A Gem in Our Midst
In countless ways, the pandemic has impacted the lives of everyone — students perhaps most of all. A little more than a year ago, parents never imagined most children would be thrust into attending school either partially or full-time on a computer. This learning model continued for much of the current school year, too. But students fortunate enough to attend Wakefield Country Day School, at the northern end of Rappahannock County, have been in-person since August.
For nearly five decades, Wakefield Country Day School has welcomed students in preschool through grade 12, providing a classical education combined with a focus on building character and unique traditions initiated by the school’s founders, William and Pamela Lynn.
What is Classical Education?
At its core, this form of education teaches students how to learn and how to think in age-appropriate ways. It focuses on history, literature, mathematics, sciences, and language studies, including Latin.
Classical education is consistently effective because of its approach of how and when students are taught. Children learn in three stages: in the grammar stage (pre-K and elementary school), students are most adept at memorizing through songs, chants, and rhymes; in the logic stage (middle school), students are naturally more argumentative and begin to question authority and facts — needing to understand the “why” behind things. They learn reasoning, informal and formal logic, and how to argue wisely. And in the rhetoric stage (high school), students move into becoming independent thinkers and communicators. By studying and practicing rhetoric, they hone their persuasive speaking and effective writing skills.
Countless great leaders, inventors, scientists, writers, philosophers, theologians, physicians, lawyers, artists, and musicians have been the products of classical education over the centuries.
Knowledge is critical, but at Wakefield Country Day School, character education is equally important and wholly integrated into every aspect of daily school life. Honor, respect, humility, perseverance, wisdom, citizenship, responsibility, charity and courage are the values incorporated into classes, discussions, projects, and interscholastic and extracurricular activities.
What we refer to as “common courtesies” often seem to fall by the wayside in today’s world. Yet Wakefield Country Day School students stand any time a faculty member (or adult guest) enters a classroom. Looking at the person to whom they’re speaking is second nature for these youth, as is saying “please” and “thank you” whenever a situation calls for it.
While nationwide bullying — whether physical, emotional or cyber — has increased dramatically in recent years, it simply does not stand a chance here — everything students learn and practice is counterintuitive to the formation of a bullying environment.
In addition to common courtesies, Wakefield Country Day School has seamlessly integrated a variety of traditions into long-term education. Daily traditions, such as the “Word of the Day,” build vocabulary, which is critical to language development, enhances reading comprehension, and improves oral and written communication skills. Plus, faculty often craft games or competitions around the Word of the Day, making it fun for all.
Weekly traditions include all-school assemblies, allowing students various opportunities to share acquired knowledge or talents. At a recent assembly, kindergartners recited the Pledge of Allegiance out loud as well as in American Sign Language. These events also promote spirit and solidarity within and across grade levels.
And of course there are many annual traditions — some in which all students participate like Field Day and the Medieval Banquet — and others for specific grades, such as curriculum-linked travel to England and Italy. These time-honored events are not only teaching moments, they create lasting memories.
All parents want their children to be happy. They want them to love going to school, to succeed in and beyond the classroom, and be lifelong learners. They want them to feel valued, and of course, safe.
Wakefield Country Day School provides such an environment. Its bucolic setting, small student-teacher ratio (6:1), and dedicated faculty combined with a classical education, values, and traditions consistently result in students who confidently discern and defend their views and engage others with clarity, logic, and decorum.
Throughout its entire history, the school has had a 100 percent four-year college acceptance rate; many students go on to prestigious universities and earn significant merit scholarships.
Experience Wakefield Country Day School
Words on a page can’t truly do justice to describe Wakefield Country Day School. For parents seeking a richer, more comprehensive education experience for their children, an onsite visit is encouraged. The school has been open for in-person instruction during the entire 2020–2021 school year and follows CDC guidelines to keep students and faculty safe. Schedule a visit today by calling(540) 635-8555 x227 and learn more by following Wakefield Country Day School on Facebook and Instagram and visiting wcdsva.org.
In addition, the school is participating in Give Local Piedmont on May 4. This online giving event benefits participating local nonprofits through individual donations as well as the chance to win additional prizes (up to $1,000) and a percentage of a $100,000 bonus pool provided by the PATH Foundation. Donations to Wakefield Country Day School during Give Local Piedmont will be used for scholarships, faculty development, and eco-friendly efforts on the campus. Tax-deductible donations can be made beginning April 20 by visiting givelocalpiedmont.org/organization/WCDS.
By: Nancy Griffin-Bonnaire
Featured in: Rappahannock News (view article here)