Child Spiritual Development
At the Unitarian Society of Germantown, we encourage Wonder, Compassion, Mindfulness, Service… and Fun!
The Mission of our Children’s Spiritual Development (CSD) program is to:
- Provide developmentally appropriate education that supports the lifelong process of learning to cultivate goodness, compassion, empathy, and love for oneself and others.
- Offer safe and caring spaces for introspective work, connecting to nature, and building right-relationships in community across generations.
- Put into practice hands-on, experiential education for children, facilitators and parents that cultivates respect, stewardship, service, mindfulness, responsibility, justice, and the search for truth and beauty.
- To welcome young people into the UU community, help them find their way into becoming active members, and provide them opportunities to learn the rich history and guiding principles of UU.
We believe if the mission of CSD is fulfilled it will contribute greatly to fulfilling our overarching mission at USG of: Building beloved community with service, compassion and empowerment.
All Sunday morning classes meet at 10:30am during regular church service. Youth Group and OWL (Our Whole Lives) for the high school youth meets from 6-8pm on Sunday night.
On a typical Sunday morning, everyone (except children in the nursery) will attend the beginning of the church service. After the first 15 minutes, children, youth and teachers are excused to their classes. The classes and curricula are listed below.
There are several intergenerational services throughout the year where everyone, including children and youth, stay for the duration of the service. Please visit: This Week in Sunday Children’s Programs for details about an upcoming Sunday (generally updated on Thursdays.)
Classes and Curricula for 2018-2019
PreK – Kindergarten (3-5 years old): Chalice Children
Early childhood (the years between ages 2 and 5) is filled with curiosity and wonder. Chalice Children taps into this natural ability and delves into the fundamental ideas and rituals of our Unitarian Universalist faith. Concepts such as safety, community and sharing are explored through fun group activities and focused art projects. Young children can engage in spiritual seeking, develop their openness to sharing, and experience the benefit of a supportive community, setting a pattern for the rest of their lives and bring lasting benefits. We also encourage an “open classroom” concept through “creation stations” and other available play areas, so children can make choices.
1st – 3nd Grade (6-8 years old): Free to Believe
Free to Believe is an experiential program designed to nurture the emotional, social, and spiritual life of children. The first two-thirds of the program uses the Unitarian Universalist principles as starting points for exploring values, beliefs, and what it means to be UU. These are explored through hands-on-activities, stories, games, songs, and discussions. The last third of the program examines some “big questions” – such as questions about life and death, spirit and God, and the beginnings of world and life – through the perspective of our Unitarian Universalist sources.
4rd – 6th Grade (9-11 years old): Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Social Justice
This program delves into the magical world of Harry Potter to address the principles of Unitarian Universalism and how our faith is enacted in our own communities. By taking on the 7 Horcruxes (best described as the shadowy elements of human cultures), students will choose social justice projects to work on throughout the course of the year. The Hogwarts curriculum affirms our Unitarian Universalist heritage of confronting “powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love” in a developmentally appropriate way using lessons, games, discussions and experiential activities.. including making real potions!
7th – 8th Grade (11-13 years old): Our Whole Lives (OWL) Sexuality Education
USG offers OWL for 7th and 8th graders – every other year. This remarkable program is taught across the United States at Unitarian Universalist Congregations. Many say this was one of the most valuable experiences they had as Unitarian Universalist teens. OWL is a nationally recognized program that was co-developed by the UUA and the United Church of Christ denomination. The UUA website reports, “In a 2011 assessment of sexuality education curricula by the Virginia Healthy Sexuality Workgroup of the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance, the Our Whole Lives program (OWL) was among four recommended as “promising healthy sexuality curricula” in terms of their ability to prevent harmful/risky behaviors.” This year’s teaching team will include Eric Foster, Andrea Barsevick, Aubrey Ramos and Aaron Rosenbaum, an experience OWL teacher from BuxMont UU Fellowship. Registration for this class is closed for the 2018-19 church year. If you are interested information about the OWL program, please contact Eric Foster, firstname.lastname@example.org.
9th – 12th Grade (14-18 years old)
Morning Youth group offers high school youth a safe and welcoming space for social interaction and spiritual development. The program balances service learning, social action, youth-led worship, inquiry into important issues and good old fashioned fun. They will meet once or twice a month, led by Treva Burger.
Evening Youth Group is primarily youth-led, as they design and facilitate most activities. It is a place where youth deepen relationships with one another, build community and establish life-long friendships. We usually have dinner too! This group is led by Ryan Hurd. They will also meet once or twice a month on alternate Sundays.
These programs complement each other and will have many of the same youth participating, thus the meeting times will alternate from week-to-week. Youth can decide to participate either in the morning or the evening or both.
Registration and Fees:
Annual Registration for CSD is required. If your child is an existing student in CSD, the Director of Spiritual Development (DSD) will contact you about registration. If your child is new to the program:
There is no registration fee for USG members: we are a co-operative community and rely on parent’s participation.
Non-members registration fees are as follows: $25 for one child, $45 for two children, $60 for three or more children.
Contact Ryan Hurd, Director of Spiritual Development
for more information or questions about the program.