Experts in the field of brain research are convinced that every child’s physical and emotional well-being is closely linked to their ability to think and to learn effectively. In short, the learner’s surroundings greatly impact his or her ability to learn. Many believe that it is this clear-cut difference in the surrounding environment that helps so many students from Catholic elementary schools achieve at the level they do.
Catholic schools, by their expanded charter, are able to address some of the major shortcomings in the public education system. Perhaps most noticeable recently is that Catholic schools haven’t gotten sidetracked by ‘teaching to the test’ as many public schools have. Schools and teachers are not evaluated based on the scores of state tests, the results are simply used to improve instruction.
In Catholic school, kids are accepted for who they are, uniforms remove many of the surface-level distractions of social status and peer pressure, and there is zero tolerance for the students and activities that would deprive others of their chance to learn. In Catholic school, children learn that their value is not based on how others see them.
In a Catholic elementary school, each child learns that they are unique and important and created by God to fulfill a special purpose. Catholic schools also address life questions—where did we come from, where are we going, what’s it all about—not only with the help of the arts and sciences, but also with reference to God and the Catholic faith. Catholic schools are also places where each individual is known by name, and guided and nurtured through the process. This sends strong subconscious messages, such as “I matter,” “this is a place where I can learn,” and “I am welcome here.”
Students also interact with other students who are ‘achievers’ creating a competitive, yet supportive environment. They’re backed by parents who are actively involved in their children’s education, and students are led by teachers who demand, rather than request, that they succeed. Being part of a community that supports and celebrates your goals, and helps you achieve them, is a powerful motivator.
But most importantly, a Catholic elementary school is a place that reminds children constantly that they are safe, they are loved, and that God loves them. This security prepares children for adulthood because they will have attained a sense of self-worth, preparing them for marriage and family, vocations of service to the Church and to be of service to one’s fellow human beings.
You cannot underestimate the simple strength of the warm and loving environment Catholic elementary schools provide for children during their formative years.
—Supplied by the Diocese of Rockville Centre. Visit www.licatholicelementaryschools.org for information.