And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
As a Christian school, Arborbrook considers the spiritual development of our students to be a high priority. All that we do is geared toward encouraging students to grow in Jesus’ command in Luke 10:27.
Our educational philosophy informs how we approach spiritual development. Because we believe the Charlotte Mason principle to “respect the child as a person,” we believe each child is made in the image of God and trust that the Holy Spirit will be involved in each child’s life to help open his or her eyes to the Truth of scripture and the person of Jesus Christ. And, because we believe the Charlotte Mason principle that “education is a science of relations,” we know that the relationship between student and teacher, student and student, and student and the larger community is an important aspect of the child’s spiritual growth as well.
We educate the “whole child” in our approach to spiritual development, hoping to reach mind, heart and body. Students not only read the Bible in class, but teachers integrate a biblical perspective in every subject. They also lead the students in prayer and sharing. Students experience the joy of worship in Assembly, learn to spend time and appreciate God’s creation through nature and develop relationships through community, fun and laughter. Physical health is also encouraged as part of our spiritual worship.
Our priority in Bible class is to maximize and encourage time spent reading and understanding the Word of God. Our Bible curriculum is designed to answer three main questions: Who is God/Jesus? Who am I? and Who is my Neighbor? Using a variety of resources, these themes are cycled through in Grades 4-6, Grades 7-8, and again in Grades 9-12. The idea is to build a foundation of faith and the knowledge of God, then to nurture individual growth in obedience, spiritual disciplines and identity, then to bear fruit in service, mentoring and evangelism.
We start each day and end each day with Jesus, as He is our Alpha and Omega. Assembly or Classroom devotions are our Alpha time. Tuesday mornings, grades K-6 gather at Assembly to commit the day to our Lord, worship, and learn more of His goodness and grace. Each week a different class plans, prepares and leads an Assembly where our teachers present a topic from our annual theme. Students may lead and participate in worship, skits that emphasize the character trait or point of meditation for the week, prayer, Scripture reading, guest speaker, etc. Assembly on Thursday will be led by the Head of School, Dr. Zawacki. We also use this time to give announcements and offer special recognition to students who are celebrating birthdays. On Mondays and Wednesdays, our students will have classroom devotions where Scripture will be discussed, and prayer will take place. This is our Alpha Time.
Our students belong to families who are growing in the knowledge and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. As such, they participate in worship and Bible training at home and at church. We provide a context in which students may delve deeper into the foundations of their faith. We do so through study of the Scriptures themselves, Bible stories in grades K-3 and curricula in grades 4 and up that help students strengthen their faith, with an emphasis on inductive study. In Grades 4 - 6 students study Genesis (Who is God?), the Gospel of John (Who is Jesus?), several New Testament epistles, prayer, inductive Bible study skills, and a peacemaker study (Who am I? Who is my Neighbor?). We do not take doctrinal stances on the minor teachings of Scripture. Bible reading, narration and journaling are scheduled at the end of each regular school day in grades K-6. This is our Omega time.
In the Upper School, 7th Grade students learn the big story of scripture by doing a survey of Genesis – Revelation (Who is God/Jesus?). They also study the power of the tongue and Christian character (Who am I? Who is my Neighbor?) In 8th grade, they learn the foundations of the faith and church by studying the book of Acts (Who is God/Jesus?) then finish the year grounding this knowledge in a bible study skills curriculum that teaches them how to read and study the Word for themselves (Who am I?). These study skills are applied to books of the New Testament (Who is my Neighbor?).
High School digs deep into the Old Testament in 9th Grade, doing an in-depth study of Genesis as well as parts of Exodus and Deuteronomy (Who is God?). In 10th Grade* students use the skills learned in 8th grade to study the New Testament (Who is Jesus?). Then in 11th Grade* students learn wisdom and spiritual disciplines through the study of Psalms and Proverbs and apply scripture to answer questions of identity (Who am I?). Finally, the culmination of this curriculum occurs in senior year. 12th Grade students study evangelism and how to discern God’s will. Seniors are encouraged to invest in the rest of the Arborbrook community as well as the world around them. They lead Community Groups made up of 9th- 11th graders, speak at Lower School assemblies, lead the monthly High School Coffee House, and take leadership roles in mission trips and outreach events.
(*During the high school years, we encourage students to become more outwardly focused; 10th and 11th Grade students are required to take a Worldview and Apologetics course in addition to their Bible classes).
Prayer and reliance up the Holy Spirit undergirds all we do. While not perfect, the community of Arborbrook is a place of sweet fellowship in the Lord.
“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness… the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world.” ~ Colossians 2:6-7 and 3:6