The first edition of Chalice Children, published in 1998, was my first UUA curriculum. It was an attempt to make the Sunday morning time for preschoolers relate to Unitarian Universalist identity. Today I am delighted to help put a second edition of Chalice Children online as part of the Tapestry of Faith program. The intervening years have broadened my understanding of faith formation and my desire to introduce the basic tenets of our faith to young children and their families. Those tenets are love, our covenantal community, our celebration of diversity, a personal sense of wonder and awe, and our hope and work for a better world.
In the preschool years, at about four or five years old, young children start to realize that they and their loved ones will come to an end. As they become aware of realities such as death, suffering, violence, and evil, young ones also need the reassurance of love, joy, beauty, good, hope, and community. Helping children find that balance is a goal of the new Chalice Children.
This edition aims to enrich preschoolers' religious education outside as well as inside their religious education (RE) time. Young families come to us seeking support for their spiritual life. They experience their young children's questions and existential moments and wish to have resources. The new Chalice Children delivers those resources in the form of an extensive Taking It Home section for leaders to give the children at the end of each session.
The revised Chalice Children also offers:
- Updated suggestions for story books. You'll find some of the "classics," but there's more reliance on books published since 2005.
- Familiar sessions, modified: "Memory Cards" becomes "All Around Us"—with the addition of digital pictures, making the game is easier! "Chalice Cookie" becomes "Fruit Chalices" to make it healthier and more adaptable. "Snow" becomes "Weather," and "Planting Fall Bulbs" becomes "The Beauty of Nature," to accommodate the geographical diversity of our congregations. "Teddy Bear Month: Fixed!" becomes "Teddy Bear Month: Sick!" to avoid implying that the session discusses neutering.
- "A Tour of the Outside of Our Congregation," as well as the inside.
- "Special Worship Services" offers adaptable resources for leaders to create a session that reflects special services offered in (or unique to) your congregation, using a Flower Ceremony, Water Service, or special Sharing of Breads Service as examples.
- "Earth Day" was added to celebrate the holiday and connect to our seventh Principle.
Other additions include rhymes to transition the children to Circle Time and Circle Games (a predictable format provides continuity each time a child attends) and new suggestions for multimedia resources. Finally, as part of bringing Chalice Children online as a Tapestry of Faith program, each session now provides a unique Spiritual Preparation exercise for leaders and a Find Out More section at the end of each session to help leaders extend their own learning.