By Guest Blogger Kim Watkins, a Redeemer School parent
Before we had children, my husband and I didn’t give the idea of educating our future children a second thought – of course, we’d send them to whatever local school was nearest our house and they would just know how to be “salt and light” to the watching world. Once we actually had children running laps around our house, we began to understand the many nuances to how [Christian] parents think about fulfilling our responsibility to nurture the life of Christ in our kids.
When our oldest child was still in diapers, I attended a talk on the role of imagination in faith given by theologian and author Clay Clarkson. He argued that the imagination–which Webster’s defines as the faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses–is critical to our ability to believe. It makes sense that if we can’t imagine God’s story and his promises, we will struggle to believe they are true.
Charlotte Mason said that “imagination has the property of magical expansion; the more it holds, the more it will hold.” I began to realize that the ideas and images that fill my children’s minds, as well as the relationships and discoveries they make along the way, could be used by God to strengthen their capacity to imagine (and trust) him. I think we were right to envision our children as beacons of the faith, but we had to learn that it was our responsibility to surround them with the good stuff, to teach them to engage thoughtfully and imaginatively with the world around them. While there is certainly more than one way to pursue this goal, we determined that Redeemer School is a great partner for our mission.
Our family is in our second year at Redeemer School with one child in kindergarten. We are, admittedly, still pretty new around here. And yet there are so, so many things that we have come to love about this school. Here are a few:
The shortened school day (“half days”) through third grade make the most of our daughter’s most teachable time of day while preserving hours of free play at home and “on-the-go” learning alongside siblings.
We feel like our whole family goes to Redeemer School. The family atmosphere goes beyond the classroom to the beautiful friendships that are built between children and whole families. We also have the opportunity to serve at school in meaningful ways and to participate as teachers in the classroom for E-days.
The curriculum and evaluation methods show that students are seen as people who image their Creator, and as such they are respected as bearers of unique ideas, interests, strengths and challenges. We especially love the use of narration assessments to encourage attentive and thoughtful interaction.
Most of all, we love the way the school’s teachers embody Redeemer’s core values day in and day out, sharing the life of Christ inside them with their students and genuinely walking alongside us as parents.
As Paul prayed, so we pray for our children: that God would give them “a Spirit of wisdom and imagination, and that the eyes of their hearts would be enlightened, that they may know the hope to which God has called them, the riches of his glorious inheritance, and the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe” (Ephesians 1:17-19).
Redeemer School is a private Christian school utilizing the hands-on, childhood-honoring educational philosophy of Charlotte Mason. For more information about Redeemer School and upcoming Open House events, see: redeemerschool.org/admissions/
1013 Melrose St., Winston-Salem, NC 27103
**Reprinted with permission from Redeemer School’s Doorpost newsletter Fall 2017 issue.
***Photo Credits: Sarah Hahne (Ardmore Photography) and Melinda Lamm