With the exception of the final session, each session follows the same format. Each session begins with an opening ritual co-led with a volunteer participant. The group sings a verse of the program's theme song "Sing to the Power," tailored to the element and topic for that session. Then the group shares a "power pulse," sending a squeeze of the hand around the circle.
Every session has a story which illustrates the theme of the session, primarily non-fiction examples of people exercising their power. After discussing the story, participants explore the theme through a variety of activities that involve movement and kinetic engagement. Many activities guide children to experience the type of power featured in the session.
Several sessions suggest accessing information or videos online, so it will be helpful to have a computer with Internet access and a large monitor or digital projector.
Participants also co-lead the closing ritual for each session, and each child adds a bead to a bracelet that is created over the course of the program as an ongoing symbol of the kinds of power the children are gathering.
In keeping with the leadership development theme, Faith in Action projects are planned, developed, and executed by participants. Each four session unit is an opportunity to enact a project that fits with the elemental power featured in that unit. Participants choose a project in the first session of the unit, plan the project in the second session, do the project around the time of the third session, and reflect on the project in the last session of that unit. The program assumes that Faith in Action brainstorming, planning, projects, and reflection take place outside the hour-long sessions.
A quote introduces each session. You may choose to read a quote aloud to the group. However, the quotes are primarily for leaders who may like to discuss them while preparing for a session, to feel grounded in the session theme.
Each session Introduction identifies the session topic, describes the story and activities, and may alert you to special preparations needed.
The Goals state the desired outcomes for the session. Keep the goals in mind as you plan the session, to make the experience a meaningful one for the participants and to help you connect the session's content and methodologies with the four strands of Tapestry of Faith: ethical development, spiritual development, Unitarian Universalist identity development and faith development.
These are the intended outcomes, expressed as the learning and development participants will gain by doing the session's core activities.
This is a timed list of the session activities in a suggested order. It includes the core activities from the Opening through the Closing for a 60-minute session. The table also shows the Faith in Action activity, which will need additional time. Finally, it lists alternate activities, with their estimated times.
Each session offers a short Spiritual Preparation exercise to to center yourself within the session's purpose and your own related experiences. This exercise will prepare you to be present with the children and provide the best possible learning experience.
The Session Plan provides clear directions for the leaders, for every activity from the Opening to the Closing and Alternate Activities. It includes all the resources you need to lead all of the session activities. If you are reading Sing to the Power online, you can move as you wish among sessions' elements—e.g., stories, activities, handouts. Each element occupies its own web page. You can click on "Print this Page" at any time. However, if you click on "Download Entire Program" or "Download Session," you will have a user-friendly document on your computer that you can customize as you wish, using your own word processing software. Once you decide which activities you will use, format and print only the materials you need.
Opening: Each session begins with a chalice-lighting and sharing of opening words. (For safety, you may wish to use LED/battery-operated lights.) Feel free to shape an opening ritual that suits the group and reflects the culture and practices of your congregation.
Activities: Activities are designed to activate prior knowledge; pique interest; engage children in experiential learning; and encourage them to process and apply their new knowledge. A variety of activities address different learning styles.
Materials for Activity: A checklist tells you the supplies you need for the activity.
Preparation for Activity: Review this "to do" list for each activity at least one week ahead of a session to see any advance work you need to do, from securing parent permissions for an off-site walk to downloading leader resources. Description of Activity: Each activity provides detailed directions. Read the activity during your planning process so that you understand each activity and its purpose. Later, when you are leading the group, use it as a step-by-step manual.
Including All Participants: Adaptation to include all participants should always be part of your plan. Some activities use "Including All Participants" to suggest specific modifications—for example, for children with mobility or dexterity limitations—or alternatives, to make the activity accessible and safe for all children who may be in the group.
Faith in Action: An important component of the program, Faith in Action activities give children the opportunity to live their Unitarian Universalist values in the congregation and the world. They often engage leaders, participants, families, and other congregants in social action and service, strengthening faith development and multigenerational bonds.
Devise short- or long-term Faith in Action activities to implement beyond the 60-minute core session plan. Take advantage of the expertise of congregants, the Internet, and opportunities for service and education in the community.
Taking It Home: Taking It Home helps parents share in their children's religious education experiences. It may include games, conversation topics, ideas for Unitarian Universalist rituals in the home, or book or online sources families can explore. Customize Taking It Home to reflect the actual session activities the children have experienced. Copy it for children to bring home, or send it as a group email.
Alternate Activities: You can substitute alternate activities for a core activity, add one to the session if you have time, or use alternate activities to extend the program for additional weeks. Alternate activities may require more or less time than a core activity; may be simpler or more complicated than core activities; or may be particularly suited for children with developmental or ability differences.
Stories, Handouts and Leader Resources: Following the session's Alternate Activities, you will find the stories and all other resources you need.
Find Out More: This section may offer books, DVDs, websites, audio links, and background information to further explore session topics. Explore them before a session to ground yourself in the session topic.