Information & Policies
Children’s Worship and Story for All Ages
On Sundays, all children and youth gather in the sanctuary with their parents for a “Time for All Ages” at the beginning of the service. Volunteers will be in the lobby to welcome families and help sign their parents in for RE programs. After the first part of the service, children are accompanied by Religious Exploration leaders and staff to their RE spaces. Children through grade 5 must be signed out from RE rooms by parents/guardians at 12:15pm.
When multigenerational services occur, the nursery will be staffed and accept children through 4 years of age. Children 5 years and up attend the service with their parents. These services are designed to be engaging and meaningful for attendees of all ages – they are a special time for our full church community to worship and grow together.
“Reduced RE Days”
There will be some Sundays with no or fewer RE spaces offered than usual (e.g., during Winter Break, holiday weekends, etc.). On those Sundays, the nursery will be open as usual but will accept children through age 4 as long as there is sufficient staffing. Children 5 and older will attend the church service with their families, or may have the option to take part in a multi-age RE space for the morning (often a Helping Hands project).
Worshiping with Children
- Are full and important members of our faith community. They are welcome here.
- Just like adults, children learn by doing and experiencing firsthand.
- We also know that it is tough for children to sit still for long! Thus we offer the following suggestions to parents and to the gathered congregation.
- Get settled with your child(ren) as early as possible. Consider sitting near the front—children who can see what is happening feel more involved.
- Introduce yourself and your child(ren) to the people sitting nearby.
- Review the order of service and help children understand what will be happening. Share the hymnal and order of service at your child’s eye level. Line words with your finger for younger readers or whisper each line before it is sung.
- Feel free to whisper instructions to help children learn “worship etiquette.”
- You and your family are important here. We encourage your feedback for making our services more welcoming to families.
Behavior in Community
All children in our program will be guided and nurtured according to the Seven Principles of the Unitarian Universalist Association.
- Principle One: Each and every person is important. We all have a right to speak, to be heard and to be included in the day’s activities at church. This means that we remember not to interrupt when someone else is talking and that we take turns speaking.
- Principle Two: All people should be treated fairly and kindly. Everyone is welcome and we use kind words. When we know we are wrong, we apologize and make amends for what we have done. We speak up and get help when we see someone being treated unfairly.
- Principle Three: We encourage one another and learn together. We listen quietly to each other, participate in group activities to the best of our abilities, help someone who is new or struggling and share what we are thinking or feeling. We remember that we learn by trying new things and correcting our mistakes.
- Principle Four: Each person must be free to search for what is true and right in life. We ask questions to discover what is true and right for ourselves. We let other people ask questions and explore the things that have meaning for them and never make fun of our classmates.
- Principle Five: All persons should have a say about what affects them. All of us, young and old, work together to make church a safe and friendly place by sharing thoughts and feelings about what happens at church and offering ideas for new, or better, ways of doing things.
- Principle Six: We work together for a peaceful, fair and free world. We settle our disagreements in peaceful ways; never hitting, pushing, shoving or throwing things at one another. We play with each other in gentle ways, leaving toys and toy weapons at home. When there is a problem, we talk to each other, not about each other.
- Principle Seven: We care for our planet earth which we share with all living things. We don’t waste food or supplies, and we recycle whatever we can. We leave supplies and clean rooms for the next person. We take good care of what belongs to the church or other people.
If a child has difficulty acting on our principles, the following steps will be taken:
- A responsible adult will offer a reminder that the behavior is not in line with our classroom covenant.
- If inappropriate behavior continues, the adult will have a private conversation with the child to determine how the situation can be improved.
- If the child is upset or unable to cooperate, s/he will be escorted to the office of the Director of Religious Education for quiet time and conversation to work toward a solution.
If a satisfactory solution is not found, the Director of Religious Education will speak with the child’s parents. The parents, child and Director of Religious Education will work together to find ways to redirect the child’s energy so that s/he is happy and a participating member in the class. In the case of repeated difficulties, a parent or guardian may be asked to attend class with the child until a resolution is found.
To ensure that our playground is a fun and safe place for all children, we ask your help in observing the following guidelines and rules.
- An adult must be on the playground anytime youth or children under the age of 18 are present.
- YOU, the parent, are responsible for making sure your child is supervised and following the rules while on the playground outside of class time. Children are not allowed on the playground without an adult.
- When your child is signed in for RE classes or childcare, the teacher or childcare provider in charge is responsible for supervising the playground.
- Report any suspicious or dangerous activities to the office or the sexton on duty as quickly as possible.
- Play safely.
- Treat each other with respect.
- Please refrain from potentially harmful activities including: rough housing and aggressive play, throwing sticks, rocks, sand or other dangerous items, climbing on the outside or top of the play structures, climbing or playing on the wooded hillside (poison ivy is present).
- Swing and slide on your bottom.
- Sand and pea gravel stay on the ground.
- Put toys away when not in use.
- Bring trash and dishes back into the building.
Sick Child Policy
Please use your best judgment in determining whether your child is well enough to attend RE classes. If you are unsure whether your child’s symptoms are contagious, please err on the side of caution and keep your child at home. While we sympathize with the needs of each parent and their child, we must provide a healthy environment for the other children in the classrooms.
If your child presents any of the following symptoms, or has had them within the past 24 hours, please keep the child at home:
- Abdominal pain, diarrhea or vomiting
- Severe sore throat
- Excessively runny nose, coughing, or other respiratory symptoms
- Eye drainage
- Head lice
- Mouth sores
- Unexplained irritability, lethargy, or crying
- Unusual color of skin, eyes, stool, or urine
Please take your child seriously when he/she complains of feeling sick or unwell. If your child is unusually lethargic, whiny, irritable, and tearful they will not have a positive experience in church or RE classes.