Note from Dan

Evaluation session with kids

On Sunday, June 3, we did our annual evaluation session with children here at UUCPA. 14 children participated, representing all classes in grades K-8. First we brainstormed a list of everything the children could remember doing at church during the past year, and then the children voted on their favorite activities. I’ve included a lesson plan at the very end of this post, and a more complete description of the process is available here. The complete brainstormed list appears after this executive summary.

The children remembered a variety of kinds of church activities, ranging from Sunday services and Sunday school, to after-service activities and evening events. For regular Sunday services, the children remembered singing hymns. They also remembered two intergenerational services, Flower Communion and Water Communion, and one older child remembered being asked to speak in a Sunday service.

For Sunday school, the children in the grade 2-3 class remembered the most specific activities; this may well have been because there were more children from this class than from any other class. Many children remembered the giant Jenga game that the middle school class played after Sunday services; this game originated as a Sunday school activity. Quite a few children remembered activities from the Peace Experiment program, which is not surprising since that program just ended.

This year, the Children and Youth Religious Education Committee worked on improving the after-service activities, and this appeared to pay off in terms of what the children remembered. The children remembered (and said they liked) the second Sunday lunches and the fourth Sunday brunches, the ice cream social, the Maypole dance, and the Easter egg hunt. As in past years, the children remembered and liked drinking hot chocolate after the service, though this was not as popular as in previous years, perhaps because there is now more for children to do after the service.

More detailed information follows….

The brainstormed list

What do you remember doing at UUCPA in the past year?

baking cookies (Peace Experiments)
Easter egg hunt (after service activity)
chocolate coins (Sunday school)
drinking hot chocolate (after service activity)
making the quilt (Peace Experiments)
going to dinner in the Main Hall (evening activity)
non-competitive games (Peace Experiments)
music (Sunday school)
pizza (evening activity)
going to Mitchell Park playground (summer Sunday school)
field trip to a Buddhist temple (Purple class)
shape note singing (afternoon class)
family barbeques (evening activity)
volunteer appreciation picnic (evening activity)
second Sunday lunch (after service activity)
making Japanese kites (Sunday school)
singing hymns (in Sunday services)
giant Jenga game (Sunday school, after service activity)
making clay pots (Sunday school)
ice cream social (after service activity)
May pole dance (after service activity)
eating food of other cultures (Sunday school)
Water Communion (Sunday service)
speaking in Sunday service (Sunday service)
Flower Communion (Sunday service)
being late for church
making Jello sculpture (Sunday school)

What children liked best at UUCPA:

Easter egg hunt (5 votes)
playing/watching giant Jenga game (4)
ice cream social (3)
baking cookies (2)
making quilt (1)
dinner in the Main Hall) (1)
field trip to a Buddhist temple (1)
May pole dance (1)

The lesson plan

I/ Opening and attendance
Welcome, quick statement of what we’ll be doing today
Go around circle, every child says name, write down each name

II/ Chalice lighting
Read opening words, light chalice

III/ Assessment process — assessing what children remember from church
Brainstorm a list of everything we have done at church this year — ask children to “remember everything you have done in church since church started up in Sept.” — generate list by going around the circle, each child can say one thing they remember (when preschoolers are present, begin with them — after they have had a chance, their teachers take them off to their own activities). Choose one or two children to be Scribes and record what is said on the flip chart. Go around the circle at least twice to give a little more time to those children who need more time to remember, and because what is said might spark memories in other children

IV/ Evaluation process — evaluating what children like best about church
A. Ask the Scribe(s) to read off everything recorded on the list. Then ask children to decide what the best thing was that they have done at church all this year — allow a minute of silence.
B. After the minute of silence, go around circle, and each child gets to vote for favorite church activity — then second go-around, vote for second favorite church activity.

V/ Finish session with games