Our Whole Lives (OWL)
Honest, accurate, developmentally appropriate information about sexuality changes lives. It dismantles stereotypes and assumptions, builds self-acceptance and self-esteem, fosters healthy relationships, improves decision making, and has the potential to save lives. For these reasons and more, we are proud to offer Our Whole Lives, a comprehensive, lifespan sexuality education curricula in our congregation. This program has been developed by the Unitarian Universalist Association and is continually updated to include new information and cultural shifts.
Interactive workshops and lessons engage participants, while step-by-step instructions for program planners and facilitators help ensure success. All OWL facilitators have been trained and certified to teach their level of OWL by the UUA.
Our Whole Lives helps participants make informed and responsible decisions about their sexual health and behavior. With a holistic approach, Our Whole Lives provides accurate, developmentally appropriate information about a range of topics, including relationships, gender identity, sexual orientation, sexual health, and cultural influences on sexuality.
The OWL program begins the conversation with children and youth while supporting parents to be the primary sexual educators. We know it can be hard to approach these topics with your children and youth. The OWL program helps to break the ice so you and your child can have open, healthy conversations about this complex topic as they grow into puberty and beyond.
We are happy to offer OWL for all elementary and secondary levels every other year. The next time this curriculum will be offered is 2018-19.
Here at UU Schenectady we offer OWL for all ages for our children and youth:
The K-1 OWL class meets on Sunday morning. The K-1 curriculum supports parents in educating children about birth, babies, bodies and families. Following a Parent Meeting and Parent/Child Orientation, the 8 sessions engage children with stories, songs and activities and include a weekly HomeLink – a homework project for parents and children to do together. This promotes dialogue between parent and child.
The 5-6 OWL class meets on Sunday mornings. This 8-session program is 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.
The 7-8 OWL class meets outside of Sunday morning for a full year to ensure the youth still have a spiritual religious education class on Sunday. Unlike many other sexuality curricula currently available, this program is comprehensive and progressive. The class learns the many interweaving circles of sexuality: sexual identity, sexual health and reproduction, intimacy, sensuality, and sexualization. In an inclusive and developmentally appropriate manner, it addresses sensitive topics that are typically excluded. Topics include body image, social media/internet, bullying/bystander responsibilities, and consent education.
The 11-12 OWL Class meets outside of Sunday morning. Using a comprehensive approach, this program helps senior-high youth gain the knowledge, life principles and skills they need to express their sexuality in life-enhancing ways. Includes a parent orientation and 12 sessions.