In books, or work, or healthful play,
Let my first years be past;
That I may give for every day;
Some good account at last.
Isaac Watts penned this stanza in his poem “The Bee.” Interestingly enough, it relates to Lewis Carroll’s The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland, which the lower elementary literature class recently read. Carroll adopted the poem in a playful manner and mixed it up to fit his story – as he did with many other poems during Alice’s adventures. In Carroll’s version, “The Bee” became “The Crocodile,” and the purpose of the poetry changed from admonishment to amusement. Yet, it is Watts’ poem that is remarkably applicable to the philosophy of education that we are operating from at Pinnacle Classical Academy: seeking to bring every subject and activity under the authority of Jesus Christ. In that respect, we see the students gleaning from books, work, and healthful play, to the end that each would be able to stand before the Lord and give “some good account” of his or her time here on earth.
In books: Literature allows students to dig deeply into class work, establishing their minds in the soil of exciting new stories. Currently, the second and third graders are reading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Farmer Boy. While the students have already read the book once, they are further engaging the material to learn the structure of all stories. Setting, characters, and plot are the typical elements of literature that are applicable also in studying God’s Word. A firm knowledge of these elements will benefit the students in understanding the gospel – its setting, main Character, and the plot, which is God’s redemption for his people.
In play: If you were to become a spectator during the students’ recess on most class days, you might be amazed at the intricacy of thought that their games engage. While running around trying to catch each other does not seem complicated, the rules that govern their play continue to be altered throughout the game, requiring every participant’s attention to detail. Games at recess might seem innocuous, but they are arguably God’s grace to use healthful play to further grow students in their skills of analysis and application, as well as teamwork and creativity.
In work: It should be noted that a grounded work ethic is being graciously cultivated in PCA students. As stated above, in the classical Christian education of students, books, work, and healthful play all cooperate towards the purpose of forming each student into a “well-rounded” individual whose education has been molded by a biblical worldview. Thus, as we walk through each day, we see students reading for the glory of God, working to the glory of God, and playing to the glory of God. And this is one of the great privileges of being a Classical Christian Educator: namely, seeing the Lord build up students in the grace and the knowledge of Him in order that they would be ready to engage a lost and dying world with the glorious all-encompassing Gospel of His Grace.