Philosophy Our Mission Family Faith Development (F.F.D.) grows lifelong UUs by fostering faith formation in children and youth, supporting families, implementing programming that recognizes important developmental milestones, and advocating for an inclusive and multi-generational church community. Core Truths In order to meet our mission, F.F.D. provides programming that is grounded in Core Truths - stages of truth we wish to instill in our children. Our Core Truths are... Stage 1: I know that I am Loved. Stage 2: I know that I am a valued member of this UU church. Stage 3: I know about Unitarian Universalism. Stage 4: I know about other religions, and how they compare to Unitarian Universalism. Stage 5: I know what I believe. Stage 5: I live my UU identity in my community. Theme-Based Ministry Theme-based ministry is an engaging way of unifying and focusing congregational life. Among its benefits, theme-based ministry weaves a central thread throughout all church programming, creates multigenerational connections, extends faith development beyond Sunday, and deepens one’s faith development. 2021-2022 is our "Year of Covenant." Components of Faith Formation We utilize four areas of faith formation when designing programs around our ‘Core Truths’ and monthly themes. These four areas, otherwise known as the 4 Cs, are: Content - WHAT the children are learning. This includes curriculum, both implicit and explicit. Community – WHO our children are learning from. This includes not only classroom teachers, but anyone the child might have a relationship with. Covenant – HOW we behave in community. This is not only about how we treat each other, but it’s also about our duty to our faith. Context / Calling – WHY we are here. This is about our purpose in our community as an individual and as the church. Policies For the safety and well-being of everyone in our program, F.F.D. has the following policies in place... Commitment to Inclusion No child participating in our programs will ever be intentionally hurt, left out, or discriminated against based on their race, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, economic status, or family structure. When unintentional harm is inflicted, we will follow the steps outlined in our Right Relations Guidelines. F.F.D. volunteers and staff strive to provide an inclusive and welcoming environment to all. Communicable Disease Policy Starting December 5, 2021 we will resume in-person gatherings. Please note, the following Communicable Disease Policy will take effect: After every gathering, our staff and volunteers clean and sterilize their workspace. However, when children congregate, there is always the chance that viruses will spread. In a collaborative effort to stem the spread of communicable disease in our church, we ask that parents do not bring their child to church if their child has had a fever in the past 24 hours, anyone in the household is experiencing Covid-19 like symptoms, or the child has been diagnosed with a communicable disease. Additionally, while we do not currently require staff, volunteers, or children to be vaxxed and masked, we strongly encourage all who can to utilize these interventions. Thank you for your continued support! Classroom Discipline Policy We are a covenantal faith. We are brought together not by creed or dogma, but by our shared commitment to each other and our respective spiritual journeys. At the beginning of every year, Family Faith Development classes explore this concept by creating covenants of their own. It is explained to them that their covenant is a list of promises of how they will treat one another in the coming year. Once children understand this, they are invited to affirm their commitment to each other by pledging to follow the covenant. Throughout the rest of the year, your child's teacher will refer to the class covenant in times of conflict. Food Policy Starting December 5, 2021 we will resume in-person gatherings. Please note the following Food Policy will take effect: Family Faith Development’s space is a nut-free zone. Additionally, snack is not served regularly in any of our classes, except our Infant / Toddler class. However, occasionally, food will be served as part of a lesson. At these times, the Director of Lifespan Faith Development, Meredith Plummer, will notify families with known food allergies. Our teachers are trained to identify the signs of anaphylaxis and to notify parents as soon as any of these signs appear. For their part, parents of children with food allergies are asked to carry an epi-pen with them at all times and to administer medication if anaphylaxis were to occur (other arrangements are made on field trips). If you have a child with a food allergy, please email the Director of Lifespan Faith Development immediately. Photo Release Policy While we do our best to obtain prior permission to use you and your child’s photos in our publications, you should know that First Church’s current photo release policy is an opt-out policy. In short, you or your child’s photo may be used without your consent unless you contact the Director of Lifespan Development and state that you do not want us to use your photos. Safe Congregation As detailed by our Safe Congregation guidelines, the following volunteer requirements are in place... Volunteers must be 18 years of age or older (youth and preteens may volunteer as a 2nd assistant). Volunteer assistants must have been attending First Church for 6 months. Volunteer teachers must have been attending First Church for 1 year. All volunteers must be willing to submit to a background check. All volunteers must obtain training regularly. All volunteers must complete a knowledge check. There must be 2 adults in every classroom, except Jr. and Sr. High. The majority of our in-person programming is staffed by volunteers. However, First Church does employ paid classroom leaders. Please note, for their part, our paid classroom leaders must undergo several interviews, provide references, and pass a fingerprint background check before they are hired. Additionally, once they are hired, they must submit to a background check every few years. Registration Registration is required of all children who participate in F.F.D. programming Children and youth are considered registered in the program once a parent or guardian completes the registration form. Registration is important because it provides emergency contact information, helps the Director of Lifespan Faith Development track class size, and informs us of any special needs your child may have. In addition, it ensures you continue to receive updates on F.F.D. programming through this year (including if and when program offerings change).There is no registration fee. However, parents are asked to support the program once they feel that First Church is their home by volunteering their time and pledging regularly. Register Now by "Opting-In!"