or eye roll from the bunch.
Kaia was pretty much adorable! She said I could come with her through the woods so I could keep her safe! She also pointed out that one should not eat berries on the bushes OR the ground because we do not know if they are “eat-able”. As she and I were winding our way through the woods looking at snail shells, moss, and other bits of treasure, Kaia taught me about fort building, what to do if we got lost, and what kind of shoes one should where when in the woods. We did not get lost, for she had the foresight to make us a map prior to our adventure!
The movie “Bed Knobs and Broomsticks” went over well. All ages loved it!! At first the kids were not sure…it starts off slow. But thanks to Larry, they kept the faith and interest in what was going on. My favorite was hearing Larry’s laughter right along with the kids’. We are so fortunate to have such a lovely, outgoing adult willing to get right in there and experience adventures with our kids! Just think of all they learn from having Larry as a role model!…
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June

This month we take off on our summer World Traveler adventures. On Friday, June 1st, we kick off our summer of travel with a travel-themed Parents’ Night Out. Then we’ll have a Bon Voyage party for all of our travelers on June 3rd. The next three Sundays we’ll visit the Manney’s property, camp out and canoe, and take a “trip” to Japan with the McKees. Grab your passports and come join us!

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Family Fun Spring Cleaning

What a super fun and productive Saturday. The RE kids (and adults) got together to clean up and organize our classrooms. The older kids (and adult help) painted the newly remodeled stage room. What a great way to allow our kids some investment in their fellowship and help create the sacred space they deserve. Lots of eager little guys worked through ALL the craft supplies in the Jupiter room. They checked markers and glue etc. to see what we needed, what we had, and to generally have a blast together. The nursery room was transformed by Rylee, Sloane and Owen…Who all enjoyed being a part of such activities as Lego collecting, trash duties, and stuffed animal detail. Rylee even began coming up with his own ideas of jobs: cleaning the window on the door, stacking blocks in the window…He took such a sense of pride in his work, holding his little head high! There was music going, cheese-sticks galore and lots of laughter. We are giving our children such a gift by allowing them these opportunities to get involved…to have a say in decisions that ultimately affect them. What a great community of children we have here! To see them all work together for a common goal, to steadily make the conscious choice to continue with the work, is beautiful.

Another thing I learned from the kids that day was inclusion. One child had invited her friend to come work…She came, smile pasted on her face, paint clothes on ready to contribute. A funny thing happened, she made friends. Our children included her in the games the same as the work. She was playing tag with Burke and plopping on chairs to share popcorn with other children. She told me that this was the “best place ever”. I sometimes struggle to open my arms wide enough for everyone who walks through our doors, to open them long enough to catch the shy stragglers. But our children embraced this little girl, gave it not a second thought…and what a gift we received in return. They didn’t struggle with eye contact, or small talk. They didn’t have to put judgments aside, for they didn’t have any. They just held hands and hearts easily followed.

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