Impressionable Character Training
One of the things dear to our hearts at Ardent, aside from caring for and teaching all of the precious children entrusted to us during the day, is the time spent during the week on character training. Unfortunately, we live in a fallen world and character is not something that most children learn by themselves, it is something that has to be instilled something that leaves an impression.
Consider this quote from Frederick Douglass, “It is easier to raise strong children than to repair broken men” and at Ardent we want to come alongside our families to do just that…raise strong children.
What can you expect from us every week?
We will post in the lobby and the classrooms the character trait for the week. Every morning, during Morning Meeting, the character trait and accompanying Scripture verse will be recited. During Bible, it will be expounded upon and integrated with the Bible story for the week. Throughout the day, teachers will review by modeling and mentoring what the practical application of that trait looks like!
What we get really excited about is that character training doesn’t have to end with the school day! As parents, you get the awesome opportunity to carry on the conversation at home! This is what we like to call “purposeful conversations” and they are sure to make every moment count.
First of all, define your terms! We’ve taken each character trait and put it into easy to understand terms for the children.
Second, use those terms! God made our children to be like sponges – not only do they absorb but they retain!!! During those purposeful conversations, go back to those terms to remind and reinforce.
Third, consider the circumstance! What is currently happening that can be used for a purposeful conversation? Seize the moment!
Fourth, memorize Scripture! It can be a challenge as an adult to memorize, after all, it’s just not as fun as it is for children! Learn the Scripture verses together and you will reap the rewards as a family!
Classical education depends on a three-part process of training the mind called the Trivium.
The first years of schooling are called the Grammar Stage because these are the years in which the building blocks for all other learning is laid, just as grammar is the foundation for language. In the early school years, the mind is ready to absorb information. Children at this age actually find memorization fun. So during this period, education involves not self-expression and self-discovery, but rather the learning of facts. Rules of phonics and spelling, rules of grammar, poems, the vocabulary of foreign languages, the stories of history and literature, descriptions of plants and animals and the human body, the facts of mathematics — the list goes on. This information makes up the “grammar,” or the basic building blocks, for the second stage of education.
A student is ready for the Logic Stage when the capacity for abstract thought begins to mature. The logic of writing, for example, includes paragraph construction and learning to support a thesis; the logic of reading involves the criticism and analysis of texts, not simple absorption of information; the logic of history demands that the student find out why the War of 1812 was fought, rather than simply reading its story; the logic of science requires that the child learn the scientific method.
The final phase of a classical education, the Rhetoric Stage, builds on the first two. At this point, the student learns to write and speak with force and originality. The student of rhetoric applies the rules of logic learned in middle school to the foundational information learned in the early grades and expresses his conclusions in clear, forceful, elegant language.
A classical education is more than just a pattern of learning, though. First, it is language-focused: learning is accomplished through words , videos, and television. Why is it important? Language learning and image learning require very different habits of thought. Language requires the mind to work harder; in reading, the brain is forced to translate a symbol (words on the page) into concept. Images, such as those on videos and television, allow the mind to be passive. In front of a video screen, the brain can “sit back” and relax; faced with the written page, the mind is required to roll its sleeves up and get to work.
Second, a classical education follows a specific three-part pattern: the mind must be first supplied with facts and images, then given the logical tools for organization of those facts and images, and finally equipped to express conclusions.
Third, to the classical mind, all knowledge is interrelated.” ~Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise – The Well Trained Mind
This is the big picture of classical education. However, at Ardent our focus is on the grammar stage where children are taught through memorization and recitation. We accomplish this through learning games, songs and age appropriate activities. Beginning with our infants, children are engaged daily in fun but structured class time including letter sounds, numbers, colors, shapes and language development.
A Beka Book
A Beka Book is a comprehensive, quality curriculum written from a Christian perspective. Preschool children need a strong foundation in both academics and character and the A Beka Book program provides proven advanced reading and comprehension results.
(The following subject descriptions were taken from the A Beka Book Website)
The means by which each person may learn for himself
Because children become what they read, they need character-building reading materials from the very beginning. A Beka Book employs phonics as the most logical, orderly way to introduce reading to children. Beautifully illustrated and imaginatively written, A Beka Book readers are the finest available. Stories are carefully selected for interest, readability, theme, and values, with questions throughout to guide students in comprehension of reading material and in application of valuable principles to their lives.
The investigation of variety, order, and reasonableness revealed in creation
While secular science textbooks present modern science as the opposite of faith, the A Beka Book science texts teach that modern science is the product of Western man’s return to the Scriptures after the Protestant Reformation, leading to his desire to understand and subdue the earth, which he saw as the orderly, law-abiding creation of the God of the Bible. The A Beka Book science and health program presents the universe as the direct creation of God and refutes the man-made idea of evolution. Further, the books present God as the Great Designer and Lawgiver, without Whom the evident design and laws of nature would be inexplicable. They give a solid foundation in all areas of science—a foundation firmly anchored to Scriptural truth. Teachability is assured through accurate, interesting writing, carefully planned demonstrations that can be performed with a minimum of equipment, chapter terms and questions, full-color illustrations, consideration of the interests and comprehension skills of students at each grade level, and detailed curriculum/lesson plans.
The study of language and communication in a structured, reasonable, and well-articulated manner
Thought and language are foundational to acquiring and transmitting knowledge. Therefore, the teaching of grammar, spelling, vocabulary, composition, and literature in education is of particular importance. This is why A Beka Book grammar books emphasize structure, rules, analysis, and the kind of practice that aims at mastery. This is why we place an importance on correct spelling and the continual enlargement of each student’s vocabulary. This is why we aspire to provide students with examples of the very best literature of the ages, and this is why we emphasize the continual improvement of writing abilities.