Two in the room: In keeping with the Safe Congregations Procedures we have agreed to, we require that a minimum of two adults be present in the classroom at all times. Please make sure you schedule accordingly. We have asked parents to commit to dates they will assist in the classrooms. We will do our best to inform you of who will be joining you so you can incorporate them into your plan. If you will be unable to teach on a Sunday to which you have committed, it is your responsibility to contact another member of your team to fill in for you. If you are unable to meet the two adult requirements, please notify Matt Vasko, Director of Religious Education, as early as possible.
Communicate: Be in touch with your entire team during the week prior to each class to coordinate who is leading and who is assisting. Consider spending a few minutes after class each Sunday to debrief, discuss what worked, what didn’t and why.
Prepare: Review the lesson plan ahead of time, reflecting on how you will lead discussions & activities and which components your team member can lead. If you contact Kat or Matt Vasko ahead of time with special, specific, supply needs, we would be happy to make sure the materials are pre-set in your classroom.
Arrive early: Allow enough time to set up your room, check-in with your co-teacher and parent assistant and catch your breath. Many families drop off early starting about 15 minutes before the service.
Be welcoming: Use the name tags provided in your boxes for you and your kids the first few Sundays so everyone can get to know each other. Use names frequently in your opening ritual to help the kids remember each others names. Ask the kids to help whenever you can so they feel they are a needed part of the experience. When you see them and their families outside of class, stop to say hello.
Class covenant: Early in the year, create a class covenant together which you all can sign as you agree to abide by it throughout the year. This covenant can include things about respecting one another & nature, listening, aggressive behavior, taking turns, etc.
Opening/Closing Ritual: We encourage all classes to begin with an opening ritual and chalice lighting (each classroom has a chalice, candles and matches) to connect them to some of the basic practices of our faith. Also consider a closing ritual or song. Many of our kids learned Spirit of Life last year because it was a regular part of Sunday services.
Attendance: Always take attendance in the folders provided by the YRE staff. It is crucial for us to track and report numbers as one measure of the success of our program.
Shared leadership: We encourage you to practice shared leadership in the classroom—getting the kids to co-lead activities, light the chalice (when age appropriate), say opening words etc. Avoid lecturing, emphasize doing, creating & interacting.
Communication: Questions, concerns, disciplinary issues, feedback and praise directed to:
Matt Vasko, Director of Religious Education
626-449-3470 ext. 19 email@example.com
Logistical and supply needs can be directed to:
Kat Mueller, RE Program Assistant
626-449-3470 ext. 12 firstname.lastname@example.org
Class times: Classes are held during each of the services and last approximately 1 hour to 1.25 hours: 9:30 – 10:45 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
Rooms 5 and 6: Resource room, board games, extra supplies, sports equipment
Classroom Binders: Each Sunday morning your class binder will be set out on a table. This binder includes attendance rosters, registration forms, announcements, the YRE calendar and much, much more. It is your resource and you are welcome to add to it.
Classroom Sundays: These are regular Sundays when you meet with your group for the full time allotted.
Children with special needs: If a special needs child joins or visits your class, it is appropriate for you to ask the parent to stay for the duration of the class. When possible please introduce Matt or Kat to the family or notify them as soon as possible so they can reach out to them.
First Sundays: Every first Sunday children attend the first fifteen minutes of services in the sanctuary with their families to hear the story for all ages, sing our opening hymn and participate in silent prayer. Please meet your class on the patio outside the narthex to walk with them to your classroom.
Intergenerational Services: Throughout the year, we will have Intergenerational services in which the children and youth (K – Sr. High) are in the sanctuary for the entire service. These services provide an important opportunity for children to witness first-hand the way their parents worship in the sanctuary when they would usually be in their classrooms.
Worship/Justice Sundays: Periodically, all our children will gather together for youth worship and/or an activity focused around a social justice issue. We want to provide children with the experience of ritual; to learn about the ways in which Unitarian Universalists worship, what it means to be part of a larger faith community and to forge relationships with our ministers and staff. These Sundays replace regular classroom Sundays and provide teachers with a day off.
Feedback: We encourage teaching teams to debrief lessons and provide each other with feedback. Matt will be a presence in each classroom regularly throughout the year to assist as needed, provide support and forge relationships with the children. He will also offer your teaching team feedback on the lesson observed.
Volunteer Appreciation Event: In May, the Neighborhood staff will host an event to recognize your year of service. This is a chance to celebrate, eat great food, mingle and be honored for your work. Invitations will be mailed 4-5 weeks in advance.
Incident reports/First Aid: Each classroom is equipped with a First Aid Kit. Should an incident occur, we ask that at the end of your day you fill out the details on the incident report found in your class binder. Even if the incident or injury is minor, it is important that staff is made aware so we can assist with any follow through or pastoral care needs.
Reimbursement of expenses: We will reimburse you for classroom supplies up to $10.00 per month per class. We have a wealth of supplies and materials and can always ask parents to bring in things, so spend wisely!