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:
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:
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.
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.
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.