UU RE programs for toddlers? - Mothering Forums
Spirituality > UU RE programs for toddlers?
kcstar's Avatar kcstar 02:15 AM 09-15-2010
UU mamas, please help!

Our church building is small, so right now toddlers stay in the nursery until they are 4. We're working on moving to a new location, but that's likely to take a year.

I know that at 3, DS is old enough to understand some spiritual things. I'd really like to do more talking with him about our faith. If my church can't do it yet, I'll do it at home.

I've been checking the UUA website, and their new Lifespan RE program doesn't start until Kindergarten.

Do you know of any web resources that can point to songs & games related to UUism that are appropriate for a toddler?

I'm also interested in a curriculum for the year, but it isn't in the budget right now. I know when I taught Catholic RE to this age range, it had things about families, seasons, and holy days. Something like that would be good.

ImaSophie's Avatar ImaSophie 02:40 AM 09-15-2010
The UU church in my hometown designed a preschool/kindergarten program for 4 & 5 year olds around Montessori. They have stories and they tell the story with a story basket (the stories usually fit in somewhat with the other kids are learning such as lessons of loss etc) rather then just reading from the book. Then they go and do their "work" they pick something to play with/do, after that they have snack and then go out to the playground.

I have some info if you would like more ideas. (ETA I am not a UU mama but we have attended services and been involved with the UU church back home because thats were my folks go to church)
kcstar's Avatar kcstar 03:21 PM 09-15-2010
Thank you! I did some looking online, and saw programs like you mention based around Montessori. Since he is in a Montessori preschool, and we would be doing "classes" at home, I'm not really worried about doing a full-up hour-long session with playtimes.

I guess what I'm looking for are:
1) toddler-appropriate chalice lightings. I vaguely remember our previous church had something about hands that help and hearts that care?

2) Religious Children's songs from a variety of traditions. Things like "This little light of mine," from the UU perspective.
I'm Pagan. Nothing against Christianity, but I don't really want "Jesus loves me." "Whole world in God's hands" I think I could work with. Many of the Pagan chants we know could work too.

3) I'm starting to pull together a "schedule" of topics, some of it adapting the K-1 curricula to the younger crowd. Family, Home, Church members as extended family, Church building as extension of home, Seasons, Cycles of the sun, the moon, the day.

I think I could put together a basic 15-30 minute "class" routine for DH, DS, and I to do together, start with a chalice lighting, a little check-in, a song, some kind of activity (coloring pages, craft, etc), an active game/song, checkout and extinguish the chalice. I just need to put together themes for at least the Fall semester, perhaps the year if I really feel ambitious.
chaoticzenmom's Avatar chaoticzenmom 10:24 PM 09-15-2010
We use the Spirit Play curriculum (story baskets montessori style) for a little older than preschool. Preschoolers and kindergardeners are using the "we are many we are one" curriculum. There's too much information to post one link...you'd do better to google it.

well, here's the amazon link
Sierra's Avatar Sierra 10:33 PM 09-15-2010
Spirit Play is the name of the Montessori-based program you are talking about. I can't recommend it enough. It is so great in terms of nurturing children's natural spirituality (it can start in toddler/early preschool years and actually can move through the elementary years). My kids attend a Montessori school during the week, and LOVE their Montessori church school on the weekends. So powerful! But in any case:

For that age in our Spirit Play classes we say Ghandi's peace greeting with some hand motions (google Ghandi's peace greeting...it's easy to make up motions), and sing the following songs:

Chalice Lighting
Sung to Tune of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat"
"Light, light, light the flame, peaceful as a dove. Joyfully, joyfully, joyfully, joyfully, fill the world with love."

(At my home when my own kids were toddlers we used sing to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star": "Little chalice burning bright, won't you share with us your light. May all children, everywhere, have peace, and love, and so much care. Little chalice burning bright, won't you share with us your light.")

Prayer Song
Sung to the tune of "Jesus Loves Me"
"Love surrounds me, this I know, for my Spirit tells me so. Love to each of us belong. It fills our hearts and makes us strong. Yes, love surrounds me. Yes, love surrounds me. Yes, love surrounds me, for my Spirit tells me so."

Closing Song
We use the "Go now in peace" song so commonly sung as the children's blessing in worship when the kids go to classes. The version we sing is the one in the hymnal, which is different from the one I sang as a child. The version in the hymnal is "Go now in peace, go now in peace. May the love of God surround you, everywhere, everywhere, you may go."

You may find the CLF resources to be helpful. They have RE resources for use in home and with small groups. Try, for example: http://clf.uua.org/re/.

There is also a brochure at the UU bookstore with some family prayer ideas, although in my family we do an extemporaneous grace before meals and snacks, and the older the kids get the more I love that. My (developmentally delayed) son at age five is starting to be able to extemporaneously lead the whole family in prayer, and I just think that is so great.
Sierra's Avatar Sierra 10:35 PM 09-15-2010
P.S. Sorry, I posted at the same time as chaoticzenmom so duplicated some thoughts. However, she suggested We Are Many, We Are One. That one is good, but the one I like even better is Chalice Children: http://books.google.com/books?id=BPP...page&q&f=false
kcstar's Avatar kcstar 06:14 PM 09-19-2010
Thank you, ladies! We had our RE kickoff today, and the other 3-year-olds were in the 4yr-2nd grade class. So I talked with that teacher, and if the class is small he's welcome to join them So we'll take it week by week.