Time for Living History and Philosophy (Plus Videos)

“Each child’s life has a rhythm of its own in which he discovers his own time, a new time, precious and mysterious, in which he has the power to make each experience come alive for him. The words of Ecclesiastes 3, 1-8 help express the wonder of each person’s life as he lives each period of time in the rhythm of reality.”

This statement introduced the religious experience program, A Time for Living, written by teachers, artists, and parent consultants affiliated with Alverno College Elementary School in 1968. The program was developed as an outgrowth of the school’s historical philosophy of educating the whole child by giving prime consideration to developing moral and spiritual values, a positive self-image and an appreciation of the uniqueness of each person. As the school evolved into Woodlands School, the Time For Living program (TFL) evolved into the basis of our school culture.

The original program took Ecclesiastes 3, 1-8 (to everything there is a season...) as a framework for drawing meaning from the experiences and phases of a child’s life. The objective was to guide the child to “sense the validity of his experience and begin to recognize its religious dimension” (Huguelet, p. 13). The authors stated the importance of children experiencing life in a Christian community at home, in school, and in their neighborhoods. Adult leaders were urged to be aware of the interests and problems of the children in order to “lead the child to responsible freedom and fulfillment by stimulating his personal search for identity.”

Woodlands School’s philosophy and mission statements reiterate many of the concepts expressed in the original Time For Living program. The school is defined as a community of teachers, parents and children; students are encouraged to discover, explore and create; the importance of developing moral and spiritual values and a healthy self-concept is stressed. Diverging from the Christian theological focus of the original school, the value of a multi-cultural environment and involvement with people of many races and cultures is now part of the school philosophy and Diversity is one of our guiding principles.

In revising A Time for Living as a character education program, the TFL curriculum committee decided to honor the history and tradition of the school by retaining the Time For Living name, while focusing on universal ethical values that transcend religious or cultural differences. The objective of this program is, as stated in the school’s philosophy statement, “a happy, sensitive, creative child and an adult who, while intellectually free, is morally and socially responsible.”