Lessons in Living Program
Unity School has devoted an entire department, called Lessons in Living, to educate, nurture and embrace our students, staff, and families in the vision of love, wisdom and DIVINE GREATNESS that lies deep within each person. This philosophy is based on peace, acceptance, tolerance, compassion, non-violence and reverence for ourselves, the human family and all life on this planet. Children are inspired to believe they have their own unique contribution to give and they can be a powerful influence for bringing forth great and needed change in our society and our world. As a non-denominational school, we encourage an appreciation for religious and cultural diversity.
Starting as young as Toddlers and through 8th Grade, students are taught a formal 45-minute lesson once a week. Self awareness of body, mind, emotions and spirit (love) are taught with the understanding of the function of each aspect, and when they are working together, they can bring balance and harmony to ourselves and others. Emotional Intelligence tools are taught and practiced with the students to assist them in making good decisions, and handling stress in their lives. Students are instructed on the connection between the brain and the “heart.” When our heart and our brain are in coherence, stress is relieved in our lives and we are able to make better choices. Weekly lessons impart universal principles, virtues, which enhance moral reasoning development, as well as conflict resolution skills.
Earth Stewardship, nurturing a deep love and respect for our world, is another very important part of our curriculum for all grades. Children are taught that we are all responsible for the quality of life on this planet. This is reflected in the on-campus recycling program (uniform recycling for our families, recycled cell phones and ink cartridges), many butterfly gardens, vegetable gardens, as well as rain barrels to water the gardens. Our students are also involved in causes that address the rain forest, oceans, and endangered animals, to name a few.
Lessons in Living is a multi-faceted department. Our primary function is to provide students, staff & families with education and support. The department mentors teachers and provides them with curriculum, reference materials, and workshops. Classroom teachers present a weekly Peace Education lesson and endeavor to integrate the lesson objectives throughout all subject areas. The teachers are required to adhere to set criteria and are formally evaluated once a year as Peace Ambassador Teachers.
All students are given the opportunity to be contributing citizens within their community on a regular basis. Middle School students volunteer monthly at a local child development center or visit with the elderly at a local assisted-living facility. Many Middle School students go above and beyond the required service hours and several are honored each year for earning over 100 hours. Their hours are earned each year in a variety of ways, such as preparing and serving lunch at the local Caring Kitchen, Forgotten Soldier Collection, Special Olympics, and Race for the Cure, etc. All students are offered many opportunities to serve and help both locally and globally with food collections each week, Trick or Treat for UNICEF, clothing collections, humanitarian aid to Ghana, Solar Ovens for Haiti, hurricane relief, Heifer Project, “Clean Your Desk Campaign” to aid less fortunate students, and Habitat for Humanity, to name a few.
The school experience embraces the whole person and the entire family. Our families overwhelmingly meet our school’s expectation of parent involvement. Almost without exception, our parents regularly volunteer at our school. The largest volunteer committee is our Lessons In Living committee, which plans and organizes “Peace on Earth Day”, the Angel Tree, (which provides gifts at the holidays for over 250 people), food drives, outreach programs, and assistance in making curriculum materials that enhance the program and bring application of these lessons into the home. In addition, we have a team of over twenty-five parent volunteers who serve on our Care and Support Team. Our goal is to raise global citizens who live in harmony with themselves, others and their world, and who value the importance of serving humanity.
Care & Support
Care and Support is a unique program that sets Unity School apart from other schools. The Care and Support Team was established in 1996 as an extension of Lessons In Living. It is the sincere hope of Unity School, that each family be given support when needed in order to promote the concept of unconditional love, acceptance and support as practiced at Unity School.
Our Care and Support Team consists of 1or 2 parent volunteers from each classroom. These volunteers work closely with and under the direction of Lessons in Living and the U.S.S.O. Care and Support Coordinator. Care and Support is offered in a number of different ways. For example, meals may be provided for individuals that have physical limitations or that are experiencing a prolonged illness. Assistance with carpooling or grocery shopping may be offered to those who are unable to drive due to injury or illness. Care and support cards are sent when there is a death in the family, for healing thoughts and prayers when there is an illness, and even for joyous occasions such as the birth of a child. Last year alone, over 100 Care and Support cards were sent to Unity Families and Unity Alumni.
We also have a Care and Support lending library with books and resources that are available on loan, at any time. There are many articles and handouts regarding children and grief/loss, as well as books on parenting, peace, Earth keeping, emotions, conflict resolution, and self help.
The Lessons in Living Department, with assistance from the Lessons in Living Committee, sponsors several special events each year. In the fall, all students participate in our Peace on Earth Day celebration. Each year a new theme is chosen. The children participate through special songs, skits, and creative projects. Families are encouraged to get involved in the celebration as well. Our other annual events focus on serving our local and global community. These events include Angel Tree, Community Food Drive, UNICEF, and an Earth conservation project.
All Unity Middle School Leadership Students are required to perform community service. Ten hours are required for 6th Grade, fifteen hours for 7th Grade, and twenty hours for 8th Grade, with at least half of the required hours earned off campus.
A Daily Call to Focus on Peace
Unity students begin each day ringing the Unity School Peace Bell. Each time the bell rings, they are invited to “think peace in their minds” and “feel peace in their hearts.” Following the bell, they affirm their greatness within, as they recite the Unity School Peace Prayer.
In Lessons in Living I learned…
- The importance of a Heart-Lock In to calm myself or to visualize success.
- How to get along with people who are different from me.
- I can make a difference in the world.
- How to be a better friend.
- It is my responsibility to protect the environment.
- Ways to create Peace.
- I can handle any situation if I stop and take the time to take some deep breaths, and then think it through before I react.
- It is OK to be myself.
- That I can do anything I put my mind to.
- I can be a good role model for others.
- The importance of love and respect.
- To love the land and the oceans and respect all life.
- To use my assertive voice to solve problems or conflicts peacefully.
- I have the gift of imagination and creativity.