Celebrate National Children’s Day with OWL, June 9

The second Sunday of June is celebrated as National Children’s Day, dating back to over a century ago, when the idea was imagined by a pastor in Chelsea, Massachusetts. In 1856, the Rev. Charles Leonard of the Universalist Church set up the second Sunday of June as a time for families to bring their children forward to address their needs as well as have them baptized. At the time, this day was called Rose Day, then Flower Day, and eventually it came to be known as Children’s Day.

Two dads with toddler son having fun outdoors.

One of the ways the United Church of Christ honors children is through the UCC OWL program–“Our Whole Lives” which guides relationships, health and behavior in the context of faith.

Developmentally appropriate throughout the lifespan

“Our Whole Lives recognizes that children are learning about sexuality from the ways they are cared for, how they are taught to behave, how much agency they have over their bodies, how their identities are honored, how they are taught to give and receive affection, what media messages they receive about all those things, and how relationships are modeled for them,” said the Rev. Amy Johnson, minister for sexuality education and justice at the UCC National Setting. “Our curriculum is comprehensive, inclusive, medically accurate, and addresses topics in a developmentally appropriate manner throughout the lifespan.”

Because May is “Sex Ed for All” month, Johnson recently hosted a webinar featuring special guest, Rev. Naomi Washington-Leapheart, board member of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SEICUS) about the importance of sexuality education in faith communities.

“Children and youth deserve to grow up in a world which uplifts embodiment over shame. A world where they have the autonomy and support to discovery who they are – inside and out – as Creator shaped them to be and become,” said Rachael Ward, minister & team leader for Gender & Sexuality Justice Ministries. “Our Whole Lives is this beacon of hope for our youth who need, perhaps more than ever, a mirror and companion along their journey that their bodies are theirs and they are Whole as they are in bloom.”

Meanwhile, the OWL curriculum for kindergarten through first grade has recently been updated. The revisions are discussed in another webinar, also hosted by Johnson. One can find even more resources for education of children around sexuality at this link, Parents and Caregivers As Sexuality Educators | PDF Download | UCC Resources.

And as we get ready to celebrate June as Pride month, parents may be interested in the upcoming webinar, Celebrating God’s Transgender and Gender-Diverse Children. You can find more information and a link to register for that here.


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Categories: United Church of Christ News

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