All children have big hearts, feelings, emotions, loves and affections of all types and intensities. At Oak Arbor we serve each student by helping them develop their emotional lives. We encourage healthy self-expression of what is on their hearts. We provide environments and encouragement that nurture students at the "heart" of their education.
Many schools certainly encourage students to express their feelings, to have "spirit", to be motivated and love learning. What makes Oak Arbor unique is that we also help each student develop a healthy heart for loving the Lord God Jesus Christ and for loving one another.
More specifically, Oak Arbor creates a healthy school environment by touching children's hearts in these six areas:
Relationships are at the core of children's lives. We encourage a healthy, loving relationship with the Lord, with His Word and with one another. We intentionally build a sense of community within each classroom, within the whole school and church and with the broader neighborhood. We do this through inter-grade activities, by welcoming volunteer helpers (parents, grandparents, alumni, friends), and by student participation in extracurricular events in the church and the community
When students take their Bible knowledge to heart, they gradually develop a dedication to guide their choices from a faith-based perspective. This is part of character education. Teachers encourage this by interacting with students from their own love of the Lord's Word, reminding them in appropriate ways of our heartfelt values.
Children whose hearts are touched have a healthy attitude about their personal strengths. We encourage this self-awareness knowing that it can grow into self-confidence over time. It helps each student experiment with special interests and explore possibilities for developing individual gifts
How effective is academic achievement without heartfelt enjoyment along the way? It can be counterproductive. Teachers encourage students to take pride in their work and to share the enjoyment of their accomplishments in appropriate ways. They also find various ways to affirm students routinely for the little accomplishments of daily learning.
From our Christian perspective, the highest use of our cognitive abilities is to foster a love of growing wise - a deep and abiding love of discovering and understanding what is true. We believe this love leads to the formation of adult conscience. A child who develops such a love has a priceless foundation for life-long learning.
We see evidence of hearts being touched when students' faces light up from imagination and creativity. This happens across the curriculum, especially in student-driven activities such as creative writing, Friday elective programs, and drama where they are invited to be inventive, to dream, to visualize and create something fresh.