Walk through the halls of Destiny Christian School and Preschool with me. Do you hear what I hear? Of course, you don’t, but if you were here with me you would hear singing…lots of singing! You would hear the voices of children and teachers singing worship songs to God as they start each day. You would hear Bible verses set to music, to help students retain God’s Word, helping the students and staff hide God’s word in their hearts as we are instructed to do in Psalm 119:11 (NIV). “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” A great example of a memory verse song is one you can find on YouTube by Hillsong, Joshua 1:9. Starting each day with singing is what we do at Destiny.
Hillsong Kids – Memory Verse Song – Joshua 1:9: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iyp7WNusPDg
I know what you are thinking. It is a Christian School, of course the students are going to sing worship songs and learn scripture. You are right, and yet there is so much more that you need to hear. The singing does not stop when the Bible lesson is over. The singing continues throughout the day during math, grammar, science, social studies, Latin, reading and more! As you tour the hallways you will hear singing in our preschool through 5th grade classrooms.
Destiny Christian School and Preschool is a Classical Christian school. We base our teaching and learning on proven methods of education that have stood the test of time. The first stage of learning in the classical model is the Grammar stage. This is the stage when all children hear and remember everything you say and “parrot” it back to you! Sometimes they remember things you wish they would forget or things you “didn’t know” they had heard! God has given children this amazing ability to hear and remember a wealth of information that they will carry with them for a lifetime. Doubting me? When you need to alphabetize something, do you catch yourself singing the ABC song? When you are manually balancing your checkbook, do you ever reboot your brain and recite some of your times tables? When writing something, do you ever recite, “i before e, except after c?” You, as an adult, are using songs and chants that you learned as a child to help you recall important information you once learned and now need as an adult.
Classical Christian Education capitalizes on the Grammar stage, when memorizing things is so easy and natural for children. Young children have an innate love of learning, a sense of wonder and a love of repetition. Many of the key points in lessons that the children are taught will have a song or a chant to help them learn and retain information and facts. Classical Christian Education takes advantage of the natural inclinations of a young child’s brain and uses it to help lay an academic foundation.
Let’s continue our tour down the halls of Destiny and I will show you the Grammar Stage in action. We will look into the classrooms for a few real life examples. Here we are with the youngest children in preschool and Kindergarten! Saxon Math provides a song for the formation of each number. As the children are learning the formation of the numbers, they sing a song to give them the prompt they need to trigger their brain to form the number correctly. For example, Saxon Math’s song for number 1 is: “Come straight down, that is all, come straight down, that is all, come straight down, that is all, that’s how you make the number 1.” Our youngest learners will be learning the ABC song, chants to spell sight words, how to spell color words, seasons of the year, days of the week, months of the year and more.
When you enter the first grade classroom you will hear students singing songs and jingles to help them learn what makes a sentence, what is the soft g sound, or what makes a word a noun. The children are beginning to write, learn parts of speech, and put their words down on paper and learning to spell. These songs are their check-in point, helping them remember and recall the many new things they are learning. As the students are writing and checking their work, they can sing the song to see if they included all the elements of a sentence or if any of their spelling words are nouns or if they are wondering, what is that soft sound of g again? Check out this example of a Shurley English grammar song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iyp7WNusPDg
As we go by the second grade classroom, you will hear songs about their BJU Press Science unit on recycling. The students took existing items such as plastic bags and paper and repurposed them into a reusable item or art. The class then learned a song, that their teacher wrote, about the terms recycle, reduce, reuse, repurpose. You can be sure that song pops into their heads when they are told to put something into the recycle bin at home.
As we pop into the next classroom, you will hear third grade singing their Latin vocabulary songs and more grammar songs from Shurley English. You will also hear the students singing songs about their Veritas Press Geography lessons, Bible history and more.
When we move down the hall, we will approach the fourth grade classroom and you will hear math chants that recall math facts, as well as orders of operation that were introduced through Saxon Math, along with additional grammar songs from Shurley English, spelling rules and more songs from our Veritas Press History curriculum.
You will hear our fifth graders singing songs to remember Bible facts from Summit Ministries, Building on the Rock, as well as scripture. The class also sings some fun songs to help them remember all those dates they learn about in Veritas Press History lessons.
I hope you noticed that each grade sings or chants to help set the grade appropriate knowledge into the brain of the student. Studies have shown that learning something to music or chant/rhyme embeds the information faster.
Melanie Pinola says, “Music Mnemonics: Music is a powerful mnemonic because it provides a structure for information and encourages repetition. It’s a lot easier to remember a catchy song than it is to remember a long string of words or letters, such as your bank account password…Rhyming Mnemonics: Perhaps you’re familiar with the rhyme that starts with “30 days hath September, April, June, and November”? Rhymes are similar to music mnemonics. When the end of every line rhymes, it creates a song-like pattern that’s easy to remember. One expression I learned from watching a cooking show: “Looks the same, cooks the same”—a reminder to chop and dice ingredients uniformly for even cooking.” You can read more of Melanie Pinola’s article at https://zapier.com/blog/better-memory/
Classical Christian Education takes these natural pathways for learning and helps the students implant valuable information into their memory banks for future reference. Our goal as educators is to help children lay a strong foundation, on which they will add layer after layer of facts that can and will be recalled and used throughout the course of their school career. This foundation starts with the basic building blocks on which of all their future learning will rest.
There is a Latin proverb, “Repetitio mater memoriae,” which means, repetition is the mother of memory. This ancient proverb sums up the thinking behind the time tested teaching practices of the Grammar stage that are being taught at Destiny Christian School and Preschool. We welcome you to come walk down our halls and hear the children as they are building their academic foundation, one song at a time. How solid is your child’s foundation? Can we help you build your child’s academic foundation one song at a time?