There’s no lack of joy among the faculty at The Saint Constantine School. We all have deep affection for the work we do within this community, the people with whom we work, and the students we love and teach. However, within my role as Director of Admissions, I sometimes think I might have the best job. I feel truly honored and delighted to tell the stories of this community, and to be reminded daily of the countless blessings it bestows.
Through the many tours, phone inquiries, open houses, and countless email communications, I commonly share information about our curriculum, our commitment to faith, and our history. Families want to know, rightly so, what does “a day in the life of TSCS” look like? What types of books do your students read? And what are your graduates doing in life beyond your halls?
Recently, I received a phone call that made me take pause. The inquirer was exceptionally thoughtful and clever; her list of questions was long, yet insightful. She had proposed many, her husband had added to the list himself, and even the children had provided one question each to gain insight into their prospective school home. And then came the question that left me at a loss:
“What is your favorite thing about The Saint Constantine School?”
Seemingly innocuous and easy to answer. But I was suddenly left speechless.
I took a long pause and then I told her it was impossible to answer this question - not because I couldn’t think of one thing, but because I could think of one too many things. But then I asked, if she would indulge me, could I give my favorite three things? One for each of my three children, who also attend The Saint Constantine School. She generously agreed.
First, I explained to her that each of my children is uniquely created, as children always are. And The Saint Constantine School is masterful at serving each of its students, each where they are for who they are.
I explained to her that my oldest is very studious, has a love for learning and devours books. The healthy educational challenge that TSCS provides suits her very well. Previously we had been in public school and then homeschool, and much of both curricula came down to rote memory. She had become quite apathetic to this style of learning and sought something more thoughtful. She has blossomed in the Great Books course where they read 20-30 texts a year followed by deep, dialectical discourse. She’s exploring ideas, listening to peers, formulating opinions well with logic and reason, and finding truths with joy.
My favorite thing for my second child is lots of free play and outdoor time. The typical Lower School student at Saint Constantine spends up to 2 hours outside a day in free play. Research shows that students do not learn well if they are asked to sit at a desk for extended periods of time. At Saint Constantine, students take breaks between almost every class period, and they receive almost an hour of lunch break. Why? Because when a student is allowed to run, play, climb a tree, get fresh air and enjoy nature for even a brief period of reprieve, they are then ready to return to the classroom ready to learn. My second child needs this freedom to release childhood energy in her ever-growing body so that her mind can attend to the tasks that are equally important in the classroom: attending to her ever growing curiosity.
My favorite thing for my third child is the broad community created between grade levels, as our students interact daily within community from Pre-K through 12th grade. My third child is an empath. She is sensitive and cares deeply about the feelings of others and loves to nurture and care for others. Her teachers recognize this in her, and encourage her to use her gifts. During daily breaks and recess, she is often allowed to utilize her recess to play with and mentor younger students in Pre-Kindergarten. She reads with younger students, joins them in adventure play in the sandbox or simply strolls through the student garden observing the plethora of fruits, vegetables, native wildflowers, school sheep, goats, or chickens! She feels encouraged and enabled to explore her God-given gifts to show love and care for those around her while exercising the ability to mentor and model for the youngest of those within our K-12 family. My youngest is known and served, both in the classroom and outside of it.
Educating and mentoring is a natural practice at The Saint Constantine School; so is creating a caring, loving, and joyous community of learning. There are so many stories that can support this testament, and I delight in telling them. Our faculty truly desires to know and love every student and they are passionate about the community they create - the truths they share, and the lessons they impart. When there are one too many good reasons to love your school, finding joy in the process of learning and discovering truth and wisdom together is easy. The stories are countless, and the result is a true gift of community, friendship, and educational delight.