Each year, the Lower School selects a theme to integrate, authentically, into lessons and content throughout the year. Many schools opt for a character trait of the month and will spend 30-60 minutes during that month focusing on just that one character trait; however, this often is then quickly pushed to the side and never mentioned again that month. By having one theme consistent throughout the year, connections to that theme can be made throughout all content, as appropriate.
Last Year’s Theme – Perseverance
Last year (2016-17) the theme for the Lower School was perseverance. Several Chapel speakers were able to tie this into their message to students and then our teachers made connections throughout the year as they studied historical figures, read novels, or saw students themselves persevere during difficult tasks. Each afternoon at dismissal time, we closed the day with a quarterly verse about perseverance.
This Year’s Theme – Joy
This year, we are building off the theme of perseverance by focusing on JOY. With joy, the first aspect to mention is the difference between joy and happiness. Joy comes from a deeper source that is not impacted by the circumstances around us whereas happiness is often dependent upon external events. At Trinity Academy, your child’s happiness is ultimately not our goal – a statement that may initially appear shocking. While we want your student to be more happy than not, there will be times during the course of their academic journey that they will not be happy. They may become frustrated when they struggle with an academic concept, they may be hurt by a social misunderstanding, they may be sad because their behavior was corrected by a teacher – all of these are part of maturing and growing older and our teachers will be here to walk through each one with your student. But if happiness was the goal, then students would never be challenged and ultimately their growth- academically, socially, spiritually, and emotionally – would be stunted. So while we want happy students, our ultimate goal is greater. You can read more on this topic here.
Which brings us to joy – our joy comes from the Lord. We can have joy in our suffering (Romans 5:3) because our joy comes from our salvation (1 Peter 1:8-9). If we can help students focus on first things first (Jesus and our salvation through Him) then they are able to have joy during times of trial. Once our joy is established in Jesus, our circumstances have less bearing upon us and we find the strength to face adversity and ultimately to overcome it. Our ability to persevere comes from our joy.
Furthermore, as our joy is found in Jesus, students are then able to develop a genuine heart for others in a way that is hindered when happiness is the priority. While we want students to learn how to advocate for themselves and to become leaders, we also desire for them to have a heart for others. As a partner to the theme of joy we will also be focusing on developing a servant’s heart in our students. This means coaching students through situations they encounter in school, such as an unwillingness to play different games at recess each day; rushing to grab 8 colored pencils when only 1 is needed; stopping to pick up the trash that someone else dropped and so on.
Unique Dress Code Exception for 2017-2018
Part of joy is celebrating each individual student as an image-bearer of Christ and therefore our faculty can experience great joy as we see the unique individuals created by God. To help us celebrate students and show our joy for them as individuals, this year we are allowing a unique dress code exception:
To celebrate their uniqueness, each Lower School student is able to follow the Black & Gold Dress Code on their birthday. If their birthday falls on a day we do not have school (or the rare day it would not be appropriate to wear Black & Gold such as when they’re speaking at Chapel, presenting at Poetry and Prose, a theme day for their grade level, etc.) then they are able to follow the Black & Gold Dress Code on the day that their birthday is celebrated in the classroom. This is typically the appropriate school day closest to their birthday; for a summer birthday I recommend their half-birthday (6 months from their actual birthday) as their Black & Gold Day although picking a day in the first few weeks of school or the last few weeks of school would also be appropriate.
Regardless of which day you select, please communicate with the teacher via a short email to let them know in advance the day that your child will be celebrating their birthday by wearing Black & Gold. This will help us share with them the joy we have for them.
I invite you to join me, and our Trinity staff, as a community that prioritizes joy over happiness and that helps point all our children to the hope and joy found in Jesus Christ.
Lower School Head