We believe lifespan, age-appropriate sexuality education is an important part of a healthy religious and spiritual life. Unitarian Universalism celebrates our bodies and our experiences in our bodies, and considers sexuality a healthy and normal part of life.
We thus offer Our Whole Lives: Sexuality Education, or OWL for short, for Grades K-2, 4-6, and 7-9 every three years. Our upcoming OWL sessions are K-2 OWL in 2017-18, 7-9 OWL in 2018-19, and 4-6 OWL in 2019-20. We are also hoping to add 10-12 OWL to our rotation in 2019-20. This popular sexuality education program moves beyond the intellect to address the attitudes, values, and feelings that youth have about themselves and the world. It equips participants with accurate, age-appropriate information about sexuality.
A complete description of the OWL curriculum is available here.
Questions & Answers
What is OWL?
OWL is an expanded and updated series of sexuality education curricula developed by the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ. It is a comprehensive program that addresses sexuality throughout the human lifespan, with programs for age groups ranging from Kindergarten through adults. The program provides accurate information for children, families, and parents to learn about sexuality in the affirming and supportive setting of our religious communities.
OWL is a ministry! Our Whole Lives is about much more than just anatomy and health. It is about values, respect, emotions, and justice, too. It is about the sacred aspects of sexuality, which is part of the miracle of creation. This is why we teach OWL in church- because sexuality is sacred, and sexuality education is ministry. OWL helps participants develop and articulate their religious and sexual values and it helps participants make informed, responsible, healthy decisions based on those values.
Who is leading the class?
The OWL facilitators are chosen for their comfort and/or skills in working with the OWL age groupings, their dedication to Unitarian Universalist values, and their willingness to make such a big commitment. They have completed the required course sponsored by the UUA for OWL facilitators, and have had criminal background checks.
How much does this cost?
The fee for the K-2 grade and 4-6 grade OWL programs are $25 per child for church members, $35 per child for non-members. The fee for the 7th-9th grade and 10th-12th grade OWL programs are $75 per child for church members, and $100 per child for non-members. We do not want the cost to prohibit any student from participating, so please contact the Director of Religious Education, Nadine Tringali if you are concerned about the fee.
How often will this program be offered?
This year (2016-2017) we offered 4-6 grade OWL and 7-9 grade OWL. We will be offering K-2 grade OWL in 2017-2018. Our plan is to offer K-2, 4-6 and 7-9 OWL programming on a three-year rotational basis. We are considering offering 10-12 grade OWL, young adult, and/or adult OWL, as resources allow and if there is interest.
Will I know what my child is learning?
The parent orientations will cover most of what your child/children will be learning. You have the opportunity to review all materials beforehand to ensure you are comfortable with the lessons.
Are the class discussions confidential?
Yes. All discussions in class are confidential unless something life-threatening is revealed. We will work to encourage open communication between you and your teen, but we recognize that teens are often reluctant to talk with their parents about sexuality. To encourage our youth to grow and trust the group, confidentiality is imperative.
Why is the Parent Orientation mandatory?
Since we consider parents to be the most important sexual educators for their children, it is very important that they know what the OWL lessons will be covering. This is the chance where parents can review all of the materials and ask the facilitators questions to ensure their comfort about the program. We want all parents to be fully informed before they give permission for their child to participate.