The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” – Proverbs 9:10
Academics at Providence are based on the pursuit of knowing God and studying His universe. In a world where nearly every aspect of our culture is being compromised, Providence is intentional about teaching the knowledge of absolute truth throughout our curriculum, cultivating a love of this truth in our families, and manifesting a life of learning among our students. We are intentional about training with the end in mind – developing the whole person, who will mature and bear fruit in every area of their life; who will graduate and be prepared to live a life glorifying God, rather than to simply meet societies standards in college and career. Here are some ways that Providence works to achieve this outcome:
At Providence we believe in in loco parentis—that is, assisting parents in the matter of formal education, by their express delegation rather than by right. Because of this we highly value and expect parent participation throughout our school and are striving to build a culture of mutual support by honoring our parents, listening well to one another, and together, building a Christ-centered community of faith and learning.
We also recognize that many of our parents and faculty grew up in a generation that was not classically educated. Therefore, we at Providence strive to build a culture of inclusion for parents. We want parents to be able to assist their child with homework and join in the Great Conversation as their child progresses to our Upper School in the coming years. As you learn the mystery of mathematics, read some of the great books, learn the essential Latin language, and see the beauty of interconnected subjects, we are sure you will find your place in this wondrous adventure!
Providence was founded as a distinctly Christ-centered, unapologetically Christian school. At Providence, Christ isn’t just present or prominent, though He is both of those; He is preeminent. He is in all and through all. In every aspect of our academics we seek to make His glory known. By His breath he spoke the world and everything in it into existence. But it didn’t stop there. He gave mankind, which he created from the dust of the ground – in His image – and breathed life into, dominion over every aspect of creation. Our students are taught to see the world as God created it, to the best of our finite ability. When you enter Providence, we hope you see a school filled with order, joy, attentiveness, and grace – just as God designed.
classical methods & interconnected subjects
As God’s supreme creation, mankind was given the ability to think, reason, and respond to His universe with eloquence and interconnectedness. Therefore, the methods we use to teach the subjects (i.e. reading, mathematics, literature, writing, grammar, foreign language, science, history, art, music, physical education, etc) are based on the current neurodevelopment of the student. For example, young children enjoy hands-on activities, music, chants, and engaging stories. They are also often referred to as “parrots,” willing to remember, trust, and repeat what they hear. That is why our K-6th graders spend much of their time memorizing the “grammar” of language in all of the subjects. As they grow into pre-teens, they develop a nature curiosity to know why something is as it is, hence the “argumentative” phase. During this developmental milestone we teach them formal logic and critical thinking. Lastly, high schoolers and emerging adults desire to be persuasive and have their ideas known. That is why trivium-based education spends the majority of these years on the art of rhetoric and persuasion. Providence desires to graduate young men and women who can winsomely and eloquently war for truth in their families, vocations, churches, and communities. The chart below provides more detail about this time-tested, ancient method of learning:
Dr. Christopher Perrin, author of An Introduction to Classical Christian Education, describes this interconnected approach to obtaining knowledge as “more like a web than a chest of drawers; there are no subjects that are unrelated to others … the boundaries [between subjects] are light and fluid and emphasize the inter-relationship of all knowledge.” As parents, we know this to be our experience of life. Our jobs, relationships, media, travel, shopping, sports, and even worship are all interconnected in mathematics, science, history, creativity, communication, and the arts.
With this as our goal, students will quickly discern mathematic precision in a beautiful piece of music, geometry peering back at them in art class, Beowulf’s daring literary epic in history, Latin unlocking Biology, and the Creator God undergirding all, “for in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).
Created in God’s image (Imago Dei), every person has the capacity to “love what is lovely” (Titus 1:8) and to “abhor that which is evil” (Romans 12:9). Sadly, our brokenness distorts our understanding of truth, goodness and beauty and in sin we pursue those things that lead away from God and toward personal and community destruction.
As a new school, Providence is being intentional in placing before our learners the most noble, most just, and most beautiful objects of study. We desire our students to think deeply, imitate, and become masters of the creative arts, writers, scientists, pilgrims, and saints. Our students are taught how to think rather than what to think. This is seen in the life of our teachers both on and off of campus.
Training our students to love what God loves and hate what God hates is counter-cultural and is a great assignment, but is to be embraced rather than ignored. While we recognize that this task first falls on the parents, it also should be welcomed by every person within our school. Partnering with parents to achieve this is an honor and privilege.
With this comes our highest honor and responsibility: shepherding the hearts of our young students. We understand that moments of disobedience will occur. Therefore, we are intentional about seeking out space in our day for these teachable moments as they arise. We address student behavior privately, respectfully, and with the heart as the core subject matter, rather than solely with behavior modification. We believe that living out the grace of our Lord in these early years bears the most fruit, long-term.