The third-grade students at The Woods Academy have been preparing for Christmas with Advent. Advent consists of the four weeks before Christmas and serves as the time for Christians to prepare for the celebration of the birth of Jesus. The children have learned that the word Advent comes from the Latin word ‘adventus’, which means ‘arrival’ or ‘coming’. They have been engaged in an Advent project which involved research on Bible passages as evidence of the ideas of messages of hope and waiting, emphasizing the belief that Jesus will come again.
Educationally, this endeavor was significant as the children are learning how to efficiently research facts and paraphrase information. It is music to our ears to hear comments such as, “I have to say this differently,” or “How can I put that in my own words?” This builds upon our study skills progression. It is important to start research at a young age in our information-packed world. Katie Hileman, a technology coordinator and third-grade teacher was quoted as saying, “ Children need to be independent thinkers and not always be given mere questions provided by teachers. By stepping back and providing your students with the tools to begin generating their own higher-order questions and then analyzing the researched information, our youngest learners will be well-prepared for their future.”
In addition, the third-grade teachers love to engage the children in religious activities that promote spiritual awareness because we know how important it is to the children’s overall well-being. A new study from Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health finds that kids and teens who are raised with religious or spiritual practices tend to have better overall health and mental health as they develop.
What is most important to us is the fact that while enjoying the silvery tinsel on the trees, scarlet ribbons, and extravagant gifts we do not forget the birth of Jesus, the reason for the season!