Children and Youth Program 2017-2018

Children and Youth Program 2017-2018

Welcome | 2017-2018 Program | Register Now! | RE Calendar

Our overarching theme this year is our Unitarian Universalist heritage. Next year will be an exploration of our Judeo-Christian heritage followed by our Unitarian Universalist Sources | World Religions and Wisdom Traditions. Throughout the year, we make time for age-appropriate social service initiatives and multigenerational worship services. Course offerings and age groupings are subject to change from time-to-time as we strive to offer quality programming and adjust for class size.


Adult childcare providers provide loving care to children ages 6 weeks to 3 years. We offer an environment that encourages discovery and provides a positive first experience within our church community. Nursery care, located in the Mason Religious Education wing, Gandhi Room, is available free of charge during service.

Pre-Kindergarten & Kindergarten

Spirit Play — joyful discovery and learning for children ages three or four through five. The primary goal for this age group is to introduce the children to RE Program classes, increase their comfort with our church environment, and provide a nurturing environment for children to discover their growing capabilities. The Spirit Play curriculum is a UU adaptation by Nita Penfold of the Godly Play curriculum by Jerome Berryman, combined with aspects of the Montessori Method by Maria Montessori. Spirit Play incorporates hands-on, aesthetic story and art materials to help children make sense of life’s religious questions and spiritual experiences. The stories come from our seven Unitarian Universalist Principles and our six Unitarian Universalist Sources

Our three-year story rotation focuses on our Unitarian Universalist covenant, our church and holiday celebrations, and our Unitarian Universalist principles.

First through Third Grades

The purpose of religious education in the Spirit Play classroom, as we see it, is to help inquisitive minds find their own answers to some existential questions:

Where did we come from? What is our purpose? How do we choose to live our lives?


What are our gifts?

How do we use them? Why are we lonely and sad sometimes? Why do we die?


What happens when we die?

Fourth through Sixth Grades

Tapestry of Faith Riddle and Mystery guides children in their own search for understanding. Each of the sessions introduces and processes a Big Question. The first three echo Paul Gauguin’s famous triptych: Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? The next ten, including Does God exist? and What happens when you die?, could be found on almost anyone’s list of basic life inquiries. The final three are increasingly Unitarian Universalist: Can we ever solve life’s mystery? How can I know what to believe? What does Unitarian Universalism mean to me?

Seventh through Eighth Grades

Compass Points is a curriculum which guides adolescents on a yearlong spiritual journey with opportunities to explore their identities, their beliefs, their Unitarian Universalist faith, their relationships with others and their connections to the world.

The Goals of Compass Points are:

To help participants sort out their feelings about themselves and their world as they do the difficult work of starting to create their adult selves

To help them discover what they believe about life's big questions -- the nature of humanity and the divine, beliefs about life, death, and faith

To help youth think independently, assume responsibility, make decisions, explore values and adopt the practice of radical hospitality

To guide participants in acquiring enough background in Unitarian Universalist history, polity and theology that they can know and express what it means to be a Unitarian Universalists

To help them understand that religious liberty is a hard-won legacy that continues to need protection.

Our Whole Lives - Human Sexuality | 2017-2018

Grades 7 and 8 — Our Whole Lives (OWL) helps participants make informed and responsible decisions about their sexual health and behavior. It equips participants with accurate, age-appropriate information in six subject areas: human development, relationships, personal skills, sexual behavior, sexual health, and society and culture. Grounded in a holistic view of sexuality, Our Whole Lives not only provides facts about anatomy and human development, but also helps participants clarify their values, build interpersonal skills, and understand the spiritual, emotional, and social aspects of sexuality. OWL is taught by a team of trained lay-leaders who care deeply about the well-being of our youth. Parental permission is required for youth to participate in this program. This program is conducted at a time other than our Sunday morning religious education program time.

Coming of Age | Next Offered 2018-2019

Grades 8 and 9 — Coming of Age (COA) helps youth discern for themselves what it means to live a life of faith, individually and as part of the larger Unitarian Universalist (UU) faith community. It involves individual activities, community service, and family participation. COA explores the question “How shall I live my life?” and supports youth in their efforts to create a personal faith credo. This program initiates a process of lifelong learning and promotes right relationship with one’s self, with others, and with the wider world. A Unitarian Universalist heritage trip to Washington DC is planned for April 2019. This program is conducted at a time other than our Sunday morning religious education program time.

Ninth through Twelfth Grades

Youth Group — High School youth group is self-directed and with the help of adult advisers, plans programs that may include worship, education, social events, social action projects, and development of leadership skills. Discussion topics cover current events, situations in school, and various religious concerns. In addition, various curricula are available to guide discussion and activities. Youth Group is a wonderful experience for teens—it broadens their perspectives and gives them a comfortable atmosphere in which to discuss the issues they are dealing with as they become adults

The UU Seven Principles--Children's Language

1st Principle: We believe that each and every person is important.
2nd Principle: We believe that all people should be treated fairly and kindly.
3rd Principle: We believe that we should accept one another and keep on learning together.
4th Principle: We believe that each person must be free to search for what is true and right in life.
5th Principle: We believe that all persons should have a vote about the things that concern them.
6th Principle: We believe in working for a peaceful, fair, and free world.
7th Principle: We believe in caring for our planet Earth, the home we share with all living things.

Religious Education Contacts

Our Minister, religious educator, and the RE Team are here to listen and help. Please feel free to contact any of them.

Rev. Dr. David Herndon Senior Minister
(412) 621-8008, extension 102

Erica Shadowsong

Lifespan Religious Education Director

(412) 621-8008, ext 103 (church)

Come to be moved and held in mutual embrace. Come and be made whole.
First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh
605 Morewood Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
(412) 621-8008     Map and directions
Worship Services
10:30 AM
Office Hours
9:30 AM to 4:30 PM
Tuesday - Friday
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