Taking Your Seat

Unit Plan

Taking Your Seat

About This Resource

Summary This MWE unit plan outlines a wide range of lessons and activities that teachers can use to begin a new year or a new cycle, and to and support students with the process of settling into something new with awareness of their own intentions. In this thematic unit students are invited to be present, find their place in the community, and appreciate how awareness can bring dignity and spaciousness to any endeavor.


What Is Taking Your Seat?

In any endeavor, there is a first step. Cultures around the world have developed practices to acknowledge or commemorate these beginnings. The larger the undertaking, the more ceremonious that first step can look and feel. But even simple activities like drinking a cup of tea or sitting on a cushion can be uplifted when done with mindfulness, intention, and even a little ceremony. The more thoughtfully we approach beginnings, the more stable and even more fun they can be.

On a personal level, when we sit down to meditate, first we find a spot, then we sit, usually what follows is a deep breath and some settling in. Importantly, we check our intentions, and then we are ready to work with our minds and bodies with dignity and awareness.

At school, the Taking Your Seat unit is intended as the foundation of our year together, serving as a bridge of transition from extended vacation to the rhythm of a new school year. As teachers, we begin to fully embody our sacred responsibility as a holder of the classroom environment. It’s a time for students and teachers alike to take the time to settle in, develop our relationships, and begin the year with a sense of freshness, curiosity, and delight.

On a practical level, this is a time for students, teachers, and parents to familiarize themselves with the structures and rhythms of the school, which includes things like the flow of the day, the physical environment, the people in the school community, and the celebrations and practices that we do.
When we take our seats in the community, we become aware of our place within the larger context in which we operate, and develop a sense of responsibility for our actions within our shared place. We are perched in such a way that we can see the big picture and, with discernment and altruism, we can begin to develop an intention to benefit others.

From a Buddhist perspective, when we take our seat, we are rising to the occasion of being human, paying attention to the present moment, instead of being distracted by thinking about what has happened or what will come.

Access the full unit here 

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