When explaining to parents why my wife and I personally chose Arborbrook Christian Academy for our children, I always begin with the philosophy of education. A school’s philosophy of education matters significantly. At the foundation of our philosophy is Charlotte Mason’s seemingly innocuous statement, “Children are born persons.”
From infancy, children have all the faculties needed to become the people God intended. We believe that the Creator formed each in the womb of his or her mother (Psalm 139:13), that He gave each abilities, strengths, and weaknesses in a perfect way to fulfill the purpose for which He created each child. We agree with Charlotte Mason who said, “It is not only a child’s intellect but his heart that comes to us thoroughly furnished. Can any of us love like a little child? How generous and grateful he is, how kind and simple, how pitiful and how full of benevolence in the strict sense of goodwill, how loyal and humble, how fair and just!” (Mason, 2017, p. 43).
What a joy it is to play a role in developing the appropriate habits in our children so they can use the substance God has given them to become the strong people He intends! This philosophy permeates our classrooms, our activities, and our choice of assignments. We desire to meet children where they are developmentally—whether in kindergarten or about to graduate from high school—to appropriately challenge and equip our students to carry out the work God has called them to. We intend to educate children—not for the purpose of passing a test—but to satisfy the God-given curiosity in each of us. The foundation of our educational philosophy—that children are born persons—informs our desire to see all our students become lifelong lovers of learning and lifelong lovers of Jesus Christ.
As a dad, I watched from the sidelines as my three children managed their high school experience at Arborbrook. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing the evidence of their minds and hearts being shaped by their Arborbrook education. The respect given to each of my three as persons helped shape their minds, equipping them to confidently move forward into the things God has prepared for them. I’m thankful to have found a place that shares such a crucial worldview and espouses this kind of educational philosophy. I’m even more thankful to work in this environment. I long to preserve this educational philosophy in the turbulent sea of education today. What we believe about our children matters.
For further information about Charlotte Mason’s philosophy of education, I suggest a reading of her book, A Philosophy of Education, re-published in 2017.
Dr. Andy Zawacki