Signs of spring are showing up all around me as I write this. I especially am appreciating all the different birds that I missed hearing over the winter. For Religious Education, this means we are winding down from another church school season.
This was to be the year that we tighten our church school community. One of the ways we chose to accomplish this goal (and we did accomplish it), was to have a one room, all ages classroom.
A Rainforest curriculum was chosen to embrace our 7th Principle, “spiritual teachings of Earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature”, or, as stated in the children’s simplified version, “valuing our interdependence with nature”.
We found that the younger children benefitted most, but the curriculum wasn’t as engaging for the older students, so they branched off into another curriculum which deviated from our “one room classroom” model, however, was a necessary move in order to keep the older students coming. So, all was not lost from this experiment, it helped to achieve our goals, to re-evaluate and rediscover the sense of community that was needed and to implement a creative solution to an attendance concern. Currently, our regular Religious Education attendance is hovering around 50%, which is above our average.
Our fifth and sixth grade level sexuality program was successful, with a total of six students in regular attendance. Two of those students were from the outside community, so that was a nice surprise, that says a lot about our program.
Our Coming Of Age program is still happening and is six students strong. Thanks to the classroom leadership of M.E. Tanabe, Sue McCowin, and our intern ministers, Michelle Lattanzio and Misha Lentz, and of course, the amazing mentors who deserve status of “elite member” of this church community.
Strong programs such as the ones we have offered this season are what strengthen the ties of our church community and quite possibly the community around us. I think we still have a lot to offer, and we are doing it, one church season at a time.