Covenantal relationship is part of the mission of ERUUF. Modeling and expecting respectful behavior is how we affirm the inherent worth and dignity or all people and to all living things. Setting clear and limited expectations and consequences with children and youth in your care is how we model respect. The suggested covenant below can be used for younger children up to 3rd grade. Covenants for older youth can be created together, again limit the expectations and the consequences. Use only affirmative language (e.g. Refrain from using the words ”not," or “no” when creating expectations)
Sample of Children’s Covenant
Draw a large but simple stick person with the features listed below labeled on the drawing. You can create this on a large post it easel pad and reuse each week.
Head: Open your mind to learning and wonder.
Eyes: Be Safe Look for ways to help.
Ears: Listen when others are speaking.
Lips: Talk about what you think and feel. Use your words and ask for what you need.
Heart: Be kind. Treat others as you want to be treated
Hands: Offer a helping hand when someone asks for your help.
Legs: Try to understand what a person is saying by walking in that person’s shoes. Imagine how you would feel if you were them. (omit this if you are creating a covenant for very young children)
Method: Use the figure with body parts to review the expectations. Ask the children what they think they mean? Review weekly. Eventually the children will explain the expectations themselves without the assistance of an adult.
Establishing Consequences in RE
The purpose of establishing consequences to breaking the covenant is to replace undesirable behavior with the desired behavior. The consequences for breaking a classroom rule are at least as important as the rule itself. Every teacher must create consequences with which they are comfortable. Keep in mind that the consequences are not designed to be punitive; they are opportunities for the child/youth to make clear choices.We recommend that the assistant teacher in the class take over the task of classroom management, thereby enabling the lead teacher to continue with the lesson uninterrupted.
Classroom Management Tips and Hints
Welcoming All Children: Use a carpet square or find a special space in the circle for a children feeling anxious or reluctant to join the group. Create calm down area in the classroom for a child/youth needing privacy or to cool down.
Questions/ Directions: Give one direction at a time. When asking a question take some time before choosing a child to answer. Some children take longer to process directions and questions.
Breathing Strategies/Relaxation Exercises: Sometimes just stopping everything and breathing or relaxing will help a child. Try the following:
Breathing in: Smell the flower, Breathing out: Blow out the candle
Relaxation: Have on hand something relaxing to do like blowing bubbles or pin wheels.
Visual Covenant: Break covenant down into expectations. Make pictures to accompany the words. Laminate on paper and pass around the circle when you are reviewing.
Tape: Each class will have a role of painting tape to help mark areas as needed. Clearly delineated space is important to some children.
Visual Cue Chart: It is important for some children to have a routine and know what to expect in the class each week. (e.g. circle, chalice, sharing, book, games, craft, closing etc) It is helpful to write the elements out and, if possible add a visual symbol. Post the visual cue chart in the class. Praise often: All children deserve praises. For every correction it is suggested they receive 5 praises. Constantly reinforce what the children are doing right.
Stop and Energize: Energizers are sometimes just the thing when class is having a hard time settling down. Suggested energizers will be taught at the teacher trainings. Mix it up, go outside or play a game. Sensory Objects; Each class will have a basket of sensory items that children can have
while they are sitting in circle listening to a story or during sharing time. Children who are distracted can benefit from holding something in their
Craft activities: Be aware of perspective when you are helping children with a craft. Stand next to them not across from them when explaining. Use humor often.
Continuing Education R.E.sources for Teachers
Ways to answer questions that parents new to the R.E. program might ask
Racial equity and inclusion support in R.E.
Including people with disabilities
Support for U.U. R.E. Teachers
Continuing Ed PDFs for Spiritual Directors
Boundaries in Spiritual Direction
Building Helping Skills: Nonverbal Communication