Beyond the Classroom
One of the core concepts of New Church education is that we are "educating for use". We want to help our students become useful people. We put a lot of emphasis on experiential learning - service projects, field trips, nature journaling, and working together.
New Church theology includes this definition of useful service: doing one's job, or use, "honestly, faithfully and sincerely". This doesn't make a distinction between the "job" of being a good husband or wife, father, mother, fireman, teacher, doctor, or volunteer - whatever it is - make sure it is useful, and do it honestly, faithfully and sincerely.
One way we try to instill this into daily practice is by having the students do "duties" at the end of the school day, every day. They team up to do chores - washing blackboards, emptying trash, taking our recycling, vacuuming, sweeping and generally getting the school tidy for the next day. Sometimes, too, we venture further afield - doing volunteer work for the East End Cooperative Ministries, planning and preparing a Harvest Festival, and making gardens.
Experiential Learning / Field Trips
A big advantage of having a small school is that we can take field trips fairly easily. Recently, our students have gone canoeing, they've been to a farm, they've gone swimming, they've been to Gettysburg, Washington, Williamsburg and Philadelphia. We also do things at our great resources closer to home - visiting the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, the Frick, Phipps Conservatory, the Aviary, the Science Center, Meadowcroft Village, and Fort Ligonier.