This regional collaboration came about from several like-minded, neighboring UU congregations whose youth programs were small enough to necessitate a one-room-schoolhouse model of education when they met independently. When the congregations come together, however, it results in a larger, more vibrant program that much better meets the needs of all youth.
Now, instead of having one class that ranges in age from 5 – 17, we can offer multiple classes that cater to more specific age ranges. In each age group, youth have a larger group of kids their own age to form bonds and friendships with. And with a critical mass of youth, the program can tackle deeper curriculum at all levels, and engage in more meaningful social just work.
Some UU Religious Education programs actually necessitate a larger group of similarly-aged kids: Our Whole Lives (OWL) Sexuality Education program and the Coming of Age program are ones that necessitated smaller congregations teaming up in order to run most effectively. Because of our size, our group will have access to these critical programs and rituals as participants are ready, as opposed to shoehorning them in based on the availability of partnering congregations.
This is an exploratory model and will change and adapt to fit our families’ needs as we go. I will continue to post here on our collaborative RE model, and how it develops.
Bright Blessings ~ Cynthia