Monday, May 20, 2013

Why is Piedmont Progressive Preschool non-sectarian instead of a Unitarian Universalist preschool?

A Niche that is Unique

Most preschools are either non- profit and religious, or for-profit and non-sectarian. It is very unique to find one that is non-profit and non-religious such as Piedmont Progressive Preschool (PPP).  PPP is the only preschool in the University area, which makes it an attractive option for many parents.   PPP families drive a long way for this type of preschool – some from as far away at Rock Hill and China Grove.

Needed by non-religious people

A new report on global religious identity shows that while Christians and Muslims make up the two largest groups, those with no religious affiliation — including atheists and agnostics — are now the third-largest “religious” group in the world. The study was released Dec. 18, 2012 by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.   Parents who do not wish for their children to have unwanted religious instruction have no choice than to put their children in a for-profit preschool or skip it altogether.  For-profit schools have a reputation as corporate and sterile, as well as not offering programs suited to the best interests of the children – for instance, having TVs in every room so the teachers can take a break while children watch.  There is a rigid curriculum where there are few opportunities for children to engage in open-ended creativity indoors, nor for them to spend time outside under trees and on grass.

Celebrating Diversity

A religious preschool is by its very nature non-diverse. People of differing religions tend not to choose one outside their denomination.  One of PPP’s founding principles is to have a diverse population of children and families to enrich the overall experience for everyone.

Religion having a better place at home and church

Parents have more control over their children’s religious instruction when it comes from them or from their trusted religious childcare providers and clergy. 

UU Principles and PPP

The PPP is run according to a philosophy which closely aligns with UU principles (which are displayed in all the PPP’s classrooms).  

Principle 1 The inherent worth and dignity of every person;

Children are taught to behave in ways that reflect respect for each other, their families and their teachers. They learn to use their words to treat everyone as they would wish to be treated.

Principle 2 Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;

Classroom management techniques used by teachers encourage justice, equity and compassion through an emphasis on empathy for others while giving everyone a voice.

Principle 3 Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;

Children are encouraged to embrace one another’s differences and to ask the big questions, most of which are appropriately answered by their peers rather than adults.

Principle 4 A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;

Children are encouraged to ask questions about anything and everything.  Nothing is taboo, but developmentally appropriate language is always used by the teachers.

Principle 5 The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;

The democratic process is often used in the classroom to make decisions: for instance, voting on what kind of cooking project to make or the next song to sing.

Principle 6 The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all; 

Peace, freedom and justice are lived out small-scale in the classroom every day.  Children learn to resolve conflict peacefully through words, they are free to explore the classroom without limits, and everyone gets a turn.

Principle 7 Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Children spend a majority of their time at PPP outdoors, playing, gardening, walking on the nature trail or picnicking on nice days. This develops a keen sense of love and respect for the environment.

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