Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington, Indiana Seeking the Spirit | Building Community | Changing the World
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For Children & Youth

Welcome Families!

2024-25 Children & Youth Registration Form

Please use this form to register your child(ren) and youth for Religious Education (including childcare) for the 2024-25 year.

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Ongoing Offerings

Spirit-Play-windchimes-300x169 Spirit Play

Spirit Play (ages 4-6)

Spirit Play is a story-based approach to religious education that honors and encourages each child’s search for truth and meaning.  Each week’s story invites exploration of UU themes, principles, sources, and/or traditions.  Drawing from Maria Montessori’s approach to childhood education, Spirit Play reflects Unitarian Universalist values of respect for the worth and dignity of each person, and the free and responsible search for truth and meaning. At UUCB, we currently offer Spirit Play classes for children ages 4-6, although this approach can be adapted to any age — including adults!

This class meets in Room 105 during the worship service, except during multigenerational services and on Religious Education holidays. Children attend the worship service for approximately 15 minutes before heading to their classes; they may be picked up at 11:30am. Please register your child(ren) for the 2023-24 programming year before attending!

Two specially trained Spirit Play teachers facilitate each class.  As children arrive they are greeted by the Doorkeeper, who helps them with their nametags and makes sure each is ready to join the circle.  The Story Teller begins the class with a chalice lighting ritual, then introduces the story for the week.  Each story is told using carefully designed props stored together in a story basket.  The Story Teller concludes the story with wondering aloud together about the meaning(s) it may hold for the children, then carefully puts it away on an accessible shelf so that the children may work with it if they choose during their exploration time.

The DoorKeeper then introduces any special  “works” available for the day, and the children are dismissed as they’re ready to choose which activity to start with in their time of exploration.  Adults strive to observe silently, assisting only when asked, encouraging children to wait their turn, share, and clean up before moving on to a new activity.

Parents are welcome to observe the class at any time, but are asked to do so from the observation chairs rather than joining the circle.  Children who are not ready to separate from their parents are welcome to sit with them until they feel comfortable joining the children in the circle.  The reason for this is that Spirit Play is a place for children to explore their own spiritual identity, necessarily apart from their parents.  Teachers will help reluctant children feel comfortable with their peers, and are available to discuss any concerns with parents after the class.

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Kids' Club

Kids’ Club (ages 7-12)

This class explores what it means to be Unitarian Universalist. Through stories and discussions, activities and service projects, participants learn about Unitarian Universialist history, theology, values and principles -- and what all this may mean to their own lives both now and in the future. They get to know members of our congregation, learn about their work and what draws them to this church, and build connections.  They also build friendships and explore the possibilities for their own roles in our Unitarian Universalist community.

Kids' Club meets during the worship service, except during multigenerational services and on Religious Education holidays. Children attend the worship service for approximately 15 minutes before heading to their classes; they may be picked up at 11:30am. Please register your child(ren) for the 2023-24 programming year before attending!

During the 2023-24 school year, Kids' Club is following the Toolbox of our Faith curriculum from Tapestry of Faith. Each class focuses on a specific tool that symbolizes an important aspect of Unitarian Universalism:

Session 1: Faith — Toolbox and Ruler

Session 2: Questioning — Magnifying Glass

Session 3: Integrity — Compass

Session 4: Flexibility — Duct Tape

Session 5: Reflection — Mirror

Session 6: Expression — Paintbrush

Session 7: Democratic Process — Chalk

Session 8: Power — Hammer

Session 9: Spirit of Life — Canteen

Session 10: Courage — Saddlebags (or bike panniers, or backpacks)

Session 11: Listening — Stethoscope

Session 12: Humor — Sandpaper

Session 13: Love — Gloves

Session 14: Justice — Flashlight

Session 15: Atonement — Level

Session 16: Resiliency — Hard Hat

For more information, please contact Stephanie Kimball, Director of Lifespan Religious Education (kimball@uubloomington.org).

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Youth Group (grades 8-12)

Youth gather on certain Sundays, typically from 12:00 – 1:30pm for food and fellowship.  Activities include games, social justice projects, field trips, helping with special events, art and craft projects, and more.  In 2023-24 we look forward to participating in Youth Cons (conferences), getting to know young UUs from congregations around Indiana and neighboring states.

Our Whole Lives (OWL)

Our Whole Lives  (OWL) is a comprehensive, lifespan sexuality education program.  Over a two-year period, classes are typically offered for Kindergarteners & 1st graders, 4th & 5th graders, and 7th & 8th graders.  Letters or emails are sent to parents inviting their children to participate in the appropriate classes as they are offered. Please make sure your child’s birthdate and grade level are correct in our database so that you will receive all the relevant communications!

Milestones and Rituals

Child Dedication Ceremony

In this ceremony, children are named and blessed, parents dedicate themselves to the young lives entrusted to them, and the congregation dedicates itself to be a loving community in which all may thrive. This ceremony is appropriate for infants as well as young children who may be new to the congregation or have not previously been dedicated.

Age of Reason

Each year, we invite our First Graders and their parents/caregivers to participate in our Age of Reason ceremony. This is a special time when we recognize and celebrate children on the amazing journey of reading and learning independently. Unitarian Universalists think that it is very important to think for yourself, and first graders are beginning to have new opportunities to think for themselves through interacting with the world of learning at school or at home. To ensure that your family receives a timely invitation, please make sure your child's Church Center profile is up-to-date, including date of birth and grade in school.

Coming of Age

One of the most beloved rites of passage at UUCB is our Coming of Age program for high school youth. This program is typically offered every other year to ninth and tenth graders (though the frequency and age group may vary depending on class sizes). Participating youth are paired with adult mentors who share interests, and together they attend monthly CoA gatherings, worship services, and overnights, and engage in additional activities of their choosing. The program is designed to help youth explore their own beliefs, and culminates with a special worship service where they share their credos with the congregation.

Resources for Parents

Parents are their children’s first, and primary, religious education teachers.  At UUCB, we take seriously our responsibility to support parents in this important role.  Please reach out if you are in need of books, classes, support groups, or simply want to chat!

Questions about Religious Education Programming?
Contact Stephanie Kimball, Director of Lifespan Religious Education, at kimball@uubloomington.org.