Curriculum

The teaching in its content and form is based on the words of Christ: "I am the Way and the Truth and Life". The classes are based on the school's curriculum, which draws on the living tradition of the Church. They fulfill the official curriculum.

Learning is to be peaceful and joyous. What matters is being part of the process, learning through creativity, inquiry, co-operation, discovery, play.

One of the best known of the Desert Fathers of fourth-century Egypt, St Sarapion the Sindonite, travelled once on pilgrimage to Rome. Here he was told of a celebrated recluse, a woman who lived always in one small room, never going out. Sceptical about her way of life - for he was himself a great wanderer - Sarapion called on her and asked: "Why are you sitting here?" To this she replied: "I am not sitting. I am on a journey."
(Quoted from The Orthodox Way, by Bishop Kallistos Ware, 1998, p. 7)

The school does not want to isolate itself from the rest of the world, but it tries to avoid overload with external events and their hetctic pace. At the same time, it is our goal that children would find their way and be prepared for functioning well in today's secular life.

St. John the Evangelist School follows the tradition of spiritual education that lies on the foundation of the Orthodox culture. The emphasis on the Other, on the love for the Other, on the readiness to serve the Other and understand the Other as a someone precious despite cultural differences and worldviews. This is the basis for mutual understanding, patience and the desire to help one's neighbour.

Our values are a sense of truth, honesty, respectfulness, authenticity, following one's conscience, responsibility, conscientiousness, trust, openness, freedom, seeing and understanding the other, growing towards the Light.

Often schools aim to prepare students for university or a career. Our school sees everything in the perspective of eternal life, which dignifies the life here and now, but also places value on the future life.

Good learning results are important, that is, they an intrinsic by-product of teaching methods that support the students' development. We are planning to share the evaluation tests with the Rocca al Mare school to monitor the results.

The content of the curriculum is not merely materialistic but helps to communicate the living content and the feeling for meaning of the Creator's work. The subject matter aims to testify to God, to teach to know God, His creation and man. There is a single point of focus through which we integrate, give sense to and organise life, based on the hierarchy: God-Church-family-school-society. Noticing and experiencing the holiness of each given day gives the dynamics, "pulls" the growing person towards the holiness.

For the Orthodox themselves, however, loyalty to Tradition means not primarily the the acceptance of formulae or customs from past generations, but rather the ever-new, personal and direct experience of the Holy Spirit in the present, here and now.
(ibid, p 9)

In addition to one religion class per week it is possible to learn Church history, church music and art. The religion class is not about moralising, but uses different means to approach the child's senses - music, icons, lives of saints, etc.