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The Program (Wonderful Welcome)

The fragrance always stays in the hand that gives the rose.

— Hada Bejar, 17th-century British poet and playwright

We must delight in each other, make others' conditions our own, rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together, always having before our eyes our community as members of the same body.

— John Winthrop, 17th-century governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony

Welcome. Welcome in love. Welcome in friendship. Welcome in faith. The Wonderful Welcome curriculum engages and challenges leaders and children alike to explore how and why we are willing to welcome others into our lives. We welcome not only strangers, but family, our peers, our neighbors and even entities that are not people such as our animal friends and nature itself.

How do we welcome? We welcome by sharing intangible gifts, those positive qualities which we all have inside us such as kindness, love, invitation, covenant and empathy. In this program, children learn to articulate and express a variety of intangible gifts, empowering them to share these gifts with others.

The intangible gifts explored in Wonderful Welcome are all components of welcoming itself, a core Unitarian Universalist value. This program helps children understand and practice other values central to Unitarian Universalism such as friendship, hospitality, and fairness. It offers children safe, positive and intentional ways to relate to one another, the people in their families, and the world around them as they investigate how they use gifts they can't see or touch to welcome others into their lives. Children will think about the intangible gifts they bring into the world, and the intangible gifts they receive. When and how do they get love from others? When and how do they show empathy? Who has given them the gift of friendship? How do they show that they want to be someone's friend? What does "helping" look like?

Each session begins with a Wonder Box that contains a symbol of the session's theme. The Wonder Box engages the children's curiosity and encourages a spirit of inquiry and reflection. In the first session, the box is empty to introduce the concept of " intangible." Throughout the program, a Wonder Box poster serves as a continual reminder of the gifts explored in each session.

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Last updated on Sunday, November 9, 2014.

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