Family Programming grows lifelong UUs by supporting families, developing programming that recognizes important developmental milestones, and advocating for an inclusive and multi-generational church community.
Core TruthsIn order to meet our mission, F.P. has aligned programming around significant, developmental capstones we are calling ‘Core Truths’ – ultimate truths we want to instill in our children. Here is our draft set of ‘Core Truths’ for the year:
- 0 – 2 Years of Age: I know that I am Loved.
- PreK – Kindergarten: I know that I am a valued member of this UU church.
- 1st – 3rd Grade: I know about Unitarian Universalism.
- 4th – 5th Grade: I know about other religions, and how they compare to Unitarian Universalism.
- Jr. High: I know who I am as a U.U.
- Sr. High: I live my UU identity in my community.
Monthly ThemesIn addition to our ‘Core Truths,’ F.P. strives to align programming around our congregational monthly themes. Theme based ministry is an engaging way of unifying and focusing congregational life. Among its benefits, theme based ministry: weaves a central thread throughout all church programming, creates multigenerational connections, extends faith development beyond Sunday morning, and deepens one’s faith development
This year’s monthly themes are listed below...
- September - Invitation
- October - Letting Go
- November - Ancestry
- December - Expectation
- January - Resistance
- February - Desire
- March - Liberation
- April - Creation
- May - Blessing
- June - Simplicity
Components of Faith FormationWe utilize four areas of faith formation when designing programs around our ‘Core Truths’ and monthly themes. These four areas, otherwise known as the 4 Cs, are:
- Content - WHAT the children are learning. This includes curriculum, both implicit and explicit.
- Community – WHO our children are learning from. This includes not only classroom teachers, but anyone the child might have a relationship with.
- Covenant – HOW we behave in community. This is not only about how we treat each other, but it’s also about our duty to our faith.
- Context / Calling – WHY we are here. This is about our purpose in our community as an individual and as the church.
PoliciesFor the safety and well-being of everyone in our program, F.P. has the following policies in place...
Communicable Disease PolicyAfter every Sunday school class, our teachers make an effort to clean and sterilize their classroom. However, when children congregate, there is always the chance that viruses will spread. In a collaborative effort to stem the spread of communicable disease in our classrooms, we ask that parents do not bring their child to church if their child has had a fever in the past 24 hours, or the child has been diagnosed with a communicable disease. Thank you for your continued support!
Classroom Discipline PolicyWe are a covenantal faith. We are brought together not by creed or dogma, but by our shared commitment to each other and our respective spiritual journeys. At the beginning of every year, Family Programming classes explore this concept by creating covenants of their own. It is explained to them that their covenant is a list of promises of how they will treat one another in the coming year. Once children understand this, they are invited to sign their name (or add their thumb print) to the covenant, affirming their commitment to each other. Throughout the rest of the year, your child's teacher will refer to the class covenant in times of conflict.
Food PolicyFamily Programming’s space is a nut free zone. Additionally, snack is not served regularly in any of our classes, except our Infant / Toddler class. However, occasionally, food will be served as part of a lesson. At these times, the Director of Family Programming, Meredith Plummer, will notify families with known food allergies. Furthermore, our teachers are trained to identify the signs of anaphylaxis and to notify parents as soon as any of these signs appear. For their part, parents of children with food allergies are asked to carry an epi-pen with them at all times and to administer medication if anaphylaxis were to occur (other arrangements are made on field trips). If you have a child with a food allergy, please email the Director of Family Programming immediately.
Photo Release PolicyWhile we do our best to obtain prior permission to use you and your child’s photos in our publications, you should know that First Church’s current photo release policy is an opt-out policy. In short, you or your child’s photo may be used without your consent unless you contact the Director of Family Programming and state that you do not want us to use your photos.
Safe CongregationAs detailed by our Safe Congregation guidelines, the following volunteer requirements are in place...
- Volunteers must be 18 years of age or older (youth and preteens may volunteer as a 2nd assistant).
- Volunteer assistants must have been attending First Church for 6 months.
- Volunteer teachers must have been attending First Church for 1 year.
- All volunteers must be willing to submit to a background check.
- All volunteers must obtain training.
- All volunteers must pass a knowledge check.
- There must be 2 adults in every classroom, except Sr. High.
RegistrationChildren and youth are considered registered in the program once a parent or guardian completes the registration form. Registration is important because it provides emergency contact information, helps the Director of Family Programming track class size, and informs us of any special needs your child may have. In addition, it provides valuable information to you, the parent, about the program.
There is no registration fee for our Sunday program. However, parents are asked to support the program by volunteering their time and pledging regularly once they feel that First Church is their home.
You can get a registration form from the Director of Family Programming, or you can fill one out electronically here.