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Children & Youth Programs

Unikids

Birth - 5th Grade

COVID Update

While the Unikids are unable to meet in person they are meetiing online each Sunday. Please visit the Digital Connections page for more information. 

Welcome to the Unikids Corner

We aim to make Sunday feel markedly different than the school week.  After all, this is a day of rest to commune with God, our inner knowing, family, and our precious church community!  To that end, Unikids Coordinator, Lisa Vail, and our caring Guides have created a unique environment where learning and spiritual growth happens organically, children feel empowered to make choices on how they spend their time with us, where child-led ideas are welcomed and implemented, and lifelong bonds are forged.  Here, “learning to be” takes precedence over “learning to know”, utilizing many progressive childhood education concepts, such as:

 

One-Room Schoolhouse, Mixed Age Grouping: 

The one-room schoolhouses of old may have been born out of necessity but actually provided many benefits lost to today’s typical segregation of children into age groups. 

Research-based findings of age-integrated environments include:

  • – Mixed-age classrooms mimic natural family structures and community groupings (aka the real world!)
  • – Leadership, self-esteem and empathy arise in older children when there are younger children in their lives who look up to them
  • – Younger children enjoy the attention and modeling provided by the older children
  • – Almost everyone in our Sunday classes has someone to be a mentor to, as well as be mentored
  • – Siblings spend precious time together
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Balanced Structured/Unstructured Time:

Most children spend their week on a very structured schooling routine- we want their Sundays with us to feel liberating and inspired!  We have worked hard to strike a balance between letting the children enjoy unstructured play in our intriguing classroom and outdoor spaces, work on a service project or catch up and connect with their church family with curriculum and lessons on secular ethics, mindfulness, Unity Principles, exposure to different religions and other social, emotional and spiritual learning.

 

 

Choice Within Set Boundaries:

 

Research indicates how valuable choice-making is to children’s development into happy, confident humans. So we like to offer choices whenever possible!  This is a typical, choice-filled 

Sunday in Unikids:

           11:00-11:30 am:  Children can explore and play, put on a show on our outdoor stage, garden, participate in an art-related service project (ex. making Family Promise signs or thank you and get-well cards) come up with their own project or game with other children, hang out in our sitting area with church friends, be a buddy to a new or younger child in need of support, or all of the above and more!

          11:30-11:45 am:  We call everyone together for a Circle Time gathering, where we can all greet one another, discuss a topic that’s impactful to the kids, contemplate the Unity Principles, recite the Prayer for Protection and hear about the options on offer for the rest of our time together.  A favorite ritual is passing around an energy stick while we all hold hands – a great reminder that we are all one!  This is a part of our time together that we encourage everyone to participate in, to the best of their abilities, as it is our time as a community to connect and support each other.

         11:45-12:30 pm:  We try to have a special guest every week, who lead the children who would like to participate in yoga, meditation, peace crane-making, tapping, leadership development, storytelling, religious teachings, etc.  We find it is more enjoyable for all when children decide for themselves if they are able to participate fully.  Alternative options often revolve around older children reading a book with a positive message to younger children, before resuming play. 

 
Guides rather than Teachers: 

The concept of Guides rather than teachers is a direct influence from the philosophies of education reformer Maria Montessori, and is becoming the preferred role of adult interaction within many progressive private schools.  Instead of “teaching”, Unikids Guides have a different intention; namely, to create the environment where every child feels nurtured, empowered and connected to his God-self.  

 

Here is a sampling of what a Unikids Guide’s Sunday with the kids might look like:  

  • – Greet each child warmly and spend time getting to know them
  • – Look for children in need of connection and play match-maker with another child if possible (giving them an opportunity to be helpful and empathetic)
  • – Redirect over-excited or potentially unsafe behavior using positive techniques (ex. ask rough housers to brainstorm how they can modify their game so it’s more safe, or enlist “chill” older kids to hang out with a high-spirited young one)
  • – Be on the lookout and acknowledge kindnesses
  • – Set up opportunities for children to get to be a leader and show kindness (ex. If a small child asks you to tie their shoe, ask a nearby older child if they would like to do it-then watch them beam with pride!)
  • – Facilitate meaningful group discussions
  • – Help children implement ideas they have come up with  

Visiting Us for the First Time?

Download the Unikids Infprmation for Parents here, and the Registration form here, and bring it with you when you come, or email it to our Unikids Coordinator, Lisa Vail

Lisa Vail

Lisa Vail

Unikids Director

Contact Lisa
Unikids in Action
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