What We Teach - How We Teach
At Lorien Wood School, we are intentional about what we teach and the way we teach it. Our academic program is shaped by several of the school’s Distinctives. Visit the Distinctives page and attend one of our Open Houses to learn more. These are important components of our school that help us to teach each unique student.
At Lorien Wood, our teaching methodology is founded on the same philosophy and holistic view reflected in our use of an integral curriculum. While every educational approach addresses some facet of how and what children ought to learn, or do learn, or can learn, Lorien Wood’s teaching practices are aimed at providing “the whole story for the whole child.” We recognize the importance of using timeless texts and primary documents, exposing children’s minds to the great minds of the past by means of books, art, music, speeches and other venues by which those great minds expressed their most important ideas. We value the memorization of scripture, poetry and prose universally recognized as “classics,” and equip children to develop skills of logic and argument via Socratic Seminars and debate. Lorien Wood embraces these aspects of classical study.
However, we also affirm the view held by Charlotte Mason, a 19th century British educational reformer, who asserted that the child is born a whole person, deserving of respect and dignity, deserving of “living books,” as she would call them, rather than the predigested content of traditional textbooks. Children are image-bearers, deserving of authentic dialogue with great minds, with their teachers, with one another, and with God. Nature study, picture study, and the practice of narration, as well as a high view of the child are all components for which we at Lorien Wood are indebted to Charlotte Mason’s insights.
The concept of “Multiple Intelligences,” made popular by Howard Gardner, also informs our pedagogy, as our teachers collaboratively develop learning activities with the kinesthetic, the auditory, the visual and the social learner in mind. Student initiative is highly regarded at Lorien Wood. We invite and respond to their ideas and proposals, and enlist their enthusiasm as fellow adventurers in the educational journey. Joyful discovery is our modus operandi as our goal is a lifelong love of learning for all members of our school community.
All of Creation reflects the integral nature of God and the reality He spoke into being. We believe our curriculum should likewise reflect this truth. Lorien Wood faculty collaboratively develop thematic units of study that minimize artificial division into traditional subjects, demonstrating instead the integral interweaving of the disciplines into each day’s study.
When our Form Three students consider Europe, they explore its literature, music, art, and geography; they read about it, write about it, calculate, and communicate about it. They simulate the European Union, figure out finances using the euro, retell folktales, and examine religious beliefs. When our Form One students study trees, they observe Van Gogh’s cypress, read and write tree poems, count rings and measure girths of trunks, examine acorns, plant them, track their growth, spell “pine,” “oak,” and act out roots and branches. These are just some examples of integral curriculum at Lorien Wood.
We believe all truth is God’s truth and that all areas of Lorien Wood’s school life are to be understood in light of God’s word. Lorien Wood seeks to equip students with a redemptive lens through which to view the world. We help develop our students’ ideals of biblical virtue, evidenced through noble character formation. Our faculty-student conversations, purposeful classroom management, and the study of role models in Scripture, history, and literature, all contribute to the formation of virtuous character.
We believe that children have been designed with an innate curiosity about the created world. Inquiry-based learning harnesses a child’s natural desire to discover, understand, form patterns, and make connections about what they learn. We also incorporate Socratic Seminars and lectures for developing intellectual skills and for enlarging the grasp of ideas and values. A love of learning and daily academic discovery enables students to remain actively engaged in the classroom. At Lorien Wood, learning is a daily invitation and an atmosphere of joy is a natural result.
We believe that children are whole persons and as you engage their minds, you must also engage their hearts and bodies. We value hands-on experiences, living books, recitation, narrative, nature and picture study (elements of Charlotte Mason). We heed the call of scripture which beckons us to “taste and see,” as we invite our students both “to know” and “to do.” Weaving experiential learning with other elements of our teaching methodology provides a robust learning experience.
Our teachers are trained to incorporate outdoor learning experiences into each unit of study to encourage students to engage in observation, grow in appreciation, and take part in the stewardship of God’s creation. From gardening, to nature-inspired artwork and journaling, to creek walks to study macroinvertebrates, to extended Field Studies in the Watershed year, our students regularly engage with God's creation to enrich their learning and expand their understanding of Him. Outdoor education driven by a biblical worldview is unique.