Teacher support

I. Manual for Sunday School Teachers in UU Congregations

The Teacher’s Manual gives an overview of teaching for both new and experienced Sunday school teachers. Written for the Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto in 2015, the first three chapters are still relevant today.

Chapter 1: Goals and Visions — Why teaching religious education is so important.

Chapter 2: Basics of Teaching — Nuts and bolts information for volunteer teachers.

Chapter 3: Models of Teaching and Learning — Deepen your knowledge of teaching, and add to your teaching tool kit

Chapter 4: Procedures and Policies — This information is now outdated, but is left here as a reference.

(Approx. 12,000 words total)

II. Podcasts for Sunday school teachers

Hosted by Joe Chee, teacher educator at Foothills College, with Rev. Dan Harper, Associate Minister of Religious Education at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto.

This series of 11 podcasts was recorded in 2009-2010 for the Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto. Individual podcasts range from 8 to 17 minutes in length.

Goals and Visions

1. Goals for children’s religious education — Dan and Joe introduce the four major goals of the children’s religious education programs, and explore the first of these goals, preparing children to become Unitarian Universalist adults.

2. Religious literacy — Dan and Joe discuss the second goal, teaching religious literacy.

3. Developing religious skills — Dan and Joe talk about the third goal, teaching children religious skills.

4. Building community and having fun — Dan and Joe talk about why building community and having fun is a key educational goal.

Teaching Tips and Techniques

5. How to lead check-ins — Learn what “check-ins” are, and how to incorporate them into programs for children and teens.

6. Storytelling for teachers — Dan and Joe talk about tips for telling stories to children.

7. Leading discussions — Dan and Joe discuss discussions, and talk about how they can be fun and engaging (not boring).

Human Development for Sunday School Teachers

8. Faith development and developmental stages — More challenging questions: What happens when someone who grew up with no religious upbringing decides to join a Unitarian Universalist congregation? and How can we help children new to our congregations feel welcome?

9. Human developmental stages — More questions with Dan and Joe: What should you know about human developmental stages if you’re volunteering with children’s religious education programs?

10. Faith development and chronological age — Joe and Dan talk about faith development and the developmental stages humans go through, and what those of us who are teaching Sunday school should know about these concepts.

About Differences

11. Accommodating differences — Dan and Joe consider a couple of challenging questions: What do we do when we have children in our Sunday school classes who don’t fit neatly into the common patterns of development? and How do we accommodate and embrace children with different language and social skills?