DRE’s Message – Religious Exploration

John Muir said, “When One tugs at a single thing in Nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”  The children in the religious exploration program have been exploring this idea for the last month through the lens of the seventh Unitarian Universalist principle.  That is, our deep respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

First, the children created a terrarium and then explored the relationship between themselves and their little succulent gardens. When they water their terrariums, the plants thrive and breathe oxygen into the atmosphere.  In turn, this oxygen sustains the children.  Next the children considered the responsibilities inherent in our interconnectedness.  They learned about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a swirling area of trash soup in the Pacific Ocean that is about twice the size of the continental U.S.  Trash, primarily plastic, that is improperly disposed gets caught in circular ocean currents and disrupts the marine ecosystem.  The children talked about how the plastic that we use in our lives can cause problems if not properly disposed and then learned about how they can help keep the ocean and earth clean by refusing, reducing, reusing and recycling.  After that some of the children and their families joined a naturalist at the Shoreline Interpretive Center in order to further explore our interconnectedness, this time the interdependence inherent in our shoreline ecosystem.  We’ll wrap our exploration of the 7th principle with a visit of the Insect Discovery Lab here at SKUUC on November 6th, 2011!

Next month we’ll start exploring the first principle, the inherent worth and dignity of every person.  The learning scheme we are using for the pre-school and school-age religious exploration program is called Way Cool Learning.  In this scheme, the subject is explored with two weeks of experiential learning, one week of doing, and perhaps one week of worship.  Next month we invite you all to join us in the one week of ‘doing’ associated with the first principle.  On December 4, 2011 the children will be creating “little libraries” that will be distributed to children who might not otherwise have access to books in the home.  We have about 20 boxes of books and 40 backpacks that will be used to create personalized little libraries.  The ‘little libraries’ will be given to, and distributed by, the LiteracyPlus program in Hayward.  We are hoping to assemble 40 “little libraries” and hope will come and help us create them.