Lifespan Spiritual Development
At Accotink Unitarian Universalist Church, one of the many ways we minister to one another is through our cooperative spiritual development programs for children, youth and adults. The purpose of AUUC’s Lifespan Spiritual Development Program is to provide educational programs and faith development activities that serve the entire congregational community and foster a sense of UU identity.
For adult classes, go to Adult Spiritual Development
Our cooperative religious education (RE) program is a key way we minister to the children, youth, and adults in our community. Our programs include nursery care, religious education classes for children in preschool through 12th grade, and various multigenerational spiritual development activities throughout the year.
On this page, you’ll find:
- Current course offerings
- Sunday mornings at a glance
- Our church community’s relational covenant and behavior expectations
- How to register your child for RE
- Information for families with special needs
- Who to contact for further information
- Volunteer opportunities
Additionally, our AUUC Family Manual contains more information about our program, policies, and activities occurring throughout the year.
Please complete a registration form for your family today.
NURSERY (newborn to age 2 1/2)
We offer a comfortable space for our youngest children to become familiar with our church home. Each week, our Sunday morning nursery is staffed with a volunteer from our community to help provide care for infants and young toddlers. Parents are welcome to remain with their infants in the nursery.
YOUNGER ELEMENTARY (Kindergarten to 2nd grade)
Picture Book UU This storybook based program will introduce children to the love, reason, tolerance, and good works that make up our UU faith. Each session will feature a story, a discussion, and a choice of activities to help participants deepen their understanding of the story’s lesson.
OLDER ELEMENTARY (3rd to 5th grade)
Theme-based Workshop Rotation is a program that explores Rev. Scott’s spiritual theme-of-the-month through four different theological perspectives: Thinking Cap Lab (Humanist), the Good Neighborhood (Jewish and Christian), Guru Gym (other world religions), and the Turning Wheel (Earth-based). Through story, active games, and hands-on activities, children grow in understanding the monthly spiritual themes with depth and breadth.
JUNIOR UUth (6th to 8th grade) and UUth (9th to 12th grade)
Building Bridges is a world religions program that deepens youths’ understanding of the dynamic, fascinating, and varied world in which they live. This program broadens knowledge of humanity and emboldens one’s spiritual search. Includes field trips to nearby places of worship!
Please read our Family Manual for complete information about our program, events, and schedule. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact our Director of Spiritual Development, Lara Profitt at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-503-4579.
What can you expect on a typical Sunday morning at AUUC?
|9:45||Guests, friends, and members arrive. Visitors sign in and are welcomed at the entrance. New families are encouraged to stop downstairs and meet the teachers and Director of Spiritual Development. (Let teachers know of any allergies or other conditions that would affect your child’s participation in class.)|
|10:00||Worship begins, with families in the sanctuary. Children participate through the “Time for All Ages.”|
|10:15||Children leave the sanctuary with teachers for class as the congregation sings the Reeb Child Benediction (words found in hymnal). Parents are welcome to accompany children to their class.|
|11:15||Worship and classes end. Children in 6th grade and above will be dismissed; parents must pick up younger children from class. All are welcome to join the social hour upstairs.|
Several times throughout the year, we hold All-Ages services. On these special Sundays, the children stay upstairs with their families for the entire time. The service tends to incorporate more music, movement, and storytelling at a level accessible to children of all ages. Families are encouraged to allow their children to experience the entire service as another path to spiritual growth and community building. The nursery will be open for infants and particularly restless youngsters.
The promises we make about how we will treat each other and what we will do to create a safe and sacred space is called a covenant. This is our covenant:
- We respect everyone with our words and actions.
- We are kind and work together to be fair to everyone.
- We encourage one another to grow in spiritual ways.
- We support each person’s search for what is right and true in life.
- We listen to our inner voice and to the hopes and concerns of others.
- We work together to make our world peaceful, free, and fair.
- We care for the Earth, its creatures, and our surroundings.
Families are asked to agree to this covenant before registering for the RE program. We all make mistakes at times or fail to live up to the promises we have made to one another. At those times, we will lovingly remind each other of our better selves. It is important to remember that behind any misbehavior, there is a need that is not being met. Teachers are encouraged to start from a place of inquiry with a child before turning to discipline. When children or youth break covenant:
- The teacher or classroom assistant quietly asks the child/youth what is going on for them to try to understand the unmet need. The adult might make modifications to attempt to meet the child’s need (i.e. give them a sense ball for tangible stimulation, or crayons to color so they can listen better).
- If this does not help, the adult immediately offers a quiet reminder that the behavior is out of bounds.
- If behavior continues, the adult and child/youth hold a private conversation.
- If needed, the child/youth has a private conversation with the Director of Spiritual Development (DSD), who will be in touch with the parents.
- After a family conversation, the parents contact the DSD to indicate the child/youth understands the behavior was unacceptable and agrees to work harder to keep the covenant.
- In the case of repeated difficulties, a parent/guardian may be asked to supervise the child/youth for an agreed upon time or the child/youth may be asked to take a break from Religious Education programs.
How to Register Your Child for RE Class
Visitors and newcomers are welcome to participate in our Children’s Religious Education Classes. After three visits, we ask that you complete a registration form. To register your children please ask a teacher or church staff for a copy of the registration form. Return it to the church office or your teacher.
When the weather is nice, trips outside to the garden, grounds, and playgrounds are likely. Snacks are often served. Please be sure to let teachers know of any allergies or other conditions that might affect your child’s participation in class.
Children benefit the most when they attend religious education classes regularly. Their church experience deepens when they feel a part of a special group and build strong relationships. Parents can support their children’s participation by encouraging regular attendance and talking about their church experiences at home.
We welcome all children, youth and adults at AUUC. Our Principles value each person’s inherent worth and call on us to support one another on our spiritual journeys. Many of the curricula have suggestions for how to adapt activities for a diversity of abilities and learning styles. Each individual has different needs, and by planning accommodations together, we hope to provide a successful learning experience for all. Please do not hesitate to speak with the DSD or Rev. Scott about your child’s special needs.
Please review our AUUC Family Manual. If you have any questions or would like more information about the Children’s Spiritual Development Program, please contact:
The programs we offer are a truly collaborative effort. They have grown out of the hopes and hard work of the members and friends of this faith community. The Children’s Spiritual Development Committee leads an extensive ministry that is staffed by many volunteers from the congregation, including those both with and without children currently in the program. If you would like to join a teaching team, assist in a classroom, or help the program in another way, please contact email@example.com.