I know it’s a weird question to ask a parent who is seeking to place their child in a new school: “Do you mind if he doesn’t finish the math book this year? Are you ok with us focusing on his heart first?” When I was the principal of other schools, and I would receive a wounded student, in my mind i would think, “Oh how I wish I had time to heal his/her heart.” In the traditional system there is no time to work on the inside of a child. There is the curriculum. There is testing. There is the deadline to finish the scope and sequence. There is everything…but the child. At our school, our view is a bit different. We are first focused on the child, their heart, their mind, their soul, their being. Oh yeah there is teaching and learning going on, but even more important there is personal development going on. I have told parents, “As long as your child is wounded, no matter how many schools you place them in, they will keep struggling until the wound is healed.” These wounds could come from years of being bullied, a loss of some kind, abuse, mistreatment by a teacher, low self-esteem (because no one has taken the time to identify why God made them special), feeling like their giftedness is being stifled so they are not free to walk in their gifts/talents…any number of things can wound a child. When school is so focused on getting kids to finish “the work” and less focused on healing the heart, then we continue to fill kids’ minds with information while their hearts remain empty…scarred. Our belief is that once a child is made whole, then in no time at all they can learn all they need to learn to make in the next phase of life. Once the child is whole, with no distracting-haunting memories, no unresolved hurts, no feelings of being held back from their calling, etc. they are free to embrace all the knowledge that is available to them. They are free to fly as far as the winds of their passion will take them.
Published by drnika
Anika earned her B.A. from Howard University in elementary education. She also has earned several graduate degrees in education from New York University and Howard University. She has a Masters in liberal arts from St. John’s College and is in the process of completing her PhD in curriculum and instruction from the University of Maryland. Her research focus is on building literacy with African American students through engagement in the books of the Canon. She has served as a teacher, supervisor for student teachers, director of education and Head of School. Currently she is the founder and principal of a unique Christian school in Southern Maryland called The Living Water School which is based on the Sudbury model. She and her husband Damon, have three children (ages 3, 5 and 7), a Tibetan Terrier and a pretty crazy cat. View all posts by drnika