It's ironic to me how a "Renaissance man" or "Renaissance woman" is envied in adulthood, yet so few of our educational programs for children spend time and energy on developing these so called renaissance skills. The focus in public education, and most private schools as well, is on core academic subjects. The goal of most teachers (not all) is to cram as much information as possible into a child's head and force them to memorize that information for tests and quizzes to "prove" how smart the child is. But, intelligence is not measured by test scores or one's ability to regurgitate information. What about thinking? What about problem solving? What about resourcefulness? Or, better yet- what about imagination? Don't we acknowledge that imagination is responsible for innovation?
Throughout history, some of the greatest minds and innovators claim to be self-taught. Once they learned to read, they followed their interests and taught themselves things they needed to know to pursue their passions and find their place in the world. Once a person can read, the sky is the limit on how much knowledge of self, others and the world they can obtain. We inspire a love of reading through fairy tales, folk tales, fables, and classic adventure novels like Heidi and Peter Pan. Once the students can read, they are able to research topics that interest them such as history, geography, science, philosophy and art. We teach them to read by modeling writing skills, spelling, and reciting verses of reverence. Believe it or not, in time it just clicks! If you want your child to become a strong reader who truly loves books, be sure to sign up for our Pagemaster Reading Camp this summer. Email interest to firstname.lastname@example.org
Being a free thinker was once highly valued! In fact, our country was founded, and once run, by free thinkers and innovators. I doubt Thomas Jefferson was ever assigned a book to read on the "way" a country must be run and then asked to answer multiple choice questions about the passage. How tragic would it have been if Thomas Jefferson was made to believe the way it was done was the only way it ever could be done? This way of educating our children limits them and prevents them from thinking outside the box (or outside the quiz). We teach them the world is binary and there's only one way of thinking, feeling, and doing. There's only one right answer, right? But yet, our hope as adults and parents is that the next great thinker, feeler, and doer is among us and perhaps even our own child? At Epoch, we read biographies, learn about saints and good humans, and study the great thinkers; however, we don't force the children to think, feel or do just like them. Instead, we teach them to be inspired by them and we model connection with self, others and the world in order to help our students reach their highest potential.
A Renaissance person is cultured, well-read, well traveled, adventurous, brave, artistic and charismatic. This person has good manners, strong communication skills and may be multilingual. They may be just a good at sports as they are at singing. Perhaps they love the opera, but they can also fence and are a math whiz. In sum, we want our children to be well-rounded and we value multiple intelligences, but yet the education and activities we choose for them in childhood are often extremely limiting and its not until they're grown that we say, "Oh man, I wish I would've not pressed test scores and grades so hard. I wish I would've followed their lead and helped them develop skills outside the academics" or worse, "I pressured my child to be good at school, but really I wish they'd just be a good human".
At Epoch, we value and acknowledge multiple intelligences. We follow their interests and observe their talents and we accept them for who they are, but the most important thing we do at Epoch is love. We don't love them for reading, writing, math or science. We love them for being and we model loving every other being for who they are as well!
What the world needs now is LOVE, Chelsea Vail