Excerpt from Ann McLean’s Open House Talk October 11, 2011
How Did the Idea of Hunter Country Day School Come About?
“The idea to begin a school had been on my heart for about 10 years. I had observed some unsettling trends in education on the national level and realized more school choice was needed. As critical thinking skills have diminished, the quality of the graduate seems to go down. In many instances, progressive educational theory was not delivering the hoped-for results. At the same time, my husband and I were raising four daughters and encountered some things which gave us pause…not the least of which were the ever-rising, staggering tuition rates.
I have always had a deep interest in education, and what makes a fine school. We felt a school should be a true partner with the parent, for the benefit of the child, and only when this happens can there be true character development. We agreed that the value of a Christian worldview was also important.
As Susan Wise Bauer, author of The Well-Trained Mind states, “Education is that vast undertaking of passing on knowledge from one generation to another.” In many schools, there seems to be “drift” occurring away from tradition, away from some tried and true practices, away from history, and away from teaching the classics. As an historian, I believe what has been done and thought before our time is crucial to preparing for the future, and that “truth” as it has been traditionally understood is vital.
One aspect, or distinctive, of Hunter Country Day School is that we will support families, which are undergoing great stress these days, economically and in many other ways. We recognize that families, not schools, are the fundamental building blocks of a healthy society. This is God’s design, not man’s.
How will Hunter support families, you may ask? First, by understanding the difference between your job and ours, and providing an environment based on respect, not in name only, but in practice. We understand that our job is teaching and learning, but equally important is the moral development of the child. We celebrate the uniqueness of each child, so that he or she will feel cherished. We will abide by the “Golden Rule” which has its roots in the Judeo-Christian tradition.
…In short, we will “begin with the end in mind”, meaning that we want the portrait of the graduate to be a confident, moral child who enjoys the process of learning and has a moral compass. We want human flourishing to be an outgrowth of our program, and for your child to develop the ability to learn, which will serve him or her well no matter what career path lies ahead…In conclusion, what we will do is to return to solid principles, to have a good-faith partnership with parents, to support healthy homes and traditional values, and to build critical thinking skills.”