Youth & Family
Welcome to The Wonder Zone
We are excited to introduce the newest component of our Sunday morning Youth & Family Ministry program. This distinctive approach is designed for our elementary youth.
Our custom at Unity Sarasota is to begin the day with children and families together in the sanctuary. We move from there to our Sacred Circle where we sing and have a brief mediation time. Then we cross the threshold into The Wonder Zone . This is a special space where we engage sacred stories.
The children are welcomed by name as they enter this space and they immediately know it was designed with them in mind. Shelves lined with baskets and trays hold wooden figures that are used to tell the stories. Everything is touchable and nothing is breakable.
As the children pick their cushion in the story circle…the wonder begins. The storyteller goes to get the story from the shelves so the children will always know where to find it. As the story of the week unfolds the children are encountering it in a way that allows them to enter the story and find their own meaning in it.
This approach is deeply respectful of children’s spiritual nature. The story is followed by wondering questions…there are no right or wrong answers … just an invitation to find their own connections to the story.
Then there is time for creative expression. From a variety of supplies, each child selects the materials they would like to use. They might draw something that helps them remember the story. They might create something that expresses how the story makes them feel , or they might retell the story to the storyteller. While entering stories and doing their creative response work, children are meditating in an artistic and kinesthetic way.
The morning closes with the group in a circle again, saying the Prayer for Protection, singing Go Now in Peace and being sent out with a blessing!
This approach draws on Godly Play and Montessori and dovetails beautifully with Unity’s concept of Living Curriculum. Unity recognizes children as unique expressions of God and also seeks to enable them to develop and trust their intuition, their inner guidance.
The Wonder Zone is a gift to the children. They notice the respect and honor with which they are treated. One of our teachers (who is also a parent of a child in this group )commented that the time in The Wonder Zone was giving the children the gift of rest. “All week long, she said, information comes at them at top speed. This environment gives them time and space to slow down, take their time and engage in wonder.”
That is the goal…creating a welcoming, loving space, where children and the adults who come alongside them, enjoy each other, enjoy the sacred stories, and enjoy the Presence of Spirit!
The Light of God Surrounds Us.
The Love of God Enfolds Us.
The Power of God Protects Us.
The Presence of God Watches over Us.
Wherever We are God Is.
And All Is Well. Amen.
-Prayer of Protection