The seeds of St. Michael's were sown in the early 1980's through the efforts of many dedicated individuals who wanted an educational methodology based on the traditional Christian understanding of the human soul. St. Michael's and a number of other Orthodox Christian schools are the fruit of these labors.
St. Michael's in Santa Rosa began in 1992 as a series of extension classes offered to home-schooled children. Two years later it developed into a full-time school with a complete curriculum. The teachers have worked together for over twenty years.
Our striving has always been to teach children in a way that not only provides the necessary information, but also contributes to their right formation. Therefore, our concern is both what is taught, and how it is taught. We aspire to teach in a manner that informs their minds, and most importantly, touches their souls and hearts.
The writings of St. Theophan the Recluse and St. John of Kronstadt have been very influential in the development of our pedagogy. We have also been inspired by such educators as Charlotte Mason for her emphasis on the use of narration and her insight that "there is no impression without an expression." In order to truly learn and remember, children need varied outward activities to express their understanding. For example, lessons would include activities such as painting or drawing pictures of their lesson, narration and recitation, and math games using manipulatives or physical movement.
The beauty and the fulness of Orthodox liturgical life is an ongoing inspiration. If the Church, in its liturgical life, teaches us through song, beauty and activity, should not an Orthodox school employ these same principles in the classroom?
Our goals are to inspire the children to love God and the Church, to develop a love for learning, an appreciation of beauty, both visual and literary, a love of labor, and a desire to work with others.
Through the years, we have developed curriculum materials consistent with these goals and have begun to offer them to others. Some of these materials are in our School Store, and we plan to add more as we are able.