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Distinctly Lorien Wood

November 10, 2016
By Amy Butcher, Head of School

IN THE EARLY DAYS of Lorien Wood, the founders sought to articulate a model of education that was based on biblical truths and reflected a unique educational culture which values a thirst for knowledge, a desire for God, and a heart for others. This approach reveals the fundamental integral nature of the world, breaking down boundaries between both subjects and people as a means of understanding the world God has created. Through the founders’ thoughtful, prayerful work, our seven Distinctives emerged as the foundation for the beauty and joy that is Lorien Wood.

Do you know what our seven Distinctives are? Here is a quick overview:

First and foremost, we are built on the solid foundation of a biblical worldview. This is the conviction that all truth is God‘s truth and that all areas of Lorien Wood’s school life are to be understood in the light of the word of God.

Our strong biblical foundation leads us to understand that excellence in education requires parents to see themselves as part of their children’s community of learning. They should be ready and willing to assume a high level of parental involvement.

Not only should parents be deeply involved in the life of the school, but we believe parents should pay for their child’s education, while sharing that burden with those who cannot afford to pay within our tuition-based financial policy. A significant portion of all tuition is set aside for this purpose. We believe that a school should seek to operate within this tuition-guided budget so as to minimize the distractions common to fundraising.

We use an integral curriculum and see it as a full-range of academic subjects presented in thematic units of study
conveying the interconnectedness of God‘s created order. Breaking down the traditional boundaries between disciplines reflects the reality and excitement of the world in which we live. Our faculty-developed curriculum emphasizes primary sources; great civilizations; inquiry-based science; and timeless literature, art, and music.

We are encouraged and strengthened by the knowledge that the Distinctives are driving the good work the Lord is calling us to do.

We engage with our integral curriculum through a teaching approach that infuses elements of the classical tradition with a Charlotte Mason perspective of the child as a learner. We call this “Teaching Grounded in Classical Study and Joyful Discovery.” Our methodology incorporates lectures, coaching, and seminar discussions for developing intellectual skills and for enlarging the grasp of ideas and values. We engage the whole person with hands-on experiences, living books, recitation, narration, nature and picture studies.

In addition to academic work, we importantly aim to cultivate in the hearts of our students the ideals of biblical character development including discernment, kindness, humility, integrity, joy, responsibility, diligence, and selfcontrol. We encourage evidence of growth through faculty-student conversations, purposeful classroom management practices, and the study of role models in Scripture, history and literature.

With an emphasis on respect for each child within a supportive environment, our small, mixed-age classes are designed to identify and develop each child’s unique abilities while providing the freedom to progress at an appropriate pace. It is our great privilege to partner with parents as we nurture the uniqueness of each child.

I am regularly in awe at the beautiful ways our seven Distinctives play out in the daily life of Lorien Wood and am grateful for the strong foundation they continue to be for our school. Even as we journey through transitions (big and small) this year, we are encouraged and strengthened by the knowledge that the Distinctives are driving the good work the Lord is calling us to do.

Throughout the coming months, the Board of Trustees will be looking at each Distinctive, one per month, and considering the “most important thing” about each one. We will be answering questions such as, “Why don’t we sell wrapping paper to benefit our school?” “Why do parents have to contribute 108 hours of involvement each year?” “What exactly is Integral Curriculum?” etc.

We welcome your questions to help guide our considerations. If you are new to Lorien Wood, or have been here for years, but wonder why we “do” school and learning in our unique ways, please email me your questions. It is the hope and prayer of the Board and myself that this review will build your understanding and connection to the ideas and philosophy that undergird all that we do at Lorien Wood. ❖

Learn more: LW Educational PhilosophyAdmissionsLW Distinctives