Taking young minds seriously

Mrs. Rachelle Smith

Rachelle Smith teaches PreK at Veritas.  Mrs. Smith studied English and economics at Marietta College and completed graduate studies in education at Indiana Wesleyan University.  Mrs. Smith and her husband, Ryan, live with their five children in downtown Marietta. Mrs. Smith enjoys renovating old houses, quilting, studying theology, cooking, and teaching 5th grade Sunday school. 

What fascinates Mrs. Smith about classical education?  “The moment I was formally introduced to classical education, I was hooked! Unbeknownst to me, my favorite things growing up–Latin, penmanship, grammar, and so on–were rooted in the fading tradition of classical education.  I think I found these things so attractive because they trace back to something older and somehow more sturdy than what I saw around me.  The tradition goes back not years or generations, but millennia.  It worked then and works today. What fascinates me the most is that, while the classical approach yields astounding results, in general it is also loved by students as much as it is by their teachers!”

The development of virtue begins at a young age, but how do you teach virtue to such young children?  “I like to let literature do the teaching whenever I can, whether grammar, vocabulary, history, or even virtue.  Read aloud, it is engaging for the individual and the group, bonding students as they journey together, and providing the perfect context for character instruction.  Monthly virtues focus our reading selections, and as a class, we examine these traits, or lack thereof, in fables, fairy tales, poetry, and biographies on a daily basis.  Of course, virtue doesn’t come simply by talking about it–as much as one might wish!–so in PreK, we not only talk about virtue, but practice it, sometimes even acting out or drawing scenarios from our readings.  I see virtue formation as the most important way to prepare young students to be eager, diligent, lifelong learners, and I feel privileged that I am entrusted with the task of cultivating both wisdom and virtue in my classroom.” – Rachelle Smith