Saint John the Beloved Academy is a co-educational Catholic liberal arts school for children in preschool through eighth grade in the Catholic Diocese of Arlington. Our liberal arts curriculum is rooted in a Catholic humanist tradition, a unique academic and evangelical approach to Catholic education, which instills in students an understanding of their inherent dignity as children of God, and the intellectual freedom to seek and recognize Truth. We strive to fulfill our mission by ensuring that our school motto, “Fides, Scientia, et Gaudium” is woven into every aspect of our curriculum.
We are rooted in orthodoxy. Students are encouraged to engage their faith in a way that goes beyond simply learning doctrine. By building an academic environment centered on love and affirmation students are encouraged to study and practice their faith in a liberating way. This opens the door for students to observe the world around them and to experience the wonder of creation and reflect on the God who made them. In addition to daily religion classes, students attend Mass once a week as a class, on special occasions as a school, and attend chapel service once a week to encourage silent prayer and reflection.
Children have a natural thirst for knowledge. They want to know, they want to discuss ideas and they want to understand how things work. Our curriculum aims not only to impart knowledge but to help our students grow in wisdom. Since wisdom is the ultimate goal, the process by which our students learn matters greatly. We have adopted a modified block schedule, so they have plenty of time for studies in History, Literature, Humane Letters, Religion, Math, Science, Art, Music, Computer, Physical Education, and Modern Languages. Additionally, our schedule includes opportunities to encourage imagination and intuition and ample time for recess and time outdoors.
We have also returned to original sources in order to give our students a strong academic foundation for an enriched life capable of high service. In the primary grades, this means encouraging wonder and discovery while learning the academic foundations before the abstract principles. In the middle school grades, students read such thinkers and artists as Socrates, Plato, Thomas More, C.S. Lewis, Shakespeare, Aristotle, Flannery O’Connor, Faulkner and more. Seminar style classes are a mark of the middle school, giving the space and freedom to enjoy masterful works and wrestle with some of the profound ideas, mysteries, and questions that shape civilization and the human experience.
We strive to protect the joy of childhood and ensure that our students grow at the right pace. Naturally, most students will experience some of their first joys while attending school. Joys like the joy of a good friend, the joy of learning, the joy of forgiveness, the joy of the spiritual life, or the joy of accomplishing a difficult task. Therefore, we want our students to know that joy is a natural response to finding something that is good. We recognize that allowing students to play and learn in an environment where adults know and love them is vital for them to experience these joys. But this can only be done when there is a relationship built on trust between students, parents, and teachers. This dynamic of trust is vital for teachers to create classrooms where students feel free to discover themselves, to learn to recognize their strengths and weaknesses, to grow in intellect and faith, and to build confidence and know that they can do something well. As a result, when students experience pure joy, they are inspired to seek the source that enables them to be free and when they find this living and true source, they are not only free, but they encounter a friend, and learn how to spiritually fly.