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The words of Thomas Jefferson (1801) were used in Everson vs. Board to re-establish the need to separate church and state
..religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God... I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" thus building a wall of separation between church and State.
However, in cases where religious education is allowed (say, in private schools or charter ones), the same treatment should be given to the implementation of a religious ed. program as a regular ed. program. The reason is mainly because, if the religious program is to follow state academic standards, and will be evaluated, it should first and foremost keep the academic achievement of students as its main goal. Religious ed is not established to gear the students to become more attached to a specific belief: it is geared toward the academic goal of creating sound students who can learn how to analyze and problem solve in a diversity of contexts within their cultural specifics.
The UUA (Unitarian Universalist Association) is a congregation of congregations that uses the curricular series Tapestries of Faith as part of their comprehensive religious program. The UUA basically applies he multicultural approach as it embraces all religious and ethnic groups within its main congregation, and uses the ministries to preach unity among its members despite of theological differences.
This being said, the Tapestries series focuses on religious and spiritual education by developmental stage and the series are divided by grade levels, all the way up to adult ed. The program includes:
- basal readers
- print-rich posters and materials with vocabulary keywords
- online and bilingual courses
- toolkits and manipulatives for the values series
- games and stories
- interactive resources
Keep in mind that their series is entirely downloadable and provided free of charge, being that the materials were made with donations from individuals and organizations with interests similar to those of the UUA. However, a religious ed. program can be created with little to no money if you follow the same UUA approach. The essential materials will still be:
- interactive games and activities
- stories and reading materials
- print-rich classroom reproducibles with keywords
- vocabulary lists with key terminology
- a list of online go-to resources
- graphic organizers
- writing supplies
That is all that is really needed to make any program work.
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