Head of School Blog

Tending Our Community’s Spiritual Garden

Jill Singleton
Taking care of our individual and collective spiritual health is a priority at All Saints. Students are provided multiple opportunities to nurture their spiritual health, resulting in a strong sense of self, personal integrity, a sense of belonging, and an understanding of healthy interdependence. Children who are spiritually healthy are able to graciously give and receive, demonstrate empathy, and seek to explore questions and ideas about ways in which we are all connected to something much larger than ourselves. Children who are spiritually healthy understand their personal value, genuiely embrace a diversity of beliefs and lifestyles, and seek to solve problems peacefully. Children who are spiritually healthy see the glass as half full rather than half empty, and experience gratitude for their gifts and blessings, large and small. At All Saints we nurture children’s spiritual health so that they develop a strong moral compass and come to depend on their inner wisdom and personal conscience to make sound, responsible decisions.

One of the ways we are tending to our children’s spiritual development is through our newly-launched Community Time Assemblies. Weekly assemblies for small groups of students (Nursery, Pre-K and K; Grades 1-2; Grades 3-4; Grades 5-8) and a Mid-Month Gathering of students in Grades 1-8 are designed to address the spiritual needs of everyone in our community. These gatherings include meditation, inspirational readings, teachers’ stories about childhood life lessons, a sharing of the Ignatian spiritual practice called “the Examen,”and an interactive activity designed to provide an opportunity for ethical problem-solving called “What would you do?” Teachers and students also recite our school prayer and sing our school song, two long-standing rituals that bind our community together.

To cover a broad spectrum of spiritual concepts, our Community Time gatherings will focus on a different spiritual teaching each month, as listed below:

• Life in Community: A look at what is means to be human, individually and in community. (Sept)
• Interdependence: Focuses on ways in which everything in life is interconnected and the ways in which all living things rely on one another for survival. (Oct)
• Abundance and Gratitude: Centers around the many gifts and blessings we have in our lives. (Nov)
• Inner Wisdom: An exploration of the truths we hold or can discern within. (Dec)
• Connection to Something Larger than Ourselves: An exploration of the many ways in which humans seek to connect with a greater truth or being. (Jan)
• Inner Peace: Focuses on the importance of mindfulness and being centered in one’s belief in human goodness and understanding. (Feb)
• Purpose: Focuses on the notion that we all have something to contribute, and that our personal lives really matter. (March)
• Stewardship: A look at our role as stewards of the Earth. (Apr)
• Service: Focuses on ways in which our spirituality calls us to action in the world. (May)
• Changes: A look at the natural process of life and death, of new beginnings, and moving on. (June)

Parents will be invited to attend a gathering soon, so be on the lookout for details in the Mid-Week Memo. We hope to see you there!

Thoughts? Comments? Ideas? I’d love to hear them! Email me: jsingleton@allsaintshoboken.com