Children at Church

rootsandwings When you bring your children to the First Unitarian Church you can expect a few things will happen... They may beg you to bring them back again next week. The Spirit play story will engage them and teach them about themselves and the world in which they live. Through the arts and role play, they will learn the lessons of caring for each other, lessons of compassion and empathy. When you arrive on Sunday morning, an usher or greeter can help you find a seat and introduce you to one of our Way Cool Sunday School Staff. Please let the staff know if your child has any special needs. The children generally join us for the first fifteen minutes of the service and then head to their classes. You are welcome to join them, or remain in the service- whatever works best for your family is fine. When their classes are over the children come down and join us in the Parish Hall for coffee hour. Our Way Cool Sunday School program is an opportunity for children and families to learn and grow together. After leaving the worship service children head up to Tryworks Auditorium (an elevator is available) and below is a snapshot of what our morning looks like:    Welcome and Introductions of New Friends      Gandhi Peace Greeting I offer you peace.7_principles-199152936_std I offer you friendship. I offer you love. I see your beauty. I hear your needs. I feel your feelings. My wisdom comes from a higher source. I honor that source in you. Let us work together.        Songs/Hymns to Sing         Spirit Play Stories         Working with the Spirit Play Stories through ARTWORK         Chalice Lighting         Feast         Clean up/Closing Celebrations photo-2 We know that every child is different and every child is special. There are some children at this church who have special needs and we do the best we can to care for every child. One of our mother's wrote this piece as a reminder for us to Stand on the Side of Love with all children: It Takes a Village…By Kerri C. Given the nature of Unitarian Universalism, our church has become a haven for all.  It is in our church, where every person is respected and valued for their likenesses, but especially for their differences.  Many families of children with special needs come to our church, in search of a community, where their children will not only be accepted, but encouraged to grow in their own unique way. You know the saying, "It takes a village."  However, often times parent’s of children on the Autism Spectrum or other "invisible" disabilities often feel alone and judged.  The thing to know about these families is that the "rules" of what acceptable behavior is in any given social context, most often needs to be taught in an explicit, direct manner, with a lot of repetition.  In other words, the things that typical children learn simply by watching others, children with Autism spectrum disorders, need repetition and practice to learn these social skills.  And it can be a big job!  You may notice a child who speaks out during a service, or doesn't make eye contact when spoken to, or overreacts to what might seem like a minor problem.  Inter-generational services, which are so important to our children to connecting with the whole of our congregation, can be an extra challenge for these children.  We ask our great community here to be supportive of these families as they learn and grow.  If you are interested in learning more, here are some resources on the www. Also, a wonderful blog written by a UU mom of two exceptional children!   Thank you. FindingMyGroundUU.wordpress.com www.AutismSpeaks.org