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With Justice and Compassion: Immigration Sessions for Children’s Religious Education

With Justice and Compassion: Immigration Sessions for Children’s Religious Education (PDF, 63 pages), by Mandy Neff, includes four sessions each for children in grades 1-3 and children in grades 4-6, as well as plans for a Family Night, where children share what they have learned and take part in a service project. Grounded in our second Unitarian Universalist principle and in the Buddhist lovingkindness meditation, the curriculum invites children to explore their own family stories while learning about immigration in the United States. It lifts up justice and compassion as guiding values as we consider immigration justice issues in our own time.

Excerpt from 'Program Overview'

Welcome facilitators! You are about to embark on a lively journey with your learners. With Justice and Compassion offers two companion four-session curricula, one for children in grades 1-3 and one for children in grades 4-6 Each 60-minute session explores immigration into the United States, from a Unitarian Universalist perspective of love, compassion, and justice. The program emphasizes the inherent worth and dignity of all involved in the conversation about immigration, including the immigrants themselves and the wider group of Americans with different opinions on issues related to immigration. Parents and caregivers are invited to engage with the program along the way. The program concludes with a Family Night, where children share what they have discovered.

Immigration is a powerful and complex topic. As Unitarian Universalists and as spiritual guides for children, it is especially important for us to invite all voices, and to allow for multiple interpretations and points of view. It is also important to serve as a role model for your group of learners, speaking for just and compassionate change on issues about which you feel passionate. You may be working with children and parents with a wide range of experience. They may be recent immigrants themselves. They may have family members who are immigrants. Some may be unaware of any immigration stories in their own families. They may have discussed contemporary U.S. immigration issues in a family setting or in school, or they may have no knowledge at all of the current issues. Anticipate a range of reactions from participants and parents. If you find yourself in a difficult situation, make time to talk about it with your co-leader and your congregation’s religious educator. Some discomfort is normal, for both you and your learners, as you delve into stories of immigrants. You need not be an expert—you will learn together. Your job is to provide a safe container for discussion and activity as the children and you, with parents and families, explore a faithful response to immigration justice issues.

For more information contact socialjustice @ uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Monday, February 13, 2012.

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