“The foundational distinction between traditional education and modern education is that the ancients believed that education was fundamentally about shaping loves.”–
Veritas JK is a very special year at our school because this is a child’s first experience as a Veritas scholar. As our youngest students get ready to put on their uniforms, wave goodbye to their parents, and walk through the classroom doors for the first time, we seek to welcome them to a place where their love of learning is nurtured. The classical tradition believes that education is primarily about formation: shaping one’s character and one’s loves. We desire to nurture a love of learning by cultivating their growing sense of wonder and the habits which will lead to a lifetime of wonder.
“Give your child a single valuable idea, and you have done more for his education than if you had laid upon his mind the burden of bushels of information.” Charlotte Mason
Consider how one can cultivate curiosity through conversation. Rather than listing facts to be learned, we guide children in observing, wondering, and imagining. They will act out literature books to experience the stories coming to life. As they learn about folktales from around the world, they will create art projects and listen to music related to those countries. They will imagine being animals creating homes in various habitats in Virginia. As students learn about the stories of the Bible, they will look for what these stories teach about the character of our Creator. Their days are filled with living ideas which nurture their wonder and imagination.
“Books give a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.” Plato
Beautiful books play a key role in the life of a classical student. Well written and beautifully illustrated books are the food to a child’s developing imagination. JK students enjoy a feast of great books throughout their day. Students begin their day listening to a read aloud from The Biggest Story, a child’s Bible, and other devotional style books to lay the foundation of beginning the day contemplating the Greatest Story of all. Each month’s themes, such as Folktales from Around the World or All About Autumn, are explored through books with richly textured language and thoughtful illustrations that display beauty. The day ends with a read aloud from a book of the Author the Month which introduces children to the best authors in children’s literature. Their sense of wonder and their growing imaginations are encouraged and guided through daily interactions with beautiful books.
“In all the things of nature there is something of the marvelous.” Aristotle
Just as stories cultivate wonder and imagination, so does playing and exploring outside. Veritas JK students extend classroom space and learning to the outdoors all year long as they plant gardens, look for bugs, observe trees, collect fallen leaves, watch the cloud formations, observe the changes with each season, sketch beautiful flowers, find the perfect rock for their classroom nature table, count how many bird and squirrel nests they can find on campus, pretend to be birds building nests, and much more. Watching the geese migrating while hearing their honking calls, feeling the cool autumn breeze, and smelling the musty scent of autumn builds a powerful memory and love for birds which will be evoked years later when reading about migration or bird habits in biology class. Outside play and exploration lay the foundation for all future scientific study as they engage with creation using all their senses.
“…Poetic knowledge is a sensory-emotional experience of reality … when the mind, through the senses and emotions, sees in delight the significance of what is really there … that gets us inside the thing experienced.” James Taylor in Poetic Knowledge
A child’s imagination and wonder are fed through living ideas, beautiful books, outside exploration, and multi-sensory learning. In the classical tradition, the early years of learning are characterized by multi-sensory discovery and delight. Wonder is the foundation of all future study, and wonder is evoked through hands-on discovery. When learning about trees, JK students touch bark to feel its varying texture and stand underneath a tree looking up to see its patterns of branches and leaves. When learning to count or create patterns in math, JK students play with wooden blocks and beads to practice making patterns or showing groups of numbers. They count the trees on their playground by running up and touching them and they count how many sticks or acorns they can collect. They listen and dance to music during Composer Study, look at and observe art during Artist Study, practice pre-cursive writing in sand and salt trays, build items out of play dough during centers time, and more. This hands-on learning engages their senses through the day allowing the children to enter into delightful discoveries and rich learning thus sowing the seeds of wonder, imagination, and a love of learning.
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience…” Colossians 3:12
As children made in God’s image, learning how to live in community is foundational to human flourishing. Our teachers cultivate the habits of relationship and learning which allow our JK students to flourish in our school community. We come alongside students and families in cultivating the habits of relationship: self-control, courage, kindness, and forgiveness. They experience a gentle and nurturing environment of emotional coaching as they learn how to share and put others first, how to forgive and make amends, and how to encourage and show kindness in words and actions. Our teachers pray with and for our students, modeling dependence upon Jesus and living in obedience and faith.
We also work towards cultivating habits of learning: obedience, attention, and observation. JK students are guided in learning how to follow directions, how to sit during morning circle time, how to listen with attention to a story, and how to observe details in a painting or poem or poplar tree. JK is a time to begin laying the foundation of godly and wise habits that allow children to flourish as they learn to behold the beauty and grace of their Creator, Redeemer, and Friend.
“Boys and girls must have time to invent episodes, carry on adventures, live heroic lives, lay sieges and carry forts, even if the fortress be an old armchair…” Charlotte Mason
JK students have time set aside everyday to play both inside the classroom and outside on their playground and in their garden. Students use their imaginations, language, fine motor skills, and growing habits to build castles with wooden blocks, create watercolor paintings, pretend to make a dinner with cloth food, host a tea party with the wooden tea set, conquer puzzles and tangrams, and more. Play is also incorporated throughout the day as students work together to act out favorite books, pretend to travel to the countries they learn about, and imagine they are animals in the habitats they are reading about. They learn to play group games in PE class, play various instruments in music class, and play with colors and textures in art class. Play provides the space for their imaginations and wonder to take flight and bring them on amazing adventures.
Veritas offers a 3 day/week program
- Drop Off: Monday/Wednesday/Friday between 8:00 and 8:10 a.m. (Please note that students are marked tardy if not present by 8:10 a.m.)
- Monday and Wednesday Dismissal: 11:45 a.m. / Extended day 2:45 p.m. (Students will be walked to the Graves front office if a parent does not arrive by 3:00 p.m.)
- Friday Dismissal: 12:45 p.m. (Students will be walked to the Graves front office if a parent does not arrive by 1:00 p.m.)
For a month by month overview of themes and focus areas, click here.