Children and Youth
In addition to other activities, UUCSC currently offers RE programs every Sunday morning for Toddlers (1 – 2 years), Chalice Children (3 – 6 years), Elementary Kids (7 – 11 years), Middle School Youth (12 – 14 years), and Teens (14-18 years).
At the beginning of each Sunday morning service, children typically join the rest of our community in the Sanctuary to worship with their families, and they stay through the end of the Time for All Ages portion of the service. Children and youth are then encouraged to move out into their respective learning spaces to participate in the RE Program. We request that children and youth choose to participate in the program or else remain with their guardians in the Service. Playground space is available before and after the Service.
Intergenerational Services include: All Hallows/Day of the Dead, Apple Communion on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, the special Illuminations service held each January honoring our UU heritage and history, and services dedicated specifically to youth (such as the Bridging Ceremony).
Our various children’s and youth programs provide mentorship and community with an emphasis on the following areas of concern:
Nursery: We offer a Nursery space where the very young can be at ease with their parents.
Toddlers (1-2 years): Our Toddler room provides supervised play time, during which communication and socialization are emphasized when possible and appropriate. The room offers children’s books and developmentally appropriate toys.
Rainbow Room (3-6 years): Also known as the room for our Chalice Children, this space offers children supervised play and learning targeted to fundamental values, such as kindness, compassion, and generosity. Children are also exposed to developmentally appropriate multicultural and inclusive children’s literature that emphasizes the value of wonder, curiosity, and asking questions. Mythology and folklore from various world cultures is included, as is material that values contemporary scientific understanding of the world.
Big Room (7-11 years): Children in this group explore together the various ways in which the community expresses its values in context. We work with children to develop basic skills repertoires, as well as some basic knowledge about different kinds of value systems. Examples and models from UU history and current practices are used to reinforce the value patterns embodied in our Seven Principles.
Turning Tides (12-14 years): Youth in this group are aided in their efforts to make sense of what religion is and what value it may or may not have for them. We emphasize understanding the ways in which mythologies and histories, value systems and practices, and spiritually-informed ways of knowing can come together in religion to shape personal experience, social integrity, and public morality. Historical, sociological, and global awareness and anthropologically-informed views are cultivated in order to help children evaluate their sense of participation in religious communities. As appropriate, the youth in this program may also join our Teens group on some field trips. We also explore the personal value of our Six Sources. Participation in the Turning Tides group may culminate in the Coming of Age program.
Teens (14-18 years): Youth in this group have available to them a threefold program meant to help them understand the practical realities of religious life, cosmopolitan character, and loving community in situated contexts. Children may work with adult mentors to learn to support Sunday Services, as well as other special occasions. This includes learning technical skills and critical thinking around media in support of our growing virtual community. We consider an ability to engage the contemporary media ecology in critical and responsible ways vital to any character and identity formation process for youth. Additionally, youth are provided with opportunities to learn about the various religious communities and rich religious history of Southern California—especially Los Angeles County. Youth will have opportunities to explore religious life in the Los Angeles area through field trips to visit other communities and historical sites, as well as interesting and relevant cultural institutions. We work to shape a real and abiding sense of UU identity that can inform their future lives. Participation in the Teen group may culminate in participation in the UU tradition of Bridging.
Service Sunday is the second Sunday of each month. Our covenant articulates the value of service to our community in stating that “Service is our prayer.” Service Sunday offers an opportunity for our older children in the Big Room and Turning Tides programs to begin developing a service mentality as a lifelong habit. Current projects include making sandwiches for a local food pantry and assisting in our community garden, which also provides food to the pantry.