Fourteen years ago, in Northern Virginia, when our oldest child was nearing Kindergarten age, we began the process of attending Open Houses to find the right school for him. At that time, we knew little about education, but we did know our child, and something about life. An Ambleside School was set to open nearby, and their Open House stood out from the rest, because what was said there resonated as truth. It became a home for our family, and a place where our children grew to love learning, for the next six years.
Ambleside’s philosophy takes truth from Scripture and a deep understanding of the child as a person, and applies it to education. For example:
- All truth is God’s truth and should not be separated into the secular and the sacred. For example, the beauty of mathematics reflects something of God’s order and is worthy of study for its own sake, and does not need a picture of Noah or a verse on the top to make it “Christian”. Truth is beautiful and reflects the truth of God, no matter to whom it was first revealed.
- Joy comes when we forget about ourselves and are taken up in the delight of what is before us, whether that is a worthy book, music, serving someone, or responding to God in worship.
- Children are persons, created in God’s image, with a capacity and a desire to learn (think of a toddler near an open cupboard!). We crush that desire when we bore them with endless worksheets and dry textbooks. We give “sawdust” to hungry minds and then wonder why we have to promise stickers and candy to make them “eat” it compliantly! Instead, at Ambleside, a rich, challenging feast of interesting material is set for the children, and they come and “eat” and grow and want more!
- When Jesus came and died and forgave us of all our sins, he took us out of the hopeless grind of comparison, of shame, of tallying my “points” against the law, etc. Instead, He loves us, gently convicts us, and teaches us through the Bible, other people, books, and natural consequences that relate to our actions. Ambleside takes this same approach. The “point” system, of stickers and comparison and shame and fear, which works well in the short term to motivate desired behavior, fails to build the internal will to do what is right once these exterior motivators are removed. Ambleside teachers forfeit that approach and instead treat children as persons and work diligently and gently to instill habits and form their will to do what is right.
We encourage you to read through the pages of this website to better understand an Ambleside education. To make a long story short, after Kimberley was privileged to serve on the board of Ambleside of Herndon, VA, we moved to Colorado in 2006. That is when the contrast of Ambleside to a traditional education really woke us, and we became passionate about bringing an Ambleside education to our younger children, and to other children in Colorado.
We are amazed at how the Lord drew people to this philosophy and opened doors for Ambleside Colorado to be established and grow to bless the families of nearly 100 students. It is beautiful to see students in Colorado thrive as they learn in a way that fits their design. We invite you to consider joining with this community of learners. It is all for His glory, and for the children’s sake.
Greg and Kimberley Lorden
“Character is the result of conduct regulated by will.”