Our middle school children are eleven and twelve years old. They are capable of critical thinking about right and wrong. With this in mind, we have chosen Amazing Grace as our middle school curriculum this year.
Amazing Grace is the creation of Richard S. Kimball, a Unitarian Universalist educator. Kimball describes his curriculum as one which “ helps…(middle school children) understand right and wrong and act on their new understanding. It equips them for moving safely and productively through the middle and high school years, when they will be continually tugged toward both ends of the ethics continuum. Through their involvement in Amazing Grace, youth will come to recognize and depend on their Unitarian Universalist identity and resources as essential to their movement toward understanding, independence, and fulfillment of personal promise.” – https://www.uua.org/re/tapestry/children/grace
Each session includes a story which sets the theme for the class. Two or three activities follow. For instance, a story might illustrate the theme “good guys/bad guys”. Activities would carry through that theme. Children might think about what constitutes a ‘good behavior’ and “not-good behavior”. Then, in a second activity, they might discuss what pressures would cause them to take one course or another. To end, the curriculum offers “ethics play”, where the children discuss hypothetical situations which present a moral dilemma. What will they do if…?
Teachers find our middle school youngsters willing and able to grapple with important life questions. Amazing Grace creates conditions for children to bond and support one another as they try to “do the right thing”.