Embracing The Five Gifts at St. John’s Parish Day School


Five Gifts at St. John's Parish Day School

Each day, we give our children gifts. No, not the packages with neatly tied ribbons, but gifts like time, love, support and understanding.

St. John’s Parish Day School, a Pre-K- 5th grade school in Ellicott City, uses their “Five Gifts” — daily promises to each student — as a road map to fulfill their mission of raising successful leaders and global citizens while striving to be sure that student needs are being fulfilled. Each gift represents a shared value within the school community, helping to guide teachers, families, and students along a shared educational, social, emotional and spiritual path.

Additionally, each gift is symbolized in the school’s unique emblem, which serves as a visual representation of St. John’s promises:

Five Gifts at St. John's Parish Day School

Academic Dean, Marla Solomon, and Assistant Head, Dani Boarman walked us through each of the “Five Gifts”and what they mean to the school.

Five Gifts at St. John's Parish Day School

Gift 1 (The Cross)- SPIRITUAL GROWTH THROUGH FAITH FORMATION GROUNDED IN CHRISTIAN TRADITION

With this gift we look to provide our students with a foundation in Christian tradition to ground them in good character as contributing members of our World. During our everyday Chapel we help to teach our students how to be good people!

Five Gifts at St. John's Parish Day School

Gift 2 (The Heart)- LOVING, CARING, SUPPORTIVE ENVIRONMENT WHERE CHILDHOOD IS PRESERVED AND CELEBRATED

We feel it is extremely important to allow children to be children. To have the opportunity to play, learn, and explore as their curious minds want to do. Our experienced teachers provide loving support that allows them to learn in fun and creative ways. By knowing how young children learn, teachers are able to create classroom experiences that are fun and engaging.

Five Gifts at St. John's Parish Day School

Gift 3 (The Flame) AN INNOVATIVE CURRICULUM AND TEACHERS WHO KNOW AND SERVE EACH STUDENT AS THEY GROWN ACADEMICALLY, SOCIALLY, AND SPIRITUALLY

Our teachers use the National Standards in all domains of learning to create engaging lessons that hook the students’ interests through novel experiences. Our deliberate small class sizes allow teachers to tailor lessons to each student’s needs while developing their individual gifts and talents. We build our own curriculum so that teachers can instruct thematically to what inspires them. This intentional fluidity of curriculum allows lessons to evolve and purposefully change each year, in order to capitalize on special interests and needs of each new class.

Five Gifts at St. John's Parish Day School

Gift 4 (The Leaf) DEVELOPMENT OF CONFIDENT, INDEPENDENT THINKERS, PEOPLE OF CHARACTER AND RESPECTFUL CITIZENS CONNECTED TO OUR LOCAL AND GLOBAL COMMUNITY

It is important for us to teach our students that there is a world out there and they play a crucial role in its success. We have many opportunities for outreach, helping students to be strong citizens. For example, we have a Walk for Wamunyu to help provide monetary support for a Kenyan school. We also collect toys for children in Baltimore City at Christmas time and have numerous Green School initiatives.

Five Gifts at St. John's Parish Day School

Gift 5 (The Acorn) SENSE OF WONDER AND POSSIBILITY, WHERE OPPORTUNITIES FOR DISCOVERY ABOUND

This gift truly speaks to childhood. Children are full of wonder, excitement and discovery. We just want to continue to encourage and support that! Having opportunities for children to explore is woven into our curriculum. Hands-on activities, experiments in science, field trips, assemblies and so much more keep our students experiencing the love of learning!

To learn more about St. John’s Parish Day School, and the “Five Gifts” they provide for each child, visit their website

Editor’s Note: This article is part of our School Spotlight Series. Each week, we spotlight our partner schools to give you a glimpse into what learning looks like on their campus.  Images were provided by the school. Want to become a school partner? Email us.

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Sandi Uehlinger

About the Author Sandi Uehlinger

Sandi Uehlinger is a mother, wife, daughter, sister, teacher, & friend who is in the constant pursuit of finding balance. Whether diving into a new classroom, traveling to new places, learning about the newest trends in education, or sitting and reading with her littles at home, she’s always up for a new adventure, (and she may or may not have a passion for the newest Starbucks drive thru.) As an educator, Sandi has almost 20 years of experience in the Baltimore public and private school systems.

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