May 11, 2017 How Does Spirituality Fit Into My Child's Day?
Spirituality is the quality of being concerned with the human spirit. It’s a concept based on love. Christ Church Day School, which opened its doors in 1957, was founded on the love of God and the love of our fellow human beings. This unconditional love applies to all children, no matter what their religion.
Parents interested in placing their children at this exceptional institution may have questions about how religion and spirituality fit into the school environment as well as how their family’s religion will be accepted into the school.
First, parents should know that they are not required to be members of the church to attend the school. Not only will no child be turned away due to their family’s religion, but CCDS also prides themselves on the diversity they’ve fostered within the school due to this open arms policy.
The mission of CCDS is to provide academic excellence while nurturing children to become lifelong learners who embody the values the school has instilled in them. Character education is a big part of who they are and the message that is woven through all aspects of learning as well as chapel services and other community building activities.
Students start each morning hearing a prayer over the intercom led by the sixth graders. They also say a blessing in their classroom before heading out to lunch. Chaplain Charlette Preslar, an alumnus of CCDS, teaches a spiritual nurture class to every grade at the school. This once a week class lasts thirty minutes and incorporates relevant curriculum.
Though students do go to chapel twice a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays), theology is not taught in the classroom. Instead, academics are guided by a value-based program called Spiritual Nurture. Each month focuses on a different virtue such as kindness, respect, fairness, or compassion. The selected virtue can be incorporated into classroom lessons or activities and highlighted in a school-wide service project. As the children get older, the responsibility to serve shifts into their hands as they are given required community service hours to perform.
During chapel services, a bible story is read that is related in some way to the virtue children are learning about and practicing for that month. In this thirty-minute, child-centered service led by Chaplain Charlette, there are readings, songs with the choir, a homily, and communion. Also, individual prayers can be given to class chaplains so that they may be read in church.
Parents are always encouraged to attend the chapel services, and the school welcomes the opportunity to incorporate activities related to other religions so students can learn about them and experience something different from their own life. An example of one such opportunity was during Christmas time when a rabbi came and talked about the menorah. It’s important for the children not only to be aware of other religions but to learn acceptance as CCDS models.
Since Christ Church Day School is an elementary school, religion is a topic a bit too complicated for most of these young children to understand. But you are never too young to learn love and kindness. These students are learning there are lots of children different from them and that there are even children less fortunate than them who need help and kindness. Schoolwide projects such as Operation Christmas Child is just one example of how students reach out to those in need. Guided by CCDS’s example, these students are learning that loving their fellow human beings is the most important lesson of all.