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Cooperative Religious Exploration for Children, Youth, and Families

Faith Formation at First Parish in Brookline is embraced by the community as a place of connection and growth at every age. The goals of the Religious Exploration program are to help each person develop a respect for her or his own self worth, concern for others, an enjoyment and appreciation of worship, reverence for the sacred and all life, rich and meaningful spiritual life, and an enduring connection with Unitarian Universalism.

We offer a Faith Formation experience drawn from our Unitarian Universalist traditions, which affirms the great spiritual truths of all religions. We seek to assist each child in nurturing a spiritual life, ethical awareness, Unitarian Universalist identity, and faith development. The Religious Exploration Committee and the Coordinator of Religious Exploration carefully choose our curricula that best fit these objectives in age-appropriate groupings.

Find the right way to connect with RE!

There is a diversity of ways for parents, families and young people to connect with each other and First Parish.

RE parents and families – please consider one or more of these ways to connect with each other and our RE program. Find additional details in the most recent RE email in your inbox.

  1. So that parents can connect and communicate, without increasing the number of emails that you receive, we have created a private Facebook group for our RE families.
    Connect with the RE program and other RE parents, by joining our private Facebook group, RE@FPB
  2. Although we will not be having regular in-person RE classes, we are looking for periodic opportunities for outdoor in-person opportunities for community and connection. Additionally, we will be facilitating matching families that are interested in joining First Parish Family clusters. Each cluster will consist of 2-4 families (depending on family size) that can serve as a point of contact, community, and connection during these times. Although we will be making the matches, the actual activities of the clusters will be determined by your interests and needs.
    Consider joining a First Parish Family Cluster
  3. Register for age-specific RE programming

Age-specific Programming

Age-specific RE programming is starting up, with a few changes (if you have previously participated!). We will streamline from six classes in the K-9 age range to four classes, while also adding a family curriculum for our families with preschoolers. We are also expanding our @Home offerings to minimize Zoom fatigue for both parents and children. Brief summaries of our age-specific RE programming are below.

2-5 year olds: P.O.P. (Parents of Preschoolers)

POP (Parents of Preschoolers) is a video-based, at-home curriculum grounded in Unitarian Universalism and designed for parents and caregivers of children ages 2-5.

By engaging with POP videos, parents and caregivers will learn to understand their child’s spiritual development, to build rituals that support this development, and to see themselves as spiritual teachers.

View the curriculum trailer

Kindergarten to Grade 2: Spirit Play @ Home

We will continue to offer Spirit Play, our Montessori-based UU storytelling curriculum, but as a box ministry. Each month we will send you and your child a box that includes the items needed to create two Spirit Play story boxes. Once you have the opportunity to put the boxes together, there will be videos available that tell the story alongside your childs exploration. Each box will include the text of the stories and questions or prompts for family discussion.

Grades 3, 4, and 5: CartUUning Around @ Home

CartUUns uses animated shorts from Pixar and Disney as the basis for discussion about the values inherent in Unitarian Universalism. These short animated films run only 3-ll minutes long, making it easy to keep a child’s attention. Not only will this curriculum help you and your kid(s) think about the specific animated shorts featured in a given month, but is designed to help increase critical media literacy.  Each month families will be sent an email with information about featured shorts during the month, as well as discussion prompts and possible accompanying activities. There will be periodic opportunities for the movie watch parties and optional zoom meet-ups. Dates will be selected in consultation with families.

Grades 6, 7, and 8: Anti-Racist Exploration and Action Book Club!

Our coming of Age classes are experiencing the most changes this year. Since we are not able to offer OWL (Our Whole Lives) virtually and not able to do in-person visits for Neighboring Faiths, we thought this was the perfect moment to engage in a year of intentional anti-racist exploration and action. This Book Is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work will provide the structure for our exploration, but we will also feature activists from other faith traditions and youth activists throughout the year.  Gatherings will primarily occur on Zoom (2-3 times a month), but there will be opportunities for  participation and connection for young people that are not interested in virtual participation. Dates and times will be selected in consultation with families.

Grade 9: Challenge

Our UU community has a long commitment to the journey of youth to articulate what they have given their heart to.  Through rigorous experiential learning, peer and mentor discussions, spiritual guidance, and worship — our year-long Challenge experience will guide youth to answer the questions:  What is my spiritual practice?  Who are the people that I connect with in my faith community?  How might I live out my faith in the world?  This program culminates with the youth offering a worship service in which they share their Faith Statements with the congregation.  Challenge sessions will occur on Zoom (2-3 times a month) on Sunday evenings.  In addition to Sunday sessions, there will be a virtual retreat and writing weekend.  Dates and times will be selected in consultation with Challengers.

Register for age specific RE programming

Youth Announcements

  • Looking for volunteer opportunities? We would love to offer the possibility of youth tutoring for our youth First Parishioners.
  • Do you have strong opinions? Consider joining the youth needs assessment team and help guide our youth conversations this year.
  • Are you doing cool activist work? We would love to spotlight your work in our middle school class focused on anti-racist exploration and action!
  • Do you have tech experience at school or in theatre? There are opportunities to support our virtual worship services through in-person tech support on Sunday mornings.