CYRE news, February 2021

From the Associate Minister of Religious Education

Now that we’re back in Purple Tier, that means it’s time to start planning for in-person classes. When we held in-person classes back in the fall, we learned a lot about COVID safety.

First of all, we learned that we need to fence off outdoor program space, to prevent people from wandering in to the program area by mistake. It’s very easy to miss signs. In the next week, I’ll be convening a task force to come up with the best way to fence off safe areas for children’s programming. If you’d be interested in joining that task force, please let me know.

Second of all, we learned that a group size of about 8 children is a good group size for what we do. This size group allows some informal social interaction. What I hear from kids is that what they miss most is informal interactions, since COVID restrictions online and even for in-person classes have cut down on the number of informal social interactions. A big part of what we do at UUCPA is social-emotional learning, so we want to continue with that as much as we can.

But we also know that in-person classes are not enough. We also need to continue with our online programs, because those programs work best for some families. At the February meeting of the Children and Youth Religious Education (CYRE) Committee, we decided to spend a somewhat greater percentage of Sunday school class time on social interaction. Online social interactions require more structure than in-person ones, so we shared best practices with each other from our experiences teaching Sunday school.

And we will also continue to send out the monthly CYRE mailing packets to kids in grades K-8. I hear from families that children appreciate receiving mail, and parents appreciate that kids have a project that doesn’t require their time.

If you have other ideas of how we might better serve your children and teens during these COVID times, please let me know.

— Dan Harper