Preschoolers

On Sunday mornings:

Red class: Preschoolers (ages 3-5) may attend Red class if they wish. Red class meets in Room 1 (near the Main Hall) from mid-August through May. Preschoolers may attend the first part of the service with their parents, and leave for Red class when the other children leave. Parents are always welcome to join their child/ren in Red class.

Our Red class teachers are not able to change diapers, so parents of preschoolers who are 3 years old but not yet toilet trained should talk with the teachers to see if Red class is a good choice.

Staying in the service: Preschoolers are always welcome to stay with their parents in the service in the Main Hall. Note that if your child needs to be active, you can take your child in the lobby where you can hear and watch the service without worrying about disturbing others. Also, the ushers have a limited number of earpieces that allow you to hear the service while playing with your child on the playground.

Child care options: Preschoolers who are at least three years old may go to child care in Room 2/3. Our child care workers in Room 2/3 are not able to change diapers; however, the child care workers in Room 7/8 can accommodate 3 year olds who are not toilet trained.

RED CLASS CURRICULUM:

1. Chalice Children, 2013-2014 and 2015-2016

To preview this curriculum on Google Books, click here. Below is the schedule we will be following for 2015-2106, including the story books we plan to read to the children each week. You might want to find these story books in your local library, and try reading them to your children in the week after each lesson, to help reinforce what happens at Sunday school!

“Chalice Children” curriculum plan for 2015-2016:

8/30, Session 1: Welcome to Chalice Children
I Wish I Were a Butterfly, by James Howe

9/6, Labor Day, no Sunday School

9/13, Session 2: A Tour of the Church
(no story book used)

9/20, Session 3: Making Clay Chalices
Old Turtle, by Douglas Wood

9/27, Session 4: Memory Game
(no story book used)

10/4, Session 6: Fall Plantings
Planting a Rainbow, by Lois Ehlert

10/11, Session 8: Chalice Flannel Board
Maggie and the Pirates, by Ezra Jack Keats

10/18, Session 9: Helping Others
Who’s Sick Today? by Lynne Cherry

10/25, Session 10: A Special Jigsaw Puzzle
Swimmy, by Leo Lionni

11/1, Session 12: Feeling sad
The Tenth Good Thing about Barney, by Judith Viorst

11/8, Session 13: Wedding and Services of Union
Families Are Different, by Nina Pellegrini

11/15, Session 16: Thanksgiving with Chalice Children
Thanksgiving Treat, by Catherine Stock

11/22, Intergenerational Thanksgiving service

11/29, Session 17: How Many Days Until Christmas?
Christmas in the Barn, by Margaret Wise Brown

12/6, Session 18: Candles for Winter Holidays
My First Kwanzaa Book, by Deborah M. Newton Chocolate

12/13, Session 14: Babies
Owl Babies, by Martin Waddell

12/20, No-rehearsal Christmas pageant, intergenerational service

12/27, Christmas break, no Sunday school

1/3, Session 15: A Visit from Baby
More More More Said the Baby, by Vera B. Williams

1/10, Session 27: Rainbows
A Rainbow of My Own, by Don Freeman

1/17, Session 19: Celebrate Love for Valentine Day
Love You Forever, by Robert Munsch

1/24, Session 24: Wondering about Stars
Draw Me a Star, by Eric Carle

1/31, Intergenerational service on the flaming chalice

2/7, Session 25: Wondering about the Moon
Happy Birthday Moon, by Frank Asch

2/14, Session 28: Dreams
Dreamcatcher, by Audrey Osofsky
and Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown

2/21, Session 29: Imaginations
Tail Toes Eyes Ears Nose, by Marilee Robin Burton

2/28, Session 30: My Shadow
I Have a Friend, by Keiko Narahashi

3/6, Session 31: Block Sunday
Block City, by Robert Louis Stevenson

3/13, Session 32: Teddy Bear Month: Friendship
Frog and Toad Are Friends, by Arnold Lobel

3/20, Session 33: Teddy Bear Month: Fixed!
Corduroy, by Don Freeman

3/27, Session 34: Teddy Bear Month: Lost!
This Is the Bear and the Scary Night, by Sarah Hayes

4/3, Intergenerational Easter Service, no Sunday School

4/10, Session 35: Teddy Bear Party
A Pocket for Corduroy, by Don Freeman

4/17, Session 23: May Day
Play with Me, by Marie Hall Ets

4/23, Closing session
I Like To Be Little, by Charlotte Zolotow

 

2. We Are Many We Are One, 2014-2015 and 2016-2017

To preview this curriculum on Google Books, click here. Below is the schedule we will be following for 2014-2105, including the story books we plan to read to the children each week. You might want to find these story books in your local library, and try reading them to your children in the week after each lesson, to help reinforce what happens at Sunday school!

 

“We Are Many, We Are One” curriculum plan for 2014-2015:

8/24, Introductory session: Name games and fun

8/31, holiday, no Sunday school

9/7, Session 1: Each of us is important and special
Arthur’s Nose, Marc T. Brown

9/14: Bass Lake weekend, child care only

9/21, Session 2: Here we meet friends
Bill and Pete, Tomie de Paola

9/28, Session 27 (Mid-autumn Moon Festival): The moon belongs to everyone
Happy Birthday, Moon, Fred Asch

10/5, Session 3: Congregations are places of caring
Miss Rumphius, Barbara Cooney

10/12, Session 5: Each tree is special
The Tree in the Ancient Forest, Carol Reed-Jones

10/19, Session 6: We must care for trees
The Great Kapok Tree, Lynne Cherry

10/26, Session 12: Differences are interesting
Why Am I Different?, Norma Simon

11/2, Session 26 (Halloween): Monsters can be nice!
Some of My Best Friends Are Monsters, Bruce Coville

11/9, Session 13: Both boys and girls can
Bellybuttons Are Navels, Mark Schoen

11/16, Session 15: Everyone is afraid of something
The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything, Linda Williams

11/23, Intergenerational Thanksgiving service

11/30, Session 16: We can be angry without hurting others
Dinah’s Mad, Bad Wishes, Barbara Joosee

12/7, Session 29 (Hanukkah): Different religions celebrate different holidays
Potato Pancakes All Around, Marilyn Hirsch

12/14, Session 30 (Christmas): Christmas is a time of sharing our love
Christmas in the Stable, Astrid Lindgren

12/21, No-rehearsal Christmas pageant

12/8, Christmas break, no Sunday school

1/4, Session 17: Our good wishes can come true
Three Wishes, Lucille Clifton

1/11, Session 18: All kinds of families are for caring
Families Are Different, Nina Pellegrini

1/18, Session 19: Wee need our families
A Chair for My Mother, Vera B. Williams

1/25, Session 20: We all belong to the family of Earth
Somos Un Arco Iris / We Are a Rainbow, Nancy Maria Grande Tabor

2/1, Intergenerational service on the flaming chalice

2/8, Session 21: Cooperation means helping one another
Helping, James Levin and Jackie Carter

2/15, Session 33 (Valentine’s Day): Love means saying and doing
Loving, Ann Morris

2/122, Session 22: People of all colors are important
El Chino, Allen Say

3/2, Session 32 (Chinese New Year): Celebrating a new year
[story is in curriculum]

3/8, Session 24: We begin life in a wonderful way
On the Day You Were Born, Debra Frasier

3/15, Session 25: Bodies are different
Howie Helps Himself, Joan Fassler

3/22, Session 8: We need the rain
Listen to the Rain, Bill Martin, Jr., and John Archambault

3/29, Session 34 (Easter): We remember what is important
The Tenth Good Thing About Barney, Judith Viorst

4/5, Intergenerational Easter service

4/12, Session 9: Spring makes our earth beautiful
The Cherry Tree, Daisaku Ikeda

4/19, Session 10: Spring brings changes to our Earth
The Happy Day, Ruth Kraus

4/26, Session 11: We must care for our Earth
The World That Jack Built, Ruth Brown

5/3, Session 36: We give thanks for our year together
I Like to Be Little, Ethan Jubbard

 

3. Building Blocks of Meditating: Spring, 2014; Spring, 2016.

Complete curriculum below.

 


BUILDING BLOCKS OF MEDITATING

A six-week curriculum for preschoolers (age 3-5), to introduce them to the basics of meditation. Using stories, games, and other activities, young children learn about meditation — plus they learn some simple age-appripriate meditation techniques. Field tested at the UU Church of Palo Alto, April-May, 2014, with a class size of 4-8 children.

Copyright (c) 2014 Kris Geering.
Used by permission. If you would like permission to reproduce this curriculum, you can contact Kris through UUCPA’s office.

Week One
Week Two
Week Three
Week Four
Week Five
Week Six

 

WEEK 1

Materials: Peaceful Piggy Meditation, by Kerry Lee MacLean; chalice & match, pillows, bell or gong

Opening: ~10-15 minutes

Check-in and attendance (5 minutes)
Chalice lighting (2 minutes)
Wiggle Time! (Sing silly song such as “Shake my Sillies Out”) (5-7 minutes, as needed)

Book: Peaceful Piggy Meditation. ~10 minutes

Discussion: What is meditation? Why do people meditate? How do you meditate?

Activity: Meditate. ~10 minutes

(Be aware very young children may start only being able to be quiet for a few seconds. At most, expect children to sit silently for one minute per age—but probably far less to start.)

Have children get a pillow to sit on. Once they’re settled, introduce gong. Talk about how it sounds, how the sound lingers. Ring gong and ask children to see if they can hear it as it gets softer and softer. Then ask children to sit on their pillows and breathe in and out. Ask them to follow your breaths in and out. Ask them to pay attention to the sound of their breath, both as it goes out of their bodies and the sound when it comes into their bodies. Ask them to keep breathing while you ring the gong again, and ask them to be very silent so they can hear the gong until the sound is completely gone.

Discussion: What was your favorite part of meditating? What did your breathing sound like? Was it easy to sit still and quiet?

Free play: ~15 minutes

Let children explore materials in class until parents can come to pick them up.

 

WEEK 2

Materials: The Quiet Book, by Deborah Underwood; chalice & match, bell or gong

Opening: ~10-15 minutes

Check-in and attendance (5 minutes)
Chalice lighting (2 minutes)
Snack (3 minutes)
Loud Time! (Have kids find different ways to be loud—use hands, feet, mouths, etc.) (5-7 minutes, as needed)

Book: The Quiet Book. ~7 minutes

Discussion: What are ways you are quiet sometimes? Are there different kinds of quiet?

Activity: Meditate. ~10 minutes

(Be aware very young children may start only being able to be quiet for a few seconds. At most, expect children to sit silently for one minute per age — but probably far less to start.)

Have children sit or lie on floor. Explain you’re going to try to be quiet like a tree. Have everyone practice for a moment. Then explain you’re going to ring the gong, and you’d like everyone to be quiet like a tree until the sound of the gong is gone. Then see if they can hear the quiet after the gong.

Discussion: Did you like being quiet like a tree? Was the quiet different after the gong stopped ringing? What is your favorite way to be quiet?

Free play: ~15 minutes

Let children explore materials in class until parents can come to pick them up.

 

WEEK 3

Materials: Angry Octopus: A Relaxation Story, by Lori Lite, illustrated by Max Stasuyk; chalice & match, CD player and soothing music

Opening: ~10-15 minutes

Check-in and attendance (5 minutes)
Chalice lighting (2 minutes)
Snack (3 minutes)
Emotional Octopuses (Pretend to be octopuses swimming around room and experiment with how it moves based on how it’s feeling — angry, happy, sad, shy, joyful, etc.) (5-7 minutes, as needed)

Book: Angry Octopus. ~7 minutes

Discussion: How was the octopus feeling when he first woke up? After he saw his garden? How did he feel after the sea child spoke to him? What did she tell him to do?

Activity: Meditate. ~10 minutes

(Be aware very young children may start only being able to be quiet for a few seconds. At most, expect children to sit silently for one minute per age—but probably far less to start.)

Have children lie on floor. Explain you’re going to try to relax just like the sea child taught the octopus. Start soothing music. Take children through guided relaxation exercise, tensing and relaxing muscles from toes to head (like in book). Take your time, use a soothing voice, and follow the children’s lead in terms of timing. Be sure to leave a few moments at the end to let them sink further into relaxation.

Discussion: Are you feeling relaxed? We got to be tense, or have our muscles all squished up tight, just like the octopus some of the time. Which felt better to you — being tense or relaxed? The next time you’re really angry or upset, do you think you might try to be like the octopus and get back in charge of your body again?

Free play: ~15 minutes

Let children explore materials in class until parents can come to pick them up.

 

WEEK 4

Materials: Each Breath a Smile, by Thich Nhat Hanh, Sister Susan, illustrated by Nguyen Thi Hop & Nguyen Dong; chalice & match, cups, bendable straws, dish soap, cotton balls/tissue balls/etc.

Opening: ~10-15 minutes

Check-in and attendance (5 minutes)
Chalice lighting (2 minutes)
Tiny Tornadoes (have kids pretend they’re tornadoes or wind storms — they can swoosh with their breath, fly around the room, etc.) (5-7 minutes, as needed)
Snack (5-10 minutes; I often have the kids eat during story time)

Book: Each Breath a Smile. ~7 minutes

Discussion: What was this story about? (listen to their versions) What is breathing? Why do we breathe? How do we breathe? Can we breathe differently at different times?

Activity: Breathe. ~10 minutes

We are going to play some games* that help us breathe in different ways. Some of these ways to breathe can help us meditate when we want to feel calm.
— Breath Bubbles: Give each child a cup with about an inch of water and a drop of dish soap. Have the children blow through a straw into the liquid (don’t drink it!), seeing how many bubbles they can make. Ask them to experiment with their breath to see if the bubbles change based on if they breathe fast or slow, hard or soft.
— Snorkel Breath: Have kids put the smaller portion of their straw in their mouths, bent with the longer portion sticking straight up. Pretend you are all swimming under water. Breathe in through the nose, breathe out through the straw. Take the “snorkel” out from time to time and tell us what sea creature you’re seeing!
— Breath Ball: Have kids lie on their tummies. Take the (now empty) cups from earlier and lie them on their sides about 3 feet in front of the kids. Place a cotton ball on the floor in front of each child. Ask the kids to blow through their straw and try to get the ball into the cup. If it’s too easy, move the cup farther away, or even ask them to blow it into other kids’ cups. Tell kids that a long breath in and a long breath out will give them the most control over their balls.
[*Breathing games are taken and adapted from Breathe, Chill: A Handy Book of Games and Techniques Introducing Breathing, Meditation and Relaxation to Kids and Teens, by Lisa Roberts RYT, RCYT]

Discussion: Breathing can be fun, huh? How did it feel to breathe those different ways? Did you have a favorite? Why was that your favorite—how did you feel when you were breathing that way?

Free play: ~15 minutes

Let children explore materials in class until parents can come to pick them up.

 

WEEK 5

Materials: Moody Cow Learns Compassion, by Kerry Lee MacLean; chalice & match, crickets or worms from bait shop

Opening: ~10-15 minutes
Check-in and attendance (5 minutes)
Chalice lighting (2 minutes)
Snack (5-10 minutes; I often have the kids eat during story time)

Book: Moody Cow Learns Compassion. ~7 minutes

Discussion: What does compassion mean? With whom can we be compassionate?

Activity: Compassion Walk. ~10 minutes

“We are going to take these (crickets/worms) out into our garden. I got these at a shop where they might have been fed to other animals. Instead of that, though, we’re going to set them free, just like what happened in our book.” — Take children outside into garden (Be careful where you step! We don’t want to hurt the baby plants, or step on any bugs by accident!), and find a place where everyone wants to release the crickets/worms. As you release them into the garden, have everyone chant, “May you be happy, crickets/worms! May all creatures be happy!”

Discussion/Free Play: ~15 minutes

For this session, forego a formal discussion and let the children explore the garden. Encourage a mindful presence when possible, noting the sights, sounds, and smells all around (although kids tend to be much better at being in the moment than we adults!). Let the garden exploration morph into free play — just leave a note in the classroom telling parents where to pick up the kids!

 

WEEK 6

Materials: Moody Cow Meditates (by Kerry Lee MacLean), chalice & match, clear jars with lids for each child, glitter glue, glitter, hot water, clear dish soap, model “mind jar” if available

Opening: ~10-15 minutes

Check-in and attendance (5 minutes)
Chalice lighting (2 minutes)
Snack (5-10 minutes; I often have the kids eat during story time)

Book: Moody Cow Meditates. ~7 minutes

Discussion: How did Moody Cow meditate? Did he use any tools? What is a mind jar?

Activity: “Mind Jar” Creation. ~10 minutes

Follow instructions for creating mind jars with each child (see the end of this lesson plan). Encourage children to help in the project, but be sure adults only handle the hot water. Let children know that they are free to go play when they are finished.

Free Play: ~15 minutes

Let children explore classroom and playground in back of class.

How to make Mind Jars

Materials: Clear jar with lid (if using with young children consider fragility of jar), Glitter Glue, Glitter, Hot Water, Clear liquid soap (dish soap is good), **Optional: glue to affix lid

Step 1: Put about 1 cup hot water into jar.

Step 2: Put about 2 Tbl. glitter glue into jar. (More will make the settling last longer; aim for approx. 1 min per age. Two Tbl. will be about 2 minutes.)

Step 3: Add 2-3 drops of clear soap.

Step 4: Stir gently to break glue up.

Step 5: Add enough glitter to make a 1-2 inch pile on bottom.

Step 6: Fill rest of jar with water.

Step 7: Put lid on top, shake it up and see what happens! If it settles too fast, add more glue. If it takes too long, pour some of the mixture out and add in more water.

For more detailed instructions, with photos of each step, click here.

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