Safety policy

Safety is our first concern. Our policies, procedures and rules all exist to ensure the safety of (y)our children. Please click here to read UUCF’s Religious Exploration (RE) Safety Policies and Procedures.

Background check policy

All volunteers working in RE classrooms should read the complete Policy – RE Safety Policies and Agreements. UUCF requires that before volunteering in the RE Program, all adults who sign-up to teach, chaperone, mentor or work/volunteer in our nursery or child care settings must be background checked. UUCF uses Verified First to check the Nationwide Criminal Supersearch, Social Security Trace Plus and Nationwide Sex Offender Registry. Volunteers receive an email from Verified First that includes a link to the online application. Please read the information in the link carefully. It must be completed within 7 days of receipt. By electronically signing the application, applicants give UUCF permission to conduct a background check. Applicants receive an email from Verified First confirming that the background check has been completed. UUCF does not receive the background report, only a confirmation that the background check was conducted with no problems noted.  If problems are flagged, the DRE will discuss the results of the background check with the prospective volunteer.

RE attendance guidelines

Classes start at 9:15 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. Class length is 75 minutes, which gives parents time to enjoy coffee and mingle in the Commons after worship services. Teachers should be in the classroom at least 20 minutes early to prepare and greet students as they arrive. Teachers in grades 3 and under must remain in their classes until all children are picked up.

To support the teachers and make our program the best that it can be, we ask the following:

  • Please do not drop children off more than 15 minutes before class starts. Teachers need a chance to get organized before class.
  • Please remain on the UUCF campus while your child is in class. If you choose not to attend worship service, you are welcome to relax or read in the parent area of the Program Building.
  • Please bring your child (children) to RE on time. It is disruptive for children and youth to arrive after class has already begun.
  • Please make sure your child has eaten breakfast before coming to RE. We find that children have more fun in RE when they are not hungry.
  • Please bring your children and youth to RE as frequently as possible. Regular attendance helps children build friendships with classmates, gain a deeper understanding of UU values and better connect with our beloved community.
  • Please keep sick children at home.
  • Please pick up children at 10:30 a.m. or 12:30 p.m., when classes end. Parents of children in Grade 3 and under are required to sign out their children. Children and youth in Grade 4 and up are dismissed when their classes end. Please do not pick up children before the end of class unless absolutely necessary. Notify the teachers in advance if you will need to pick up your child early.

RE enrollment information

UUCF Religious Exploration (RE) classes for children and youth are open to all UUCF congregants. All children participating in RE must have an initial enrollment form completed by their parent/guardian after their third visit. Once enrolled, children will be placed in classes and advanced annually until they reach 7th grade when an enrollment renewal for youth classes will be needed. There is no fee to attend regular RE classes, however donations to help off-set RE expenses are greatly appreciated.

The Our Whole Lives (OWL) sexuality education classes are free for youth of UUCF congregants, but are also open to youth from the community and other UU congregations for a fee.

OWL fees for attendees outside of UUCF

  • 8th Grade OWL – $200
  • 1st and 5th grade OWL – $50

Parents/guardians signing their children up for these classes must also attend a parent orientation describing the class. The 8th Grade OWL class is closed to new students following the third class. The 1st and 5th Grade OWL classes are closed to new students following the second class.

Visiting students are always welcome. We ask visitors to complete a blue card so they can be placed in our church database. After three visits, parents will need to officially enroll their child (children) in the RE program. Please check with the RE assistant for more details.

Parental involvement

The UUCF RE program is a cooperative program and relies on the participation of all parents who are active in the UUCF community for its success. Faith formation in children and youth is an important ministry at UUCF. But spiritual development is a 7-days-a-week process and you, the parents/guardians, are the primary adults responsible for developing your children’s values and faith. With this in mind, parents and guardians active at UUCF are expected to volunteer 5 hours each year as parent helpers, chaperones or substitutes, and to volunteer 25 35 hours every third year as a teacher, program ambassador or youth mentor. Through volunteerism in the RE community, parents/guardians will strengthen their own UU identity, deepen their spirituality and model participation in our Beloved Community. See Volunteer in RE for all the ways to participate.

Youth teaching RE

UUCF high-school-age youth are welcome to be a part of a RE teaching team. The following applies to youth teaching RE:

  • RE teaching team members will be consulted and informed of high school (HS) youth on teaching teams.
  • HS youth members attend teacher training and liaison meetings.
  • RE students in Grades 6-8 may sign up to be class helpers.
  • Usually there is no more than one HS youth on each teaching team, although the DRE and teaching team may make exceptions.
  • HS youth usually serve as assistant teachers, unless the DRE and the teaching team make an exception.

Youth and adult covenants

This is a community of teachers, parents and change-makers and as such it is the responsibility of all congregants to uphold a shared covenant of expectations. Please help us all ensure that the following covenant is followed to make this a safe place for all, especially our children and youth. (The following are in addition to class covenants made yearly).

  • Respecting the people, property and congregation.
  • Keeping illegal drugs off campus and not abusing drugs, alcohol or legally prescribed drugs.
  • Keeping weapons off campus.
  • Remembering that the campus is a tobacco-free zone, which includes smoking and smokeless forms of tobacco (chew, vaping, e-cigarettes, etc.)
  • Understanding that theft can and will be prosecuted (using county laws). Additionally, theft decays trust within groups and can be damaging to our programs as a whole.
  • Staying on campus during a youth activity or while volunteering as a youth helper.
  • Remembering that while sexual activity can be healthy and whole, during congregational or youth events, sexual activity and exclusive relationships are inappropriate. This includes unwanted touch and verbal sexual advances and any other form of sexualized behavior.
  • Keeping sleeping covers to yourself and six inches of visible floor space between each person.
  • Understanding that at overnight events, at least one adult will be awake at all times while youth are awake and at least three adults will be present in case of emergency during the night.
  • Remembering that “No” means “No.” No in any form such as “Stop” or “Don’t do that” are recognizable signals for others to cease any and all behavior that may cause any and all participants to become uncomfortable or to feel threatened, either physically or emotionally.
  • Recognizing that this is a safe space for all and helping to maintain that safe space through kind and loving language and behavior.

See our Parent Resources page to get online forms for RE events. You are always welcome to print and send in the forms to the attention of the education assistant.

Dress

We are an informal congregation and casual dress is encouraged, especially for younger children. Classes often go outside, so please make sure to have children dress for the weather.

Meeting children’s needs

We strive to make the RE program a good experience for all involved. If your child has special needs, please let the teachers know how we can best help your child feel welcome and included in the class. You may also discuss this with Director of RE Diana Tycer or any member of the RE Staff or RE Committee.

We strive to make each classroom welcoming for each child. If a different setting is required to support a child, a member of the RE staff will meet with the child to find an acceptable space or activity during RE.