Policies and Expectations
Our Community - Rights & Responsibilities for Children, Youth & Adults
Covenant of Mutual Respect
Community Safety Covenant
What is Expected of Parents and Guardians?
Through our Covenant of Mutual Respect, we can provide a positive and meaningful group experience, if everyone follows these guidelines:
I HAVE A RIGHT to be happy and to be treated with kindness; this means that no one will laugh at me, ignore me, or hurt my feelings.
I HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY to treat other with respect and to be kind in my words and actions.
I HAVE THE RIGHT to be myself; this means that no one will treat me unfairly because I am fat or thin, fast or slow, boy or girl.
I HAVE THE RESPONSIBILITY to treat others fairly.
I HAVE THE RIGHT to be safe; this means that no one will hit me, kick me, push me or pinch me.
I HAVE THE RESPONSIBILITY to treat others gently; this means that I will not hit, kick, push or pinch others in my class.
I HAVE THE RIGHT to hear and be heard; this means that no one will yell, scream or shout, and my opinions and desires will be considered in any plans we make.
I HAVE THE RESPONSIBILITY to listen to my friends, respect their opinions and consider their desires in any plans we make.
I HAVE THE RIGHT to learn about myself; this means that I will be free to express my feelings and opinions without being interrupted or punished.
I HAVE THE RESPONSIBILITY to allow others to express themselves without fear of ridicule and to listen respectfully.
In keeping with the UUCDC's Safe Congregation Policy and honoring our first principle to maintaining respect for everyone in our community, the Religious Education & Church Coordinating Councils have mandated the following Church Safety Covenant:
Parental Supervision: Children 10 and under must be under direct, visual supervision by a parent, guardian, or other designated caregiver (adult, hired sitter, or older sibling over the age of 14) at all times when children are not in Spiritual Exploration program. We urge parents to keep track of where your children are and with whom.
Inside the Building: Children should not run through hallways or rooms in the church. Running in the church, especially in and around Fellowship Hall and the Lobby, is dangerous. Small children may take older adults by surprise, causing hot coffee spills and other accidental injuries. Parents and guardians are responsible for coaching their children about this hazard and correcting improper behaviors.
Outside the Building: Children 10 and under may not be left unattended outside the church building - on the playground, on the front or back lawn, in the memorial garden, or anywhere else on church property. Children playing outside without direct adult supervision are at risk from cars leaving the parking lot and are a genuine liability issue. Parents should never assume that someone else is watching their children.
RE Teacher Recruitment: All class leaders and volunteers will be a member or have had regular attendance for the past six months. Volunteer class leaders will sign a code of ethics and will agree to submit to criminal background checks and a child abuse clearance upon random request.
Special & Youth Programs: The Director of Religious Education (DRE), Coming of Age mentors and advisors, youth group advisors, and Our Whole Lives instructors will not be subject to open recruitment, but will be nominated by the RE Council, the DRE and the Minister. Criminal background checks and a child abuse clearances will be obtained from this group.
General Classroom Safety Guideline: There will be two adults in the classroom during religious education sessions and on off campus trips. Class leaders and volunteers will notify DRE if their group is outside of the building. Signed fieldtrip permission slips will be obtained at registration and will be on file with the DRE.
In Case of Injury: The Director of Religious Education (DRE) will be immediately notified if a child is injured or ill. A report will be filed with the DRE documenting any accident.
Disruptive Behavior: Disruptive behavior challenges our sense of individual and communal safety and well-being,. The policy regarding disruptive behavior includes four levels of response including the permanent exclusion from the church and its premises.
In the event of a suspected unhealthy relationship: Any incident of verbal, emotional or sexual abuse or inappropriate behavior towards another individual during an RE session, field-trip, or special event must be reported to the DRE, minister, or in the absence of both, the Board of Trustees President.
After Worship-Pick-Up: All Sunday School children, must be picked up from their designated classrooms/fellowship hall by their parents/guardians promptly at 11:45 am. They will not be released until their parents/guardians arrive.
Permission for Community Parenting: is assumed when children are found unattended. As a trusting church community we give one another permission to sensitively redirect behavior that any adult considers dangerous, disrespectful or in violation of this covenant. As parents we will gracefully accept reminders that our children need more direct supervision.
Interpreting Safety: Recognizing that "safety" can have varying interpretations, and yet wanting all of our families, our elders, and our visitors to feel welcome and comfortable in our community, let's make it our ultimate goal to respect and look after one another.
Register your child(ren) and youth, babies too, so that they are on our class mailing lists and we have the appropriate number of volunteers and supplies for each class. This is important for insurance and medical reasons as well as to keep you informed about our great program.
Registration forms are collected at the beginning of the RE sessions in September and when a new family joins the fellowship. You do not have to be a member to register your child. If you are attending services and your children are coming with you, they must be registered.
Fees - Our yearly registration fee is $25.00 per child (maximum fee is $50.00 per family). Please contact Chrissy Bushyager, our Director of Religious Education, if you would like to discuss scholarship assistance. Financial support is available for those who need it.
Permission Slips - As part of the registration form and safety procedures, parents/guardians are asked to sign permission forms for certain types of activities. When an activity occurs that requires permission (ex: a nature walk in the neighborhood) and there is no registration form on file or permission has not been granted, then the student is brought back to the parent during the time of the activity.
Photo Release - As part of the registration form, parents/guardians are asked to sign a photo release granting permission for photographs of their children participating in UUCDC activities to be used on the church website and in other church PR materials. These are renewed yearly. This release is optional.
Parents/Guardians participation in our Religious Education Cooperative is expected. Ours is a cooperative, volunteer program. Volunteers serve as chapel assistants, classroom teachers, youth leaders and advisors, helpers, greeters, and RE Council members. We are fortunate that many members without children in the RE program graciously volunteer their time, but all parents of children in our program are expected to help. There are many ways you can get involved. We always need assistance with social service projects, intergenerational activities, craft day, making reminder calls to teachers and assistants, helping with fundraising, chaperoning field trips and more. The success of our program depends upon volunteers and their contributions. Let us know about your specific talents, skills, or interests.
Teacher and Assistant Requirements - All religious education volunteers are required have been attending UUCDC for over 6 months, will have attended a Teacher Orientation in the fall and have criminal background and child abuse checks on file with the church office. (Background checks are paid for by the church.) All volunteers working with youth will have attended specialized youth advisor training. Please see the Community Safety Policy for further details.
Read our church newsletter and weekly email Digest. Our online newsletter, FocusFeed, and the email Digest are one of the the means through which the Director of Religious Education and the RE Council can communicate important information to the parents.
Bring your children regularly. Your child receives the greatest benefit when they attend religious education classes regularly. Regular attendance fosters a sense of community in the classroom and offers continuity - helping your child understand and process the curriculum being presented. Several students have experienced a sense of loss or disconnect when their parents demonstrate erratic attendance. When you encourage regular attendance you send your child a powerful message - that Unitarian Universalism and religious education are important in your child's life as well as your own.
Strong attendance honors our teachers' commitment as UUCDC members who volunteer their time and talent. Our teachers prepare carefully to make classes exciting and enriching. If you cannot attend one Sunday, but your children would like to come, consider contacting another parent and perhaps they can escort your child.
Share your ideas and beliefs with your children. Make Unitarian Universalism a way of life by discussing the Principles and Purposes, intergenerational worship themes, and the theme of your child's Sunday morning lesson.
Healthy Classroom Behavioral Expectations
Our teachers and church leaders spend much time and energy creating a safe, supportive, nurturing, and positive atmosphere in the classroom. We expect all children to behave in a manner that fosters these feelings for themselves and their classmates. Each teaching team is encouraged to develop a classroom code of conduct or covenant with the children. Among the goals of our RE program are openness, tolerance, honesty, fairness and respect for the needs of others. Classroom covenants usually encourage these values. Parents can help by discussing appropriate behavior with their children and reinforcing the classroom covenant.
When a situation requiring discipline occurs, teachers and the DRE will work with the child and the parent(s) to help create and maintain acceptable class and group behavior. We expect parents to help in the creation of a constructive plan for participation by all children and youth.
Toys and Other Distractions - On occasion, children may bring a special toy to share with the class. However, the teachers and Director of Religious Education cannot be responsible for the toy, if it is lost or broken. If the toy becomes a distraction to the learning or worship community, your child's teacher may ask to hold it for them until the end of class.
Electronic toys and cell phones are considered a distraction to the community. It is preferable that they be left at home, or remain "off" for the duration of worship and class time.
Please do not bring toy guns or weapons to Church. These toys lead to aggressive behavior. As Unitarian Universalists, we teach our children ways to deal with conflict peacefully.
The Unitarian Universalist Church of Delaware County is a "Welcoming Congregation", committed to respecting the inherent worth and dignity of every person. We are welcoming in all the varied life situations inherent in the word "diversity", including race, ethnicity, national origin, class, gender, sexual identity, sexual orientation, and age and emotional and physical ability. In our RE program we provide a welcoming environment to all children, youth, young adults, adults, seniors, and their families and friends. This involves affirming both traditional and other forms of family groupings in all their variety, and using curriculum and other resources that help us value diversity and strengthen us to stand against prejudice and discrimination.
Children with Special Needs
It is our goal to have our program available to all children. If your child has a Behavioral Intervention Plan (BIP) or Individualized Education Plan (IEP) at school, please speak confidentially to the Director of Religious Education about the needs of your child, so supports can be built in. Some children receive one-on-one services at school and we will work with you to seek a mutually feasible plan to best serve your child's needs. We are all interested in providing a positive religious education experience for all of our children.