Register for School of the Spirit Programs

We are proud to offer Our Whole Lives (OWL), the nationally renowned program on human sexuality developed in collaboration by the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ.

Our Fellowship offers these OWL classes (click on tabs for info):

Grade K/1 - Kindergarten/First Grade Our Whole Lives
Not offered during the 2018-19 year.

This component supports parents in educating their young children about birth, babies, bodies and families. It helps establish a life long family pattern of communication around sensitive topics. Following a Parent Meeting and Parent/Child Orientation, the eight class sessions engage children with stories, songs and activities and include a weekly “HomeLink” – a homework project for parents and children to do together. Families covenant to have their child attend all 8 sessions to promote trust and sharing. After the Orientation Session, the class is closed to drop-ins and new participants. Focusing on the “three R’s” of human sexuality—respect, relationship, and responsibility—it emphasizes that we believe every person should be treated fairly and kindly.

Recommended books:

  • It’s So Amazing by Robie Harris (highly recommended)
  • The Parent Guide to Our Whole Lives, Grades K-1

    • A session-by-session guide to what children will learn through the Our Whole Lives curricula for grades K-1 and 4-6. BVUUF has several copies for loan or a family may order their own copy from the UUA bookstore.
Grade 4/5 - Fourth/Fifth Grade Our Whole Lives
Not offered during the 2018-19 year.

This component is a 10-session program for learning about and discussing the physical and emotional changes of puberty. Participants will read It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie H. Harris, and examine topics such as values and sexuality, communication and decision making. Each session includes a HomeLink – a homework activity for parents and children to complete together. Following a Mandatory Parent/Child Meeting, families covenant to have their child attend all 10 sessions to promote trust and sharing. After the Orientation Session, the class is closed to drop-ins and new participants. Focusing on the “three R’s” of human sexuality – respect, relationship, and responsibility – it emphasizes that we believe every person should be treated fairly and kindly.

Other Recommended books:

  • The Parent Guide to Our Whole Lives, Grades 4-6
    • A session-by-session guide to what children will learn through the Our Whole Lives curricula for grades K-1 and 4-6. BVUUF has several copies for loan or a family may order their own copy from the UUA bookstore.

Grade 7/8 - Seventh/Eighth Grade Our Whole Lives
4 weekend retreats and 13 Sunday afternoon sessions, September 2018-April 2019
weekend retreats are 6pm Friday-3pm Saturday; Sunday sessions are 4:00-5:45pm

Tuition: $150 for members ($175 for non-members), sliding scale fee available.

Parent Orientation on Sunday, September 9. Kick-off Retreat Friday, September 28 to Saturday, September 29. Calendar available here.

This is the core offering of BVUUF’s OWL program. It presents a comprehensive approach to human sexuality in an age-appropriate manner and is based firmly on the values of respect, responsibility, justice and inclusivity. It helps young people apply these values to their behavior and provides them with information and skills they can use throughout life. It helps participants clarify their values and religious beliefs and emphasizes the worth and dignity of each participant.

Seventh/Eighth Grade OWL includes a comprehensive parent orientation. Participants covenant to attend all sessions. After the orientation session, the class is closed to drop-ins and new participants. The sessions are offered approximately two to three times per month, and include sessions that cover a single workshop and retreats where we will cover three workshops.

Grade 11/12 - Eleventh/Twelfth Grade Our Whole Lives
14 Sunday evening sessions (6:15-7:45pm), September 2018-April 2019
Tuition: $150 for members ($175 for non-members), sliding scale fee available.

Parent Orientation on Sunday, September 9. Opening Session on Sunday, September 23. Calendar available here.

This component is a 14-session program that empowers high school youth to make thoughtful decisions as they develop into young adulthood. It covers topics ranging from communication and consent to gender identity and sexual expression to intimacy and healthy relationships. The program presents a comprehensive approach to human sexuality in an age-appropriate manner and is based firmly on the values of respect, responsibility, justice and inclusivity. It helps young people apply these values to their behavior and provides them with information and skills they can use throughout life. It helps participants clarify their values and religious beliefs and emphasizes the worth and dignity of each participant.

Eleventh/Twelfth Grade OWL includes a comprehensive parent orientation. Participants covenant to attend all sessions. After the orientation session, the class is closed to drop-ins and new participants. The sessions are offered twice a month throughout the year.

Introduction to the O.W.L. Philosophy

Our Whole Lives (O.W.L.) is a nationally renowned series of sexuality education curricula developed by the Unitarian Universalist Association in partnership with the United Church of Christ. At BVUUF we try to offer it for four age groups: K/1st graders, 4/5th graders, 7/8th graders, and high schoolers. O.W.L. helps participants make informed and responsible decisions about their sexual health and behavior. It equips participants with accurate, age-appropriate information in six subject areas: human development, relationships, personal skills, sexual behavior, sexual health, and society and culture. Grounded in a holistic view of sexuality, O.W.L. provides not only facts about anatomy and human development, but helps participants to clarify their values, build interpersonal skills, and understand the spiritual, emotional, and social aspects of sexuality.

Our Whole Lives Values:

  • Self Worth
  • Sexual Health
  • Responsibility
  • Justice
  • Inclusivity

Each level of Our Whole Lives offers:

  • Up-to-date information
  • Honest age-appropriate answers to all participants’ questions
  • Activities to help participants clarify values and improve decision-making skills
  • Effective group-building to create a safe and supportive peer group
  • Education about sexual abuse, exploitation, and harassment
  • Opportunities to critique media messages about gender and sexuality
  • Acceptance of diversity
  • Encouragement to act for justice
  • A well designed, teacher-friendly leaders’ guide
  • Parent orientation programs that affirm parents as the primary sexuality educators of their children
  • Sexuality and Our Faith, an optional religious component for Unitarian Universalist and United Church of Christ settings.

Praise for Our Whole Lives

“As a scholar and activist in the field of child welfare, and as a parent of a teenager who has participated in the program, I deeply appreciate the wisdom imparted by Our Whole Lives. Our Whole Lives transmits a great deal of valuable information, but more importantly, it promotes compassion and responsibility. As my 15-year-old told me, “Our Whole Lives does much more than teach us plumbing, Mom. It helps us to know what we should do in a difficult situation.” — Sylvia Ann Hewlett, Chair, National Parenting Association

“The Our Whole Lives curriculum guide is extremely well written and easy for professional educators to use. The program handles a variety of issues that are absent from many sexuality education programs sexual orientation, body image, sexuality throughout the life-cycle—in creative and engaging ways. Most importantly, the program ensures that young people not only get the information they need but that they get the skills practice that evaluations show is critical to ensuring healthy choices and behaviors.” — Leslie M. Kantor, MPH, Vice President of Education, Planned Parenthood of New York City

“Our Unitarian Universalist Purposes and Principles are woven into the fabric of Our Whole Lives. They take on new meaning as they become the basis for decisions and taking actions.” — Chris Nelson and Holly Van Goor, Our Whole Lives for Grades 7-9 facilitators, Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church, Bethesda, MD

“The most important part of the Our Whole Lives for Grades 4-6 curriculum was that it opened lines of communication between parents and young people. Parents of children in this age group sometimes need help in raising sexuality issues with their children. Not only were the children themselves eager to talk about the issues with their parents, they were able to ‘check out’ information they had received from peers or the media.” — Gail Forsythe-Vail, Director of Religious Education, North Parish Unitarian Universalist Church, North Andover, MA

“Our Whole Lives for Grades K-1 created a lot of good conversation in our home. The books I brought home for my kindergartner were seen and read by my ten-year-old, and we all had a healthy, constructive talk about sexuality. ” — parent, Our Whole Lives for Grades K-l field test

“Teaching Our Whole Lives for Grades 7-9 was a powerful experience that challenged my sexual values to my inner core. It was a most enlightening experience, allowing me to witness young people as they grow through the struggles within themselves, their bodies and their values about sexuality.” — Volker Thomas, Our Whole Lives for Grades 7-9 facilitator, Unitarian Universalist Church of Lafayette, IN

For more information, visit the national OWL Web site.

For more information on the BVUUF OWL program, contact the Director of Religious Education at directorRE@bvuuf.org.