Ever wonder what it's really like to be a student at WCCS? This week, we are starting a new blog series entitled, "A Day in the Life". Each week, you'll hear from one of our students about what it's like to learn, play, serve, and worship at WCCS! This week, 3rd grader Mason Metcalf shares what his day is like at the lower school.
When I get into school I copy down my homework for the day. Then we start Bible study. We study verses, play games, and read from our workbooks. Right now we are working on Samuel’s life. On Friday we do the quiz on our verse of the week. I am pretty good at memorizing that.
Next, we do Math. Most of the time we do models, quizzes, and worksheets. We can also play math games. This week we are learning division by nines. Math is not my favorite, but it is ok.
Then, we go to other classes, like P.E., Music, and Art. Sometimes we even have two, but that’s another story. My favorite is P.E. I don’t know why I just do.
Next, we do Language Arts time. Sometimes, I go to Reading Groups with my partner Birdie Means. I like working with Birdie because she comes up with good ideas. Reading Groups is when you read books and talk about them with teachers and students. We do papers and other writing about the books. We are working on a report about a man named Frederick Douglass.
My most favorite part of the day is Recess. We play in the sandbox, playhouse, and mud kitchen. We do this for 30 minutes.
Next, we go to lunch. At lunch we eat the food we brought or ordered and talk with friends. My favorite is when I order pizza.
Last, we look over our language papers and do Science and I rock it! In Science, we are learning about erosion and doing experiments in the Explore Lab. We can also do History depending on which half of the year it is.
At the end of the day we go to car line and go home. I really like Mrs. Winn’s class because we get to sit where we choose like sitting on the carpet. Also, I only have about 10 kids in my class which is fun because you get called on more often! I think this school is different because here we talk about God and do lessons about him. Everything we do points back to God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, even in Science!
As parents, we all want to raise self-confident, responsible children who are ready to leave our homes and enter the real world.
From an early age, we have the ability to shape who our children will become by the way we speak, the rules we set, and the decisions we allow them to make. Don't you sometimes wish there was an instructional manual?
You may have heard the phrase “Love and Logic” over the past several years at WCCS as administrators and teachers have studied and implemented principles from the approach. Love and Logic has given our teachers a toolbox of positive techniques for maintaining calm and effective classrooms. In this week’s blog, we thought we would share some of the basic principles of the program, some real-life examples from WCCS classrooms, and some practical tips for parents to implement in the home.
What is Love and Logic?
In the mid 1970’s, Foster W. Cline, M.D., a child psychiatrist, and Jim Fay, an experienced educator, were concerned about the number of parents and educators struggling with challenging children and teens. Their research and real-life experience resulted in the Love and Logic approach to help parents and educators raise happy and responsible kids. The goal was to provide parents with positive, loving tools for raising happy and well-behaved children. It was built around the science of maintaining caring, respectful relationships and is a balance of love, mutual respect, limits, and accountability; all designed to help children become happy, self-controlled adults.
The “love” in Love and Logic means that we love our children so much that we are willing to consistently set and enforce limits with sincere compassion and empathy. The “logic” in Love and Logic happens when we allow children to make decisions and affordable mistakes and then experience the natural or logical consequences of those choices. When this ‘logic” is balanced with sincere empathy, children develop the logical thinking that “the quality of my life depends on the quality of my choices.”
Charles Fay, Ph.D., school and clinical psychologist and CEO of the Love and Logic Institute, often refers to the two important rules of Love and Logic.
Rule #1: “Adults should set limits without anger, lectures, threats, or repeated warnings.”
As adults, we set limits by telling children what we will do or allow in a calm and loving manner. Be firm, but resist lecturing, threatening or making empty promises. Remember, it’s hard to make a sensible decision or a good choice when you are stressed or angry. This is true for both you and your child!
Rule #2: “Let children solve their own problems.”
When children cause problems, adults should hand those problems back in loving ways. This is achieved by replacing anger and lectures with a strong dose of empathy followed by the logical consequence.
Parents are the most important influence and source of information in a child’s life to help them develop wisdom, values, and discernment. The Love and Logic approach provides four basic principles or ingredients to help parents build their children’s self-esteem, personal responsibility, and ability to make smart choices. These principles assist parents and educators in making daily deposits in the lives of children:
Use Empathy. Whenever possible, build self-concept by maintaining the dignity of both the adult and child. Parents and educators are the examples as we provide the model for mutual respect and dignity. We must offer children empathy, understanding, and unconditional love; allow them to struggle and solve their own problems; and encourage them to learn to succeed through personal thinking and learning.
Example: “One of the most commonly used Love and Logic principles in my classroom is the 'Uh, Oh' song. This is accompanied by an empathetic statement like, "I see you are having a problem." I might follow up with a thinking statement like "Children who are listening get to stay in group." For many students, this simple exchange is enough to get them thinking and back on task." – Alice Browder, 4K Teacher
Whenever possible, share the control. Parents and educators offer healthy control and allow children to make choices frequently, when they don’t negatively affect the welfare of others.
Example: “Sometimes during the day, I will give the students a list of three of four tasks that we need to accomplish and let them choose the order we complete them in. They oftentimes have good reasons for wanting to get one finished in a specific order. Giving them a little bit of ownership over our day leads to less complaining and more time to do the things they enjoy.” – Christiana Holz, 4th Grade Teacher
Example: "One of the things that I like about Love and Logic is the opportunity to give choices to the children when it is appropriate. I think it makes them feel empowered and they can see the benefits of making good choices. Just yesterday, a little boy was playing a little too rough in a center after he had a warning. Instead of putting him directly in time out or telling him to go somewhere else, I said he could "choose" a different center that he would like to play in instead. Though sad to leave his center, he was able to calmly choose somewhere else and play very well there. No tantrums or fussiness and he could see that he could control his body and with choice have another chance to play more calmly in another center!" - Nikki Cales, 3K Teacher
Whenever possible, share the thinking. We give our children a lifelong gift when we allow them to think more about the solution to a problem or mistake. Questions are a powerful way to encourage children to think for themselves.
Example: “When students are struggling to share or in the middle of some other social problem […] first, I listen to each child’s description of the problem. Again, my goal is to get them thinking…so I may say this...’Would you like to hear what some other kids would do?’ And they always want to hear! (Let’s say the problem is who will get to be the Dad in the home center)….I would say, “Some kids decide two dads from different families can be in the center. Or, some kids decide to stomp their feet and yell at their friends. Or, some kids decide to get a timer to help them take turns. Which sounds like the better choice to you?” – Alice Browder, 4K Teacher
Example: “I even use love and logic with my husband. ‘Would you like to take out the trash before you come to bed or when you get up in the morning? LOL’” – Kara Winn, 3rd Grade Teacher
Use the empathy/consequence formula. Offer empathy first and then the consequences. Empathy allows children to learn from their mistakes instead of learning to resent adults. Consequences teach children all sorts of lifelong lessons, including the knowledge that they have the power to shape their own lives by taking ownership of the actions they take. Avoid the temptation to remove the source of your child’s pain by allowing natural negative consequences to occur when they make a wrong decision.
Example: “This might be used with a child who doesn’t want to clean up which is just prior to lunch in our class schedule. I might say, ‘Aww. I see you’re not helping your friends clean up. Don’t worry, you can finish cleaning the center while we eat our lunch!’ The tone of voice is key here, as it is said with a soft voice and no anger or frustration at all…In fact, I give the impression that I just thought of a great idea! This squarely puts the problem back in the child’s hands. I have had to follow through on this one enough times that they know I am not kidding.” – Alice Browder, 4K Teacher
Example: “Throughout the year I reinforce that the students are capable or making their own choices on a daily basis and the consequence is based on their decision making. Over the past three years, I have seen incredible progress in students' problem solving skills and in the maturity of their decision making. In the past, I have had students come up to me in the morning and say, "Mrs. Holz, here is a note from my mom that says I forgot my homework at school yesterday, so I couldn't do it" - which leads to the child completing their homework at recess, losing points on the assignment, and a gloomy attitude for the rest of the day. Just a few days before Christmas break, a student walked up to me in the morning and said, "Mrs. Holz, do you mind that my homework is on a lined sheet of paper? I left my assignment here and called my friend, who emailed me a picture of the assignment." You can bet that I don't mind the homework being completed on a lined sheet of paper when the child takes ownership of their own situation.” – Christiana Holz, 4th Grade Teacher
Example: “When we are moving on to something exciting where self-control may be an issue - like doing an explore lab - I give directions and say "Students who follow directions get to participate while students who aren't listening get to watch." Because they WANT to get their hands into experiments, they listen to directions and usually follow them so that they get to participate. Then if they get off task or disruptive, they can take a break a watch to refocus.” – Kara Winn, 3rd Grade Teacher
Want to know more? If you are interested in learning more about this approach and its strategies, WCCS is holding a class on Friday, February 23 at 8:15 a.m. in Westminster Hall using the Parenting the Love and Logic Way series by Charles Fay, Ph,D. and Jim Fay.
As I’m sure many of our current families are well-aware, it’s re-enrollment time at WCCS. Our current families have until February 5, 2018 to have priority in signing up for school next year before we open up remaining spots to new families seeking enrollment. And, for many of us, this time when we make commitments for next year also prompts the question: “Is what I pay in tuition at WCCS really worth it?” This question is one that many families, new and returning, grapple with as they consider how to steward their resources well for their families, and I have the privilege of sharing the value of a Christian education on a daily basis.
Last summer, one such family reached out to me for more information. The request went something like this:
“I am writing in regards to the tuition for my child. My husband and I want more than anything for her to continue attending WCCS. My heart breaks at even the thought of her not being able to attend. With the tuition going up each year, we are struggling to pay for her to attend. My parents have graciously offered to pay a portion but only if they know for sure that there are benefits outside of sending her to “public school.” There is no doubt in my mind that every penny spent is worth it for us. However, my parents living over 700 miles away, don’t get to SEE the benefits as we do. We love this school and staff with all our hearts and I pray each day that God will continue to make a way for her to stay at WCCS. If you could help guide us or point us in the right direction, I would greatly appreciate it….”
"There is no doubt in my mind that every penny spent is worth it for us."
And, I got excited….so excited to share WHY we do what we do and WHY we feel a WCCS education has significant value.
When we use the word value, we expect a number to follow, putting a price tag on an item to communicate its worth. Yes, I can provide you with lots of data and statistics from our school showing student successes, growth, and achievement to suggest that you will see a return on your investment. And, educational excellence is important to us because doing our best brings glory and honor to God by preparing our students well to respond to God’s call in their lives, careers, service, and other pursuits. But, how do you put a number on the intangible? Take the feedback we hear from recent graduates (and their parents - here’s one for example) that they feel prepared for college as well as life, especially in the areas of writing, critical thinking, time management, and spiritual discernment – areas in which statistics and surveys who many of our young adults are lacking.
But, for those of us who also appreciate seeing numbers, take a look at some of our outcomes information, with more available in our High School Profile HERE:
Our Class of 2017 graduated 30 seniors, all of whom planned matriculation at a 4 year college, university or technical school. As a group, they served over 2,000 hours in the school and local community. They were accepted to 39 colleges/universities and earned over $375,000 annually in scholarships. You can read more about individual members of the class here: WCCS Graduate Testmonials.
Over the last 5 years, we give God glory for a 100% graduation rate, with 80-90% of those graduates each year going on to the college or university of their choice.
Over the last 5 years, Our average SAT and ACT scores are consistently above national, state, and local averages, and we’ve celebrated several National Merit Semi-Finalists and Finalists.
Most importantly, however, what we experience at a place like WCCS shows the eternal value of Christian education. When you count up the amount of time our children spend in school from Kindergarten through 12th Grades, that comes up to a staggering 16,000 hours. Likewise, they have the opportunity to be in church roughly 700 hours if they attend 1-2 hours in church every week for 13 years. And, I’ll leave the formal calculation to you to prove how much time our children spend with their teachers compared to when they are awake with us as their parents. Certainly, the role of parents and churches is critical in the development of our children and youth, but the undeniable truth is that education helps define your child’s worldview. And, we cannot possibly do it alone as parents. In Luke 6:40, Jesus said “the student will become like the teacher,” and these hours spent in the classroom with teachers who are pouring into the souls of our little (and big) ones will undoubtedly have a huge impact on our children.
"Education helps define your child’s worldview."
BUT, it’s not just about OUR kids, is it? Yes, we want the very best, God’s very best, for your children and my children, but it is “so that” our students can take what they have learned here in skills, knowledge, resources, experiences, and training to bless others in HIS name, therefore bringing others to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.
Education is an expensive venture, and we recognize paying private school tuition is a sacrifice. We desire to make a WCCS education as accessible to as many families as possible. And, with the introduction of Variable Tuition last year for Kindergarten – 12th Grades, we have shared in many conversations with parents about how we can partner in the financial burden of that cost. I encourage you to seek us out if you are interested in exploring this option for your family. I would love to have the opportunity to speak directly with you about the value of a WCCS education for your family. It is worth it – every single penny!