Works of the Order in Action: Theophany School
Sixteen years ago, at the tender age of twenty-one, Sonia Daly had a vision to open an Orthodox School near her hometown in Massachusetts. With her hard work and by God’s grace, Theophany School opened its doors in 1997. Since then, we have been working hard to foster the intellectual, moral and social development of our students by engaging their minds, nurturing their spirits, and enriching their God-given gifts and talents through the teachings and life of the Holy Orthodox Christian Church. Our small class sizes and child-driven curriculum let us educate the whole child, thereby cultivating each child’s strengths, and encouraging him or her to be an independent thinker and a thoughtful member of our School, and of his or her family and communities, ultimately guiding us all along the path to Christ.
Theophany School remains a beacon of hope for the future of our students, their families and our society at large, given the current state of our economy, the instant gratification provided by digital technology, and the violence exhibited in the media and in our schools. We believe that we are called to “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). Theophany School’s educational philosophy is based on the faith, life and teachings of the Orthodox Church: to recognize and respect God’s presence in all things, to constantly challenge each other to grow, and to engage our senses, minds, souls and bodies in becoming the persons God means us to be. At Theophany School, our students not only learn the fundamental building-blocks that enable them to advance academically, but they develop the social skills that will help them become great leaders, family members and friends: patience, humility, self-control, empathy, how to take turns, how to share, and how to communicate. Research shows that learning these skills in preschool is crucial for success in a competitive job market later in life.1 We know, however, that a successful career is just one thread in the rich tapestry of our lives. By interweaving Orthodoxy into the everyday lives of our students and families, our students will not only be better prepared to face the challenges of an increasingly secular world, but they will also be prepared to become the next generation of leaders in our parishes and communities. It is no wonder that we agree with St. Theophan the Recluse: “Of all holy works, the education of children is the most holy”!
Theophany School strives to provide these faith-based educational opportunities to all families, regardless of economic status. In this tough economic climate, Theophany School is still able to provide an affordable Orthodox education for its families through fundraising and through generous grants from such organizations as The Order of St. Ignatius. As well as helping to keep our tuition costs low, the Order funded expansion of Theophany’s program offerings through the creation of a week-long summer enrichment camp. This camp, which runs each June, provides opportunities for current and future students and families to explore our programs and philosophy. Additionally, Theophany School is currently in the process of adding enrichment programs, in music, dance and language, as supplements to our childcentered curriculum. We know that our students, families and communities are benefiting from the strong foundation that we are building here, as our alumni are going on to become leaders of SOYO, GOYA and OCF, to participate in community service, and to thrive in their academic programs. We look forward to seeing the ways in which they change the world. Knowing how our students flourish following their preschool and kindergarten experiences at Theophany School, we look forward to expanding into a full elementary program, fulfilling Sonia’s dream. These opportunities would not be possible without the generosity of philanthropic organizations such as The Order of St. Ignatius. From the bottom of our hearts, we would like to thank The Order for their continuing patronage as Theophany School and its students change the world, one child at a time.
1. P.M. Wortman, “An Exemplary Evaluation of a Program That Worked: The High/Scope Perry Preschool Project,” American Journal of Evaluation 16.3 (1995): 257-65 (print).