Frequently Asked Questions 

What would you like to know?

I'm wondering about the content of classes for children and youth. 
The detailed information by class level can be found at _______ in the Religious Education Prospectus. (available mid-August) 
 

We’d like to visit the church with our children. Should we sign up?

We’d love to have you visit. Please email me, Layne Richard -Hammock Program Director at (LRichard-Hammock@wsuuc.org). I can help you prepare your children for their Sunday experience.  If making contact prior to you visit does not work, no worries, we'll welcome you on Sunday. Your family can attend the sanctuary worship together on the first Sunday you visit, or your children are welcome to attend Religious Education classes. You are also welcome to be with your child/ren in class as they become comfortable. Nursery care is also available for infants-24 months. We ask that you complete a visitor card at the Religious Education table, and encourage you to leave your cell phone number with your children's teacher or childcare giver. You will receive a warm welcome.

What time are the classes for children and youth?

Classes are held most Sundays during the Worship hour from 10:15 to 11:25 . Our sanctuary service ends at 11:15, which gives parents some brief time to socialize before they pick up their children from class spaces.  Children grades 5 and older will be released to find their adults. 4th and younger, adults are requested to come to the class space at 11:25 to pick up your kiddos. 

How do I register my child for Religious Exploration Classes?

You may register on-line at our website, www.wsuuc.org. You may also secure a registration form at the Religious Education table located in the East hallway. You will be asked for information about any “special needs” and health insurance on the registration form. Your answers help us to provide the best, safest learning environment and opportunities for your children.

What safety procedures are in place to protect children and youth who attend your Sunday School?

West Shore Church has a board approved safety policy for children and youth. The Religious Education Committee determines the procedures to support the policy. We require a parent or designated adult to be in the building when a child/youth attends Sunday morning church school or activity. We require adult volunteers who work with children and youth to complete an application, sign a code of ethics, provide references and submit information and consent for a mandatory background check. All classrooms have two adults present at all times, and safety procedures are in place. West Shore Church practices an all-church fire drill each fall. Further requirements regarding transportation of children and youth, activities at church and off-site, etc., are stated in our Safety Policy and Procedures document. These procedures are posted on the church bulletin board and on our website. For a printed copy, please contact the church office or the Director of Lifespan Faith Development. The procedures reflect the policies of the Ohio-Meadville District and apply to all West Shore and Ohio-Meadville sponsored events in which children and youth are present, such as events sponsored by the Religious Education Committee, the Youth/Adult Committee (YAC) sponsored events and Youth Caucus at the O-MD Annual Meeting.

Please plan to attend regularly.

It is our hope that parents will ensure their children's consistent church attendance so they may benefit most deeply from their involvement. In many ways ours is a cooperative program, and support and volunteer time from parents is both expected and appreciated.

What opportunities do children and youth have to practice social action, to learn about giving to the community and to the world?

Our first and seventh principles, that we affirm and promote “the inherent worth and dignity of every person,” and “respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part,” encourage us to teach the UU values of social action. Faith development content and experiences support “walking the walk.” NEW this year (2015-16), we’ll be expanding the tradition of giving an offering during Children’s Chapel gatherings and adding this element as part of weekly class time. We’ll begin a shift toward viewing the time together in Sunday morning classes through the lens of ’liturgy’ that will, in broad strokes, mirror the worship liturgy in our adult services. Children and youth will have an opportunity to give an ‘offering’ weekly. These funds will be given to support a cause of their choice, discerned together, through our 5th principle, the use of the democratic process. Principles in Action!

In the past, our children’s offering has funded bag lunches and toiletry kits for Cleveland’s Homeless Stand-down, art supplies for children in Chernobyl hospitals, and care packages for U.S. soldiers stationed in Kuwait and Iraq. Individual classes have made and sold dog biscuits to support a local animal shelter, completed litter drives and collected children’s books for Cleveland-area community clinics and centers. Our youth spend a February night each year on the church lawn to raise awareness and funds for two organizations that support the homeless. West Shore Church has a long tradition of participation in the UUA Service Committee’s Guest at Your Table, a month-long collection for international, emergency relief, and the Giving Tree, an in-house collection of Christmas presents for women and children living in shelters, through the Cleveland Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Center.

Is there a religious education fee?

There is no registration fee for participation in the Children’s Religious Education program. Reflecting the value of this program the cost, built into the budget, is supported through the financial pledges to the church made by parents and all members. Whether member or friend, making a pledge of record means you are identifying yourself as a person who supports the church budget and values its funding of our religious education program for children and youth. Your contribution of record or pledge will also provide you with a charitable tax deduction. We strongly encourage and invite parents to become church members. If you are not a member of West Shore, then consider making an annual contribution of record to the church. Email skieres @ wsuuc.org for more information about how to do this. 

What is OWL?

Here at West Shore UU Church we honor the reality that sexuality is an important part of our lives from cradle to cane. Offering comprehensive and age-appropriate information is seen as a ministry and part of developing faithfully. O.W.L. or Our Whole Lives offers classes across the lifespan including K-1, 5-6, 7-8, Sr. High, Young Adult and Adult programs. At West Shore we alternate years in offering the two younger classes with the 7-8 class and offer the three older classes on a periodic basis.

As UU’s we understand that sexuality education is a life-long process of acquiring information and forming attitudes and values about identity, intimacy, relationships and sexual health.

All levels of O.W.L. are built upon the following assumptions with age-appropriate information:

• That parents are (or have been) the primary sexuality educators for their children and teens.
• Sexuality education begins – and primarily takes place – at home.
• All persons benefit from accurate, clear and age-appropriate information about sexuality and relationships.
• Open communication creates a healthy family environment and engenders trust.
• Sexuality education should include information about misuse and abuse possibilities and how to avoid these.
• Sexuality education should center on the gift of sexuality and nurture the values of mutual respect, reciprocity and responsibility. 

The programs offered rotate year to year; for instance-

In the 2015-16 church year the Religious Education department will offer the CORE of the program for grades 7th - 9th.

In the 2016-17 church year the Religious Education department will offer the K-1st grade program in the fall and the 5th-6th grade program in the spring. 

This rotation continues in this manner year to year. Adult OWL and Sr. High OWL are scheduled periodically as possible.

See the separate OWL Frequently Asked Questions brochure.for additional information and/or visit www.uua.org/re/owl/.