WND_13058093220In his children’s classic The Wind in the Willows, alongside the well-known misadventures of Mr. Toad, Kenneth Grahame unfolds the poignant tale of Mr. Mole.  One spring day, Mole sets out from his hole and discovers the world beyond, full of wonders, new experiences, vistas of endless diversity, and sweet friendship. Yet after all this, later in the book, passing by his old and nearly-forgotten residence, Mole catches its familiar, earthy smell. He is overcome with emotion and can be consoled only by returning and spending the evening there.  Though his world had grown much larger and richer, in Mole’s heart this humble hole would always be dulce domum—his sweet home.

Of all the ingredients that constitute and cultivate our humanity, our home, and especially the home of our childhood, is one of the most powerful. A child’s home is, first of all, father and mother, siblings, pets, house, yard, and neighborhood. Alongside these, the home of childhood encompasses the other familiar places, people, groups, and recurring events which undergird a child and work their way into his heart and soul, shaping his identity.   From kindergarten through 12th grade, the Providence community becomes a firmly-laid foundation stone in our students’ childhood “homesteads”—a sweet part of their dulce domum. For this reason, then, we give serious attention to the scope, dynamics, and quality of our school community.

BREADTH AND UNITY

Kindergarten through Grade Twelve: We maintain a K-12 school with a single K-12 campus which supports our educational goals and the cultivation of community.

Small Size: Providence intentionally limits its size to one excellent, vibrant classroom per grade level and maintains a cap on per-grade enrollment. These limits safeguard effective teaching and learning, but they also aim to foster a robust community.

Beyond the Classroom: Student friendship and collaboration are promoted beyond the classroom. Life as a school community extends to athletics, music concerts and contests, play week, service projects, and other school groups and activities.

Community of Parents/Families: Providence partners with parents in the God-given responsibility of teaching and training their children. In this role, our community prizes the involvement, interaction, and mutual friendship and encouragement of parents. Our parent volunteer program involves parents with one another, with teachers, and with students. The Providence board is comprised mainly of school parents, which both embodies and promotes the strong community among parents which characterizes our school.

Whole Community Events: Providence values and creates occasions for the gathering of the entire school community (students, parents, teachers, leaders, and available alumni). Such occasions are well-planned, embody and exhibit the values and vision of the school, and foster a joyful sense of shared identity and purpose. School enrollment, facilities, and calendar are planned with this priority in mind.

Beyond Graduation: We do not quickly forget about students and families after graduation from Providence. Alumni are warmly welcomed to visit the school. We hope that some of our graduates will eventually become Providence parents, board members, or teachers.

QUALITIES AND CHARACTERISTICS

Protection of Time with Family and Church: Providence places high value on the time which families spend together in their homes, in their churches, and in their activities. Reasonable and restricted homework levels are essential to the home life of our families. We pursue scholarly excellence through optimizing our classroom time with students.  No Providence activities are held on Sundays.

Christian Actions and Approaches: As a Christian community, we strive, by God’s grace, to show Christian care for one another, to pray together and for one another, and to demonstrate shared love and service for those outside our school community.

Community of Learning: Our students learn together, and, together, they value learning. Our classrooms are characterized by orderliness, decorum, safety, attentiveness, and a focus on learning. Our teachers are themselves active learners, both independently and cooperatively, and in this way they model learning and a love of learning for their students.

Teachers Are Honored and Valued: The board, administrators, and parents take formal and informal actions which will encourage, support, improve, and retain our teachers. Their crucial work is publicly celebrated and highlighted in the community.

Due Respect and Diversity: At Providence, both younger and older students are expected to show respect and deference to adults. Older students are to encourage and look out for the younger children. At Providence, we value, respect, and seek to accommodate our differences from one another: varying racial or ethnic identities, church and confessional commitments, social or economic backgrounds, vocations, one- or two-working-parent households, varying giftedness among students, natural interests, etc.

High Standards for Student Behavior: A central goal of a classical education is the cultivation of virtue. While seeking to avoid a heavy-handed or legalistic tone to our life in the school, Providence maintains clear and high expectations for student conduct in terms of personal responsibility, honesty, self-control, orderliness, respect for teachers and other adults, respect for other students, courtesy and etiquette, propriety of speech and dress, and cleanliness.

Community of Beauty: Cultivating the love of beauty is not restricted to the classroom study of art. Concern for beauty and aesthetics is embodied throughout the life of the community.

Community of Levity and Leisure: In the culture of our day, high academic standards are often accompanied by performance anxiety and an unhealthy perfectionism, so that the value of a student’s work, and even the value of what the student has learned, is reckoned in direct proportion to the difficulty of the tasks involved. In contrast, at Providence we embrace laughter in the daily life in our school. We embrace the enjoyment of one another and of the topics and tasks pursued together. And we embrace leisure as a vital posture for a life of wisdom, eloquence, and joy.

Communication: Providence values frequent, clear, and redundant communication as an essential ingredient in building and guarding a sense of belonging and community.

SUMMARY

Providence seeks to be a small, close-knit community of K–12 students, their teachers, their families, the graduates who have preceded them, and other friends and supporters of the school. We value the ways in which our lives intertwine and the opportunities thereby afforded to support one another, to learn from one another, to enjoy one another, and to further the project of classical, Christian education.  Together we delight in and labor toward all that is good, true, and beautiful.

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