|A Unitarian Universalist
of Jerome Berryman's
developed by Nita Penfold, D. Min.
Rev. Ralph Roberts
and Beverly Leute Bruce
with grants from the
Unitarian Sunday School Society
and The Fund for Unitarian Universalism
We see the purpose of religious education as helping children in
living into their own answers to the existential questions: Where did
we come from? What are we doing here? How do we choose to live
our lives? What happens when we die?
We use the Montessori approach and Berryman's morning as worship
approach for the structure of the morning. As in Montessori, the key
elements are the classroom environment and the teachers. These
elements free the children to work at their own pace on their own
issues after an initial lesson.
The Door Keeper helps the children get ready to enter the classroom
as parents drop them off.
The Storyteller leads the circle in the story of the day, followed by the
Children choose an art response or to work with a story previously
heard, helped by the Door Keeper.
Children clean up, followed by a feast (snack) with the Storyteller.
Leave-taking is a formal process of saying good-bye to the Storyteller
when parents arrive and children are ready.
Stories have been developed in the following categories:
Unitarian Universalist Lessons and Stories
Stories of the Mystery
Beginnings and Endings
Ways to Pray
Heroes and Heroines
Montessori Philosophy: Based in a proven educational
method whose values support Unitarian Universalism:
Encourages independent thinking through wondering questions
Gives children real choices within the structure of the morning
Creates community of children in classroom of mixed ages
Develops an underlying sense of the spiritual and the mystery of life
Supports congregational polity through choice of lessons
Volunteers were found to value the program as part of their own
Volunteers have commented on the low preparation time for weekly stories
Dr. Nita Penfold, Director
for further information
If you are
already a Spirit
Play Teacher or
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