About Youth Spiritual Growth and Development

Our Approach

At the heart of our youth Spiritual Growth and Development (SGD) program is the idea that children have an innate spirituality that we can nurture within the context of a loving and supportive community. We do this by creating classrooms where adults and children can learn from each other, build strong relationships, and create a safe space to explore life’s biggest questions. Each class uses curricula that help children understand the building blocks of spirituality in age-appropriate ways, using the 7 Unitarian Universalist Principles as a framework.

Our work in the classrooms each Sunday is vital, and yet it is just one piece of a larger vision. We are striving to create a program that is:

Whole Congregation: The community is stronger when we work together and create multi-generational opportunities. Our SGD program works with many groups in our congregation to do social justice projects, multi-generational worship services, family-friendly social events, and special programs like the “Our Whole Lives Sexuality Education” program. Each year we look for new ways to expand and deepen these connections.

Whole Week: Our children’s faith formation does not begin and end on Sunday. In fact, some of the most important spiritual growth happens at home. We offer monthly family spiritual resources that parents can use at home to help their children understand the world and their place in it.

Whole Lives: We want to help children build healthy relationships with themselves, with others, and with the wider world. We want them to feel grounded in a Unitarian Universalist identity and yet empowered to explore their own beliefs. We want them to have opportunities to engage in social justice work so they can live out their values. And we want them to develop religious literacy so they can deepen their spiritual lives.

Questions? Contact sgd@uuaa.org.

Class Meeting Times

To attend any of our Sunday classes, please register your child.

The regular SGD program runs from September – May. Class times are 9:30—10:45 and 11:30—12:45. Please arrive a few minutes early to check in your child.

  • Nursery and Preschool classrooms are always open during both the 9:30 a.m. and the 11:30 a.m. services (even when classes for older children do not meet).
  • Kindergarten – 12th grade classes are offered only during the 11:30 a.m. service.

The SGD Summer Program (Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend) offers one, multi-age class for rising Young 5s/Kindergarten through 5th grade students during the 10:30am Service and childcare for nursery/Preschool. Sixth grade students and older are encouraged to attend summer worship services and youth events.


The following UUAA building elements and SGD practices promote the safety 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 check for each year that they volunteer.
  • 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 Saline 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.


Each year, the Spiritual Growth & Development program is enriched by almost 100 volunteers!

The greatest volunteer need is for classroom teachers. Teaching is a great way to serve the UUAA community and connect with our youth.

As a classroom volunteer, you will be part of a teaching team of four people who work together to complement one another’s strengths. The time commitment is two Sundays per month, serving one as the lead teacher, and one as an assistant. Teachers get support and assistance from the Spiritual Growth and Development Committee and the Director of Spiritual Growth & Development.

To get started and let us know about your interests, please email sgd@uuaa.org.


Our K-5th grade 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.

Middle School Programs

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.

Our Whole Lives (OWL – Only available for 8th graders): A comprehensive sexuality curriculum that 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 required. Parent orientation is also required.

High School Programs

Coming of Age: As youth prepare to leave childhood, they are maturing physically, cognitively, emotionally and spiritually. The Coming of Age program is designed to help 9th graders examine their own beliefs, better appreciate Unitarian Universalism, and explore how these intersect.

Young Religious Unitarian Universalists (YRUU – Available for 10th-12th graders): Students and advisors work together to plan and carry out a wide variety of activities, discussions, community service, and social justice projects throughout the year. Activities may also include outings and events such as trips to Cedar Point and the Apple Dumpling Sale.