FUNDAMENTAL PEDAGOGICAL CONVICTIONS
1. A Non-Competitive, Stimulating Atmosphere
Administration, faculty and students are held to the highest standard in their way of relating to
one another. In an atmosphere of sincerity and truth, students are free to learn for the pleasure of
learning. Students do not compete with their peers for rank, grades or prizes. Learning is the
focus, not besting a classmate. Great ideas, great works of literature, great works of art, the glory
of the created world, and the common experiences of life are placed before the students to study
and discuss. Students are stimulated to observe, explore and understand.
2. The Discipline of Habit
While recognizing that students have various levels of gifting, it is the expectation of Ambleside
administration and faculty that every student will develop the habits necessary for producing
work of the highest quality and that all Ambleside students will grow to the fullness of their
At Ambleside, we consider the process of student work to be as important as the end product.
Rather than developing persons who are able to study well for the next exam, we are interested in
helping students develop a life of study. We ask the questions: Did she attend? Did he put forth
effort? And was she thorough? We believe school is not just an institution to get through, but
rather a place to develop habits that will serve children the rest of their lives.
3. Education as Vital, Dynamic, Living
Real learning occurs when the learner wonders, asks why and how. Thus, it is essential that the
teacher cultivate an atmosphere that is rich in great ideas, thus stimulating thought. The teacher
must seek to place the very best books before students; books rich in content and ideas, putting
them into relationship with the finest authors. Through the use of “living books” students interact
with scientists, mathematicians, philosophers, historians, artists, poets, and explorers.
4. The Infinite Dignity and Potential of Each Child
Because children are created in God’s image, they are born with a great potential for a fruitful
life full of varied interests and relationships. At Ambleside, children are not identified or limited
by their strengths or weaknesses. All children participate in a broad, rigorous curriculum—all
children calculate, solve, attend, explore, ponder, recite, paint and sing. The expectation that
prevails within the school is that all students will learn and grow to their full potential as persons
and attain their vast inheritance.
5. The Priority of the Relational Life
Children live in relationship with God, self, others, creation, and the world of ideas. These
relationships are cultivated in the educational process through a broad, challenging curriculum
and a faculty that seeks to relate to students, parents, and one another in accordance with the
principles of Jesus Christ.
6. The Importance of Delight and of Struggle
Children will naturally delight in the feast of great ideas set before them. They will savor them
and grow in the ability to enjoy and celebrate their relations with persons, ideas, and creation.
But they will also at times struggle. Struggle is as essential to the learning process as delight.
Children must learn to labor with problems not yet grasped, to remain on task when uncertain of
the outcome, to struggle to completion when mind and hand are tired, to experience the rewards
and negative consequences of their actions. There will be no growth in character without the
Children are to be continuously engaged with inspirational ideas and meaningful work. The
classroom is not a place for entertainment and indulgence, any more than it is a place for
meaningless drudgery. Such practices encourage passivity and detract from the deep satisfactions
that come with growing knowledge and fruitful labor.