Children & Youth at East Shore
Welcome to our programs for children and youth! Children and youth gather in the Sanctuary with their peers or parents and on most Sundays of the year, help to light our worship chalice, share our covenant, a song and story. During Religious Education Sundays, children and youth will go to programming with teachers directly from worship. You can find more details and registration for the age-based programming below. For All Ages Worship Services, children and youth stay in the Sanctuary and enjoy in a worshipful and celebratory space with no religious education programming. We learn and explore together how we can live our values for a more just and equitable world. Our children and youth gather in small, multiage groups with adult guides for worship, rituals, free and structured play, songs, activities and stories to learn about and discover the joy of spirituality, a loving and caring community, and Unitarian Universalism. Multiage learning environments benefit all ages of children, older and younger, through role-modeling, mentorship, and social play. We focus on strong parent-teacher-staff-child relationships and have regular and ongoing opportunities for conversation to best develop and nurture each child. Our programs are in many ways tailored to the individual and collective skills and interests of the children and adults in the community.
At East Shore, children, youth and adults are spiritual beings seeking community and connection with one another and acting in service to the greater good. We welcome children and youth into our worship service as an inherent part of our religious community. You’ll find them serving as worship leaders, musicians, and ushers. All ages commit to social justice and engage in efforts towards equity. There are often events for families or all ages throughout the year during which everyone can engage in justice making and community service, making contributions to the greater good.
Contact Us [email protected] or call 425-747-3780 ext. 104 to learn more.
Registration is now open for the 2022-2023 Youth & Children’s small groups. Please visit this link to register your child. You do not have to be a member or pledging friend to register.
Starting this year, I will be asking parents to register their kids and youth (ages 0-18) for East Shore programming each year! This is so good! It will:
- Help staff to plan lessons and purchase supplies that are tailored to the group
- Guarantees that you will receive the information and invites to programming and events for your children
- Make sure all of your family’s information is up-to-date in our system each year
Please register all the children and youth in your family that might want to participate — whether they would want to participate weekly or for just a few events during the year, this information is vital to our planning! Once registered, you will be added to our newsletter and announcements list.
Our programs have no cost or tuition fee directly associated with them. However, we are a small non-profit whose primary source of income comes from pledging friends and members of the congregation. As you become a part of the East Shore UU community, consider offering, as you’re able, in-kind donations or becoming a pledging friend or member.
Calendar & Class Schedule
Our programs run from September through May, with about 24 Sundays of class. The annual year is broken down into three sessions, with the first starting September 18. Second session starts January 15, and the third session starts March 26. Managing shorter blocks of time will help with curriculum planning, volunteer scheduling, and attendance.
View our annual calendar with important dates here
Preschool Our Preschool classes focus on story, song, and free play, while caring for the basic developmental needs of each child. Our preschool is very hands-on, play-based, and experiential because that’s how children learn best. Preschool activities are full of learning and exploration. Because our programs are typically one hour, children are not required to be potty trained to attend, but the parent is responsible for changes before/after, unless otherwise needed.
K-3 Our lower elementary classes follow Spirit Play with worship, rituals, songs, activities and stories to learn about and discover the joy of spirit and Unitarian Universalism. In the classroom, there are several engaging and developmentally appropriate learning activities set up, and children are encouraged to move around and explore at their own pace. We will also offer Our Whole Lives (OWL) Sexuality Education to grades K-1 and 2-3. OWL is a 10-session course.
4-6 Our classes follow Soul Matters, which is our monthly theme-based curriculum. Children engage in a wide variety of fun games, stories, and activities related to the same theme that the adults are exploring in Sunday Services. Values, Leadership, and Team-Building: Youth develop communication and team-building skills while exploring and discussing individual and community value systems. Connections to Unitarian Universalist traditions and social justice issues will be a foundation for group discussions and projects. We will also offer Our Whole Lives (OWL) Sexuality Education to grades 4-6. OWL is a 10-session course.
Junior Youth Group 7-8 OWL Our Whole Lives: A cornerstone comprehensive sexuality education program based in values where teens explore decision making, body image, and other life issues in a safe environment. Curriculum includes topics such as self-awareness, body awareness, values, language, anatomy, physiology, gender roles, gender equality, and relationship skills. In order to support learning and group trust levels, regular attendance is expected. Parent orientation is also required. Socialization among this age group is an important part of their growth. JYG fulfills a very strong need to be part of a social group. A strong JYG allows for UU friendships to flourish and helps to retain youth as they transition into high school and later into young adults. Our Whole Lives is a 24-session course, with some extracurricular outings and overnights to build community.
Senior Youth Group 9-12 Coming of Age: As youth leave their childhood and emerge into adolescence, they are maturing physically, cognitively, emotionally and spiritually. The Coming of Age program is designed to help youth examine their own beliefs, better appreciate Unitarian Universalism, and explore how these intersect. Senior youth gather for connection, deep sharing and holding each other with resilient faith. Adult advisers offer guidance and perspective. Students and advisors work together to plan and carry out a wide variety of activities, worships, discussions, community service, and social justice projects throughout the year. Activities may also include outings and overnights.
Family Covenant Circle: A monthly, multiplatform circle for parents and caregivers held from 12:00-1:30pm. Childcare is provided onsite at East Shore.
Summer Camp June 26-30: A week-long summer camp for ages 5-11. Youth camp counselors ages 12-18 work in small groups of kids to learn, play, and develop positive communication and character building skills. Hours are 9am-3pm onsite at East Shore with one day off-site field trip.
News from the RE Department
Special Invitation for Families with Youth: Seabeck!
Many of you may not be aware of the annual Memorial Day UU retreat that roughly 200 East Shore and...
Each year, the Religious Exploration program is enriched by almost 100s of volunteer hours! The RE program exists due to the time and energy of a huge number of volunteer teachers, assistants, and youth advisers. Both parents and non-parent adults in the East Shore community play an essential role in the school’s success. Our programs are cooperative in nature, where volunteers from within the community are trained to engage and commit to several hours of volunteering during the year. Parents work in the classroom periodically and attend parent education and community building sessions throughout the year. Parent meetings help to create a supportive community of families, who build close connections and long-lasting friendships.
The greatest volunteer need is for classroom teachers. Teaching is a great way to serve the ESUC community and connect with our youth. Consistent adult mentorship makes such a significant impact on the life of a minor. Research clearly indicates that meaningful parent and non-parental involvement in the life of minors is a powerful predictor of healthy development.
As a classroom volunteer, you will be part of a teaching team of four people. The time commitment is approximately two Sundays per month. Teachers get support and assistance from one another and the Religious Exploration staff.
To get started and let us know about your interests, fill out this form.
Thank you for making our programs possible!
The following UUA best practices and East Shore policies, we promote the safety and well-being of children and other congregants:
- All children are checked in using our Realm kiosks. Parents must show the correct badge to pick up their children at the end of class.
- All staff and volunteers working with children and youth undergo a criminal and sexual offender background and reference check.
- At least two adults are required to be present during all children and youth classes and activities.
- All classrooms have hallway windows so that activities are viewable at all times.
- Our fire alarm system is directly connected to the Bellevue Fire Department.
- Doors that are locked to persons outside may be exited by those inside.
- First aid kits are available in each classroom and throughout the building.
- No drugs, alcohol, vaping/smoking, violence, or weapons are allowed on campus or during any events with children and youth.
Coronavirus Prevention Guidelines
In an effort to be proactive and heed CDC recommendations regarding coronavirus prevention, we are asking everyone to please read and observe the following guidelines:
If you or your child exhibit the following symptoms, please stay home:
- Sneezing, excessive mucus
Body contact is discouraged especially hand-holding and hugging.
If you have been exposed to or test positive for COVID-19, please stay home.
We encourage, but are not requiring, vaccinations for all children and youth ages 6 months and older.
Due to supply and demand, we have limited sanitizing products. We will need your help to maintain the following procedures. If you have extra hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, or a DIY alternative, please share it with us.