In their study of Renaissance history, our 5th and 6th grade students have just completed a unit on the rebirth of Intellectualism in the Renaissance. The culminating activity was to follow the writing form of Erasmus to create their own "Agagia," or collection of meaningful quotes. Click on the picture to see the full quote.
The hybrid model school concept supports a vast array of daily scheduling opportunities for families. Elementary students attend school on-campus 2-days-per-week leaving parents with plenty of options for completing satellite-day lesson plans. Here are a few ideas for adding a little variety to the a satellite-day.
Providence Preparatory School has been back to school for just over 3 weeks. Having worked in traditional 5-day-a-week education for over 20 years, I am adjusting to the University-Model that only has elementary students meeting "At-School" 2-days-a-week and off campus for "Satellite-Classes" 3-days-a-week.
Here are some of the differences I have noticed already:
Energy - Students and teachers arrive at school excited about the day ahead. There is a unique atmosphere when the school day starts. With on-campus teaching happening only 2 days per week, students seem rested and eager to see their friends and teachers. Teachers also have a day off in-between classes and only teach one or two classes on the days that they are on campus giving them plenty of time to focus, prepare and rejuvenate before arriving back on campus to teach.
Culture - The high level of energy works to help create the prevailing school culture. Due to the fact that students are only on campus 2 days per week there is very little class time that is not purposefully planned. Teachers are expected to utilize all of their allotted teaching time and students learn to respect the need to be attentive while the teacher is teaching. So, what we experience is very focused class periods surrounded by scheduled activity breaks such as brain break, recess, and physical education type classes. Additionally, students tend to cherish the time they have with friends at school due to the fact that they are only on campus with each other 2 days a week.
Family-focused— The University-Model provides an atmosphere that fosters meaningful interaction between parents and children. The true value of the University-Model is that parents serve as co-teachers with experienced professional educators. The “at-school” teacher develops the weekly lesson plans, teaches academic concepts, administers and grades quizzes and tests while at the same time serves a valuable resource to support the parent during the "satellite" school days. One thing that stands out to me is the depth of connection developed because the parents are so intimately involved in the learning process of their children. Who knows better how a child learns than a parent? In this model, parents are given the resources to capitalize on this knowledge and help their children grow academically and spiritually.
When I served as headmaster of a traditional 5-day-a-week school it seemed as if the school dictated the family activities each week. Naturally, students were out of the home and away from parents every weekday while they attended classes, but that wasn't the only time the school would determine a families schedule. Evening PTO meetings, sports/fine arts practices and homework also interfere with parents ability to influence family time. The University-Model gives families control over their time.
As the back to school routine approaches, fueling our children for a day of intellectual, social, physical and emotional growth shouldn’t be overlooked. Our bodies receive energy from the foods we eat, therefore the quality of our dietary consumption goes a long way to determining the quality of our day. This is important for adults and equally important for children who are still maturing and growing.
Here are a few tips to help get the new school year off to a nutritious start:
Plan a meal schedule - breakfast, lunch, and dinner and maybe even snacks
Before the stress of the work week begins plan out a meal schedule for the upcoming week. The more detailed the better, but at the very least writing down a breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu will free up your mind to think about other things. The beauty of a written meal plan is that you are thinking about it when you are not under pressure to produce a meal for your family, and it is a written record that can be re-used as often as you like. Start by just listing out foods for each meal, then you can pick items for each meal of the day off your master list. Once you get accustomed to planning your meal schedule, you might even want to start planning out snacks, as well.
Planning meals in advance is a great way to make the next two tips a bit easier to follow.
Make healthy breakfast choices - cereal is not enough to fuel the start of a day
It has been said the skipping breakfast is like trying to start a car without the key. It is easy to drop a packaged pastry and a juice box on the table, but that is not the type of fuel that will kick start the energy systems your child will draw on until lunch. Make sure that you child’s breakfast has plenty of protein, fruits/vegetables, and some healthy fats and very, very, little sugar to start their day of on the right track.
Now that you have his or her metabolism churning from a nutritious breakfast, staying fueled throughout the day means an equally nutritious lunch is a must.
Pack nutritious lunches - Make sure there protein in their lunch. Limit processed carbs. Include healthy fats. Minimize sugar. Water to drink.
Like breakfast, lunch is also very important. Think of lunch as putting gas in the car for the 2nd half of a long trip. Your child will likely be facing energy depletion and a decrease in focus by the time lunch rolls around. It is imperative that the food he or she eats for lunch adequately support brain and physical activity for the remainder of the school day. Lunch should include foods high in protein like lunch meat, tuna, and natural peanut butter (less processed sugars), carbohydrates (2 slices of bread will suffice for processed food) like fresh fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats like avocado, bacon bits, olive oil (dressing for salad). When packing a lunch consider sugar as an enemy, therefore, water is the best drink to provide with a meal. Carbonated drinks, sports drinks, and juice pouches are often provided out of convenience, but they are packed with sugar and excessive use will make it harder for children to stay attentive as the day progresses. Lunch is fuel for the 2nd half of the day!
Of course, every child is different and circumstances like allergies, food aversions, and any number of other issues can make meal time a challenge. Although there will likely be obstacles to overcome as you move towards healthy energy supplying food choices, one thing is certain...the quality of the food a child eats will effect his or her ability to reach optimum levels of growth and development.
If you have any questions about planning meals or healthy food choices, I am happy to help. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is human nature to interject a personal interpretation of ones own value of self into the understanding of a proper view of God and others. So, it would be remiss to develop a gospel focused philosophy of education void of the third foundation stone, a proper view of self.
Perhaps the chief struggle for the believer is to “deny yourself, pick up your cross, and follow Christ daily.” Why are the battle lines drawn so sternly between God as the center of a worldview versus man as the center of the universe? We battle against our flesh because it desires to have much made of it; however, the reality is that we don't exist to be made much of, but to make much of God. As followers of Christ we are not alone to conquer this enemy, but rather powered by the Holy Spirit to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
Theologian, Jonathan Edwards, wrote, “God has abundantly manifested in his word, that this is what He has a peculiar respect to in his saints, and that nothing is acceptable to him without it.” He supports this statement with the following text:
Psalm 34:18, "The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart, and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit."
Psalm 51:17, "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise."
Isa. 66:1, 2, "Thus saith the Lord, the heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor, and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word."
Micah 6:8, "He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord thy God require of thee; but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?"
Matt. 5:3, "Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of God."
Job 42:6, "I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”
A Gospel-powered educational philosophy requires that the parents and teachers enter into the educational arena in a state of humble awareness that the only hope that exists for a child is that they learn to view all aspects of their life as under the lordship of Jesus Christ. This includes recognizing ones own thoughts and actions as a reflection of our belief that God is above all and trustworthy to accomplish in and through us all that He promises. The Christian educator is vital in this process when he or she models before students the truth that ones value and worth is found in Christ and not our works.
A student under the leadership of parents and teachers who have a proper view of God, others and self benefit from a Gospel-Powered Education.
Over the past 5 years Providence Preparatory Academy has established a firm foundation supported by the following statements:
Gospel-Powered Education: A Proper View of Others
A Gospel-Powered Education seeks first to place God in His rightful position as the Author of all knowledge, as well as the ultimate fulfillment of life, eternity in his Holy presence. The proper view of others is the second foundation stone in establishing a biblically supported educational model. The teachers, both classroom and parent, carry the responsibility to display their commitment to Jesus Christ before their students/children in such a way that minimizes the interference of pride and maximizes opportunity for humility. A teacher represents Christ to his or her students as they grow together in relationship. His or her submission and humility is a reflection of Christ's selfless act, which is a foundation stone of the gospel.
Luke 6:40 tells us, “The disciple is not above his master; but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.” Similarly, a student is not above his teacher, but over time the student will begin to think like his or her teacher. When the teacher models the biblical precept of putting others first students will learn to act in concert. Opportunities abound for teachers to employ this timeless principle with interactions among students, parents, fellow faculty, and while facilitating the relational culture of a classroom. Students learn to “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Outdo yourselves in honoring one another (Romans 12:10).”
Although the goal of educating children is to provide a platform for life-long learning and the ability to understand ones gifts and talents, it is vital that the underlying support structure builds on a foundation of biblical truth. A school culture the built upon the power of the gospel to transform lives presents a proper view of God and others which will enable a student learn how to view themselves in relation to God, His creation, mankind, moral order, and man’s purpose.
Check in next week for the final installment on this for part blog series. Coming up next: Gospel-Powered Education: A Proper View of Self
Have you ever been asked the question, “If you could live in heaven without Jesus, would you still want to live there?” The answer to this question lies in your view of the gospel. Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the gospel, the “Good News?” If so, then it would be useless to live in a heaven that excluded Jesus. Life in heaven WITH Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment of your walk with Him. Heaven would not be pure peace without Jesus! All of the visions you have about eternal life with God are seen through the lens of Christ in you.
So what does any of this have to do with a Gospel-Powered Education? A proper view of God is the foundation of the philosophy of a Gospel-Powered Education. John Piper, in his book, God is the Gospel, simply states, knowing God is the victory. Digging deep into Isaiah, 40:9, “Behold your God,” Piper articulates that the true search for purpose in this life and the afterlife is a pure relationship with God.
Our entire existence on this earth centers upon the premise that we would rightfully esteem God as higher than any aspect of our own life. We should seek to trust Him as the Authority in all areas of our lives, including the education of children. A Gospel-Powered Education establishes the primary end of a students education is knowing God.
Academic content becomes not only a means for building student knowledge and developing life-long-learning skills, but is supported by God as the author of all knowledge. Social interaction becomes a tool for students to learn biblical principles such as love, forgiveness, suffering, acceptance, conflict resolution, submission, and leadership. Physical development trains students to recognize the body as a vessel for sharing the work of the Lord alongside fellow believers and outside the walls of Christian community to people yet to hear the gospel.
Parents and teachers (church and school) form the key to integrating the gospel into a child’s educational process. It is paramount that each of these key influencers have a proper view of God. When this happens in the life of a child they experience the power of the gospel as it unfolds in the life of the people they interact with most, and begin to form a foundation that recognizes that the ultimate purpose of our lives is “Behold your God!”
Link: God is the Gospel by John Piper
Knowing foundational beliefs of a school are paramount to understanding the framework from which decisions will be made, teachers will present information, and, ultimately the outcome of the student's entire educational experience. Providence Preparatory Academy is a distinctively Christian school that places it's understanding on the fundamental biblical truth that the gospel changes lives. This first blog series will outline a concept we like to call Gospel-Powered Education.
The gospel, or “good news” as we know it, holds the power of transformation. This transformation is one that changes lives for all of eternity. In it one finds hope and restoration, peace and tranquility, and answers to life’s most difficult questions. It is out of the gospel that we find energy to strive and thrive. All truth is revealed in the power of the gospel; therefore it is reasonable to say that the truest form of education is one that is gospel-powered. A gospel-powered-education is built upon the Holy Spirits outflow of belief and faith as revealed in the life of the parents and teacher.
Gospel-Powered Education: A philosophy of education that puts the proper focus on the power of the gospel to transforms lives.