Posts from February 2012
“Try a simple experiment. Take a small child on your knee. Respect him. Do not see him as something to prune, form or mold. This is an individual who thinks, acts, and feels. He is a separate human being whose strength lies in who he is, not in who he will become.”
These words are Susan Schaeffer Macaulay’s, quoted in When Children Love to Learn (ed. Elaine Cooper). And this perspective informs The Oaks teaching philosophy.
We believe in the Personhood of the Child, meaning: a student is a whole human who is capable of the duty and delight of learning.
Oaks teachers empower their students to learn by respecting them. The innately curious child, then, experiences and discovers on her own – developing her own relationship with ideas, stories, and art.
And this process is a marvelous thing to witness, so come experience learning at The Oaks. Contact us (317.931.3043) to schedule a classroom observation or personal tour.
In August 2012, The Oaks Academy will open our second location on Brookside Parkway North Drive.
Right now, the two inaugural classes of Brookside Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten students are incubating at our current Fall Creek location. And a current fifth grade teacher, Kelly Altman, is preparing for her new role as the Brookside school leader.
Renovation work is underway at the Brookside building, and Oaks Partners have served an important role. Volunteers from One Brick helped clean hallways and paint classrooms and the gym. Members of the Leadership Development Committee at the Indiana Construction Association repaired safety lights, improved the playground, and removed graffiti. Keep Indianapolis Beautiful provided twelve trees and assisted in their planting and continued care.
Community support is critical as we move forward in our expansion to Brookside. Consider volunteering to get involved.
Written by Andrew Hart, Fall Creek Head of School
Last week a teenager walked through the main hallway of The Oaks listening to his iPod. Nothing unusual about a fourteen year old, ear buds in, minding his own business.
But there was activity bubbling all around him, and he was walking, oblivious, toward the door. Surrounded by beauty, he was living in his own soundtrack.
What is it about walking through The Oaks’ hallways, absent an iPod, that stirs me? The ascetics are part of it – gleaming wood floors, high ceilings, soft, warm colors.
But there are plenty of places that have a similar look that don’t appeal to me like The Oaks does. There’s something else happening in the hallways; there’s something more in the classrooms. What is it about this space that stirs such affection in me and perhaps in you, too?
In song, scripture, and prayer, our school community celebrates Christ. A parent may raise her hand in worship. The younger students clap their hands during a favorite song. A teacher bows his head in prayer.
You are invited to join The Oaks Academy for all school chapel, any or every Wednesday from 8:30 to 9:00am. Come and be a part of our time together in glorifying God.
Written by Andrew Hart, Fall Creek Head of School
A friend recently shared with me: “My kids will get what they need in elementary school, then we’ll invest in a great high school experience. After all, that’s where all the action is.”
Huh? I’ve heard it 100 times: “Save now, pay later.” But what’s the cost of a ‘pay later’ strategy for a child’s learning and growth?
Here at The Oaks Academy, our view is that the trajectory of a child’s love of learning and their appreciation for the learning process is set early, primarily through habit formation and the associations that develop in a child’s heart and mind between learning and joy.
Certainly, adjustments can be made at every point of our lives. Certainly, an outstanding learning experience can occur in virtually any school given a great teacher. No situation is unredeemable.
But the work associated with first preparing a child for learning is the fodder for a lifetime of learning.
Our relationship with learning forms early – both for the positive and the negative. I suspect anyone reading this has had experiences in which the atmosphere was positive and this led to a desire for more learning, more growth.
And to the contrary, we’ve all had experiences, sadly, that involve drudgery, boredom and possibly fear, that in the following years have caused us to avoid a repeated experience, often at personal cost. A colleague once told me that she didn’t like math and never felt confident in the subject because of an early, negative experience with a poor math teacher.
At The Oaks, we focus on a dual strategy in the early grades. We first help students learn to control themselves and their bodies, to develop a degree of personal discipline so they are prepared to learn. That’s the first job of our teachers – the formation of habits, in particular: attention, responsibility, obedience, and self-control.
All the while, Oaks teachers foster an atmosphere where students are confident they are known and loved. The classroom becomes a safe space in which a love of learning can grow. We believe this starts a child’s course toward a deep, very personal love of learning.
“The direction in which education starts you is likely to set your course for the future.” Plato
Welcome to The Oaks Academy’s blog! We are excited for this new opportunity for you to experience our school community.
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We plan to share stories and insights weekly. Plus, you will hear regularly from our Head of School, Andrew Hart.
If there is a specific topic, idea, or event that you would like to see featured, please leave a comment with your suggestion.