Elementary and Middle School
Religious Exploration programming for school age children provides a variety of experiences to guide faith development in children and youth. Classes, groups, worship, and events support values of freedom, reason, justice, courage, respect, hope, and love. Children are encouraged to question and wonder, learn and grow, all while being guided and supported by a nurturing community.
Sunday morning Religious Exploration (RE) classes are designed to guide children on their own spiritual paths and gain an appreciation of and respect for the diversity of religious thought. Classes draw from many sources: our Jewish and Christian heritage, other world religions and Unitarian Universalist history. Each class is guided by a pair of First Parish volunteer teachers supported by the Director of Religious Exploration. Together, we explore a faith that can anchor them in times of trouble and lift them in times of joy. All classes are grounded in the Seven Unitarian Universalist principles.
The rotation of classes over the course of a child’s involvement in RE from elementary school through middle school age covers the exploration of their own selves and feelings, world religions, appreciation and respect for nature, forming their own religious identity, and exploring major life issues. In their final two years of Religious Exploration classes, youth are invited to participate in Our Whole Lives a sexuality education program, and Coming of Age, a program that culminates their RE experience and helps them formulate an expression of belief.
Most Sundays, children meet with their age specific class. Once or twice a month, they meet with the rest of the cohort of classes to cover a monthly theme or topic. Together they build community in the Religious Exploration program.
Children’s Choir and Youth Chime Choir
Dean Arvidson leads the youth music program. He welcomes elementary and middle school youth to the Children’s Choir. Children in grades 4-8 are welcome to join the Youth Chime Choir. The choirs perform on the first Sunday of each month during service.
Junior Youth Group
Middle school youth (7th-8th graders) are welcome join the Junior Youth Group. From September to May the group meets twice a month on Thursday evenings. Together they socialize, participate in service projects, support each other, play and worship. Contact the Director of Religious Exploration for more information or to register.
We invite all elementary and middle school youth to the first 15 minutes of each Sunday’s service in the Meeting House. They can perform vital roles in the service such as lighting the chalice, participating in the Story for All Ages and singing hymns. They leave the Meeting House with their teachers and begin their Sunday morning classes in the Parish House.
Several times throughout the year the church sponsors a multigenerational Sunday. On these weeks, there are no classes offered and the service is designed and delivered to appeal to all ages. Nursery and preschool classes are still provided.
The Religious Exploration Council, a group of First Parish volunteers, hosts several events a year. The events inlcude the annual multigenerational Halloween Party, Teacher Appreciation Brunch, and Parent Coffees. The Parent Coffees are offered at the beginning of the semester. They are a time for parents to meet their children’s teachers, look at the curriculum and meet other parents.