Parents Most Asked Questions!
How many kids do you have in your program?
We have 26 kids (and counting!) registered in our program.
How many classes are there?
High School (grades 9-12) : Also known as Youth. Youth are generally supported as individuals and meet as a group for special projects and worship services.
Middle School (grades 5-8) : Also known as Jr. Youth. Jr. Youth have class every Sunday morning during the worship hour.
Elementary School (Pre-K - grade 4): Elementary class meets every Sunday morning during the worship hour.
Nursery (Infants - ages 3/4) : The nursery is staffed every Sunday beginning at 10:15AM.
How many kids will be present on any given Sunday?
Attendance fluctuates with sports obligations, the weather, colds making the rounds, and holiday travel. On average, there are 8-10 kids on any given Sunday, but we have near perfect attendance sometimes and (less often) just a few kids are able to come. Many of our kids have regular attendance, which is wonderful!
How do I register my child(ren), and how can I let you know if they have special circumstances or needs?
Here's the link to register your kids! When you finish registering the first child, just come back and click on the link again to register the second child. It's not a long form and really helps me to keep classes safe and organized! Plus, you'll want to receive my emails about the important work we're doing in class. All children need to be registered unless they are visiting for the first or second time.
Select here to reach the application.
What happens on Sunday? Is it always the same?
On a typical Sunday, everyone gathers in the sanctuary at 10:30 for worship. After some hymns, the chalice lighting and Joys and Sorrows, the children are sung out to their classrooms. This is usually between 10:45 and 10:55. Each classroom has two adults, as we use Safe Congregations best practices. I am usually one of the adults with the Middle School class. Jacky is usually one of the adults with the Elementary class. The second adult in these classrooms is usually one of our regular teachers: Tricia, Priscilla, Kerry, or Mimi.
The nursery is staffed by responsible teens and sometimes adults. Our regular nursery providers are Ian, Allie, and Elsa.
There are times when children remain in service. We call these services multi-generational. These are special services where we gather together for congregational rituals or holidays. Some examples include:
- Water Communion - Our annual in-gathering that marks the beginning of a new church year. Sept.
- Thanksgiving/Harvest Service - November
- Christmas pageant - usually in the middle of December
- Christmas Eve service - an evening service with our highest attendance
- Religious Education Sunday - celebrating faith formation and religious exploration
Is my child expected to go to their class or what if I want my child to stay with me?
There are options so that you can be in the First Parish community in a way that feels right for you and your children!
- Your children can stay with you in the sanctuary.
- You can join your child in their classroom! No, really, you can!
- Parents are welcome to teach a class or be the second adult in the classrooms.
- Your children can go to their classes while you attend worship.
Where are the classrooms and where will my child be after the service?
There is an exit door to the left of the pulpit in the sanctuary. When children are sung out to their classes, they will exit through this door and then walk almost immediately through another door that leads to the nursery, the Chapel, and the Elementary Classroom, in that order.
When service is over around 11:30, parents can get their Elementary and Nursery aged children from the nursery or the classroom. Middle school kids are dismissed by 11:40 and can join their parents at Coffee Hour in Parish Hall. Note that Middle School usually meets in the Chapel (2nd room in the RE wing) but also meets in the Parlor (fancy room off of Parish Hall) or sometimes the RE office or Library, depending on our activity.
What if my child gets restless during the service?
Plenty of people like to keep their hands occupied to help them stay calm or focused. There are colorful, drawstring bags at the rear of the sanctuary where most people enter. These bags include rainbow scratch-off art paper, lacing boards, easy yarn embroidery, magic color sheets, Wikki Sticks, pipe cleaners, and other fun items! There are also clipboards with paper and crayons next to the bags.
What curricula are used in RE classes?
Grades PreK - 4th grade (Elementary) will be doing We Are Many, We Are One, a UU curriculum that invites our youngest children to learn about religion through relationships.What is a person? Who am I? What is my relationship to others? How do I treat other people? What are my responsibilities? What kind of world do I live in?
Through Circle Time, stories, games, and creativity, we will help our young children to feel connected to the UU faith and deepen their personal relationships within and outside of the church!
*This curriculum will be adapted to use with 3rd and 4th grades beginning in January 2018
Grades 5-8 (Middle School/Jr. Youth) are doing Neighboring Faiths Communities, a program based on visits to other churches and faith communities. This class will be engaged in experiential learning with a focus on these three dimensions of religion: emotional, material, and social.
Basically, this class will follow a 4 week structure and rotation.
Weeks 1 and 2, the class will learn the basics of the faith community, including what to expect when they arrive and basic etiquette. We will be using the book How to be a Perfect Stranger: The Essential Religious Etiquette Handbook.
Week 3, the class will take a field trip to visit the church or faith community.
Week 4, the class will debrief and discuss, with focus on the emotional and social elements of the experience. This is also a time to explore similarities and differences from previous visits with other faith communities, including Unitarian Universalism.
*Children in 4th grade who are mature for their age may be placed in the Middle School class at the DRE's discretion.
Youth - those currently in high school will be supported to pursue individual interests in the church, will work on special worship services, will have occasional social gatherings, will be made aware of regional cons to attend, and will work on service projects. Some of our Youth have committed to working in the nursery! Some of our Youth might be interested in joining us for a field trip to one or more religious communities.
I have more questions! How can I reach you?
My office is just off Parish Hall. It's in the corner with the white double doors. My office hours are Tuesday and Thursday from about 10AM-2PM. Please text or email me before you come by in case I'm in a meeting or otherwise unavailable. I'm available by phone on Wednesday during the day as well. Please email me for my cell number.