Myrtle Fillmore, co-founder of Unity, believed that our mission is not to “entertain the children, but to draw them out.”
Our exciting curriculum is designed to draw that which is within, out of the child, rather than lecturing or the transmittal of information. Each lesson plan is designed to empower youth to use their spiritual wisdom to fulfill their soul’s purpose through activities like games, stories, crafts, affirmations, meditation, prayer and song.
We see education as a process through which we effectively support the unfolding of the child’s spiritual nature and model the living of spiritual principles. This approach honors the wisdom within each of us and uses experiences to “draw out” the truth we already know.
Uni-tots (Infants, Toddlers & Pre-K)
We provide care for children from infants to approximately 5 years old. Under the direction of the Youth Ministry, we strive to provide care each Sunday for our little ones through simple activities and lessons. Even our youngest children begin learning to love themselves and others and to experience God's love. Every week we offer unique opportunities to our youngest congregants on how they can be better communicators, friends, and make positive life choices. In this classroom, we use what is called a "Living Curriculum". The Living Curriculum is a process of spiritual support used to assist children, teens, families, and the church community in co-creating successful living. It honors the inherent wholeness and wisdom within each one of us and utilizes storytelling and experiential creative expression to “draw out” the Truth we already know. The process helps us to explore spiritual principles and to become aware of how the principles operate in our lives. In the Fall of 2017 we are using the following Supplemental curriculums to help us acheive opur goal of advancing the Spiritual Growth of our youngest congregants:
- Tales of Wonder and Imagination, By Rev. Diane Venzera
- ndUp Curriculum: Brain-Focused Strategies for Living
- The Conscious Discipline Technique, by Dr. Becky Bailey
Uni-Kids (1st– 4th Grades)
This level of Youth Ministry helps our children begin to explore basic Christian teachings and Unity Principles through a variety of activities, crafts, stories, music, and drama. We emphasize the divine potential in every child of God and teach this through a practical understanding and application of the teachings of Jesus. Every child can realize and express his or her potential for a richer and fuller life. Every week we offer a unique opportunity to learn such things as communication skills, mindfulness, problem-solving skills, motivational techniques, self-love, conflict resolution, and how to make positive choices in our lives so that we can be loving people and good friends. To assist in creating a meaningful, effective experience or lesson using the Living Curriculum philosophy, we use a six-point checklist as a guide:
1. Identify which issue, theme, or need is currently active in our group's lives. Choose a story, movie passage, song, Bible story, or experiential activity that will introduce the issue/theme and help the participants connect to it.
2. Write a brief intention, keeping it open-ended to allow for the outcome to be different for each individual. We start with words like: “to explore, discover, understand, experience, examine, feel or share.”
3. Find a method to explore the issue or theme in order to make it relevant, for example: “wonder questions,” e.g. “I wonder what (the character in the story) thought/was feeling when ...,” role-playing, puppets, visualization, meditation, etc. The purpose is to move into the heart space rather than analyzing.
4. Use open-ended questions, worded to avoid yes/no answers, to progress from safe, “out there” answers to more internal “in here” answers:
- What is happening in the story? (Stay with the facts and save interpretation for later.)
- How do you see this experience in the world? (Ask a bridging question that looks at how it is showing up in school, community, or the world.)
- How do you see this experience in your daily life? How do you see yourself in this character? (Share personal stories both factually and from the heart, deepening community.)
- How are you going to use this experience in your life? (Putting principle into practice)
- How would you like it to be? (Seeing with the eyes of Christ, making different choices)
5. Choose an open-ended activity to awaken the story within, for example: art activities, music, movement, games, journaling etc. Expressing spirituality is a multi-sensory experience.
6. Allow time for participants to share, if they choose, what the experience awakened in them. Encourage action related to the story.
Uni-Teens (5th - 8th Grade)
Our young teens have their own youth group, which helps them explore issues and ideas that are relevant to their lives and spirituality. We use a variety of methods, which include discussion, Bible, stories, music, creative expression, experiential activities and field trips. Since peer relationships and fun are central to this age, special emphasis is put on the fellowship aspect of this group. Parties, fundraisers, service projects and regional events provide a fantastic opportunity for young teens to experience their own spirituality and form lasting friendships. We use a supplemental curriculum in this classroom titled "What Do You Stand For?, for Teens - A Guide to Building Character", by Barabara Lewis. This book helps teens become a person of good character and teaches them that they are able to build their own positive character traits such as Caring, Choice and Accountability, Communication, Courage, Empathy, Forgiveness, Honesty, Integrity, Leadership, Peacefulness, Problem Solving, and Positive Relationships.
"Within you are all the answers you need to live a happy, successful life, no matter what is going on around you. The "I" of the storm is a place of peace and understanding that you can always find when you return to your heart. When students find and express the love and peace that we are, we can be the change as we contribute to peace on earth." - Jane Simmons
Y.O.U. (Youth of Unity - 9th - 12th Grade)
Older teens have a Youth Group designed especially for them. Here they explore some of the deeper issues of spirituality and growing up. Teachers and Sponsors provide classes in Bible, Unity Principles, Self-exploration, etc., but the group is teen-centered. Youth of Unity members have ample opportunities to interact and form important friendships locally, regionally and nationally through leadership training, rallies, service projects and conferences planned with other Youth of Unity Chapters. The teens experience a self-led spiritual experience with adults as the guides. We focus on a variety of issues and use "The Family Virtues Guide", by Linda Kavelin Popov as a resource for discussions. Our intention is to help teens discover the power that they have within and how to use it for a positive life experience.
For the Uniteens and Y.O.U., the Living Curriculum serves to empower the youth to use spiritual wisdom to fulfill their souls’ purpose and actively supports the students in their unfolding, as well as assisting them in developing skill at living spiritual principles.