When I first planned a trip to Disney World for my children, I imagined what it would be like for them to see Epcot Center for the first time. The ability to interact with microcosms of so many of the world’s cultures at once would be an amazing educational adventure for them.
The day finally came, and I was certainly amazed by the exchange of information — but not in the direction I had expected! As we walked around the Chinese-themed area of the park, my 9-year old son began sharing an endless stream of facts about the country! Andrew told us about China’s geography, its customs, and its art style. How was it that a 4th grader could single-handedly teach me and the rest of my family so much about a place he’s never visited?
As a teacher and parent at Holy Trinity School, I know that nothing my children learned there was acquired single-handedly. Instead, it’s the teamwork and coordination shared among Holy Trinity’s teachers — and extended to our family — that has made a special kind of learning possible for my boys.
I learned that when one of Andrew’s teachers sought to incorporate Chinese culture into her lesson plans, she worked with other teachers to do the same. As a result, Andrew was learning about a new culture and perspective in his general studies classes, but also in his art and computer science classes, too. It made his lessons more cohesive, and ultimately easier and more engaging to remember.
The close-knit environment extends to the children themselves, too. Holy Trinity is by no means a large school, meaning every student knows every other student — even when it comes to older and younger kids. Older children look out for the smaller kids, and look for opportunities to welcome and help them, even outside of school. It’s always heartwarming to see my children greeted by a child you’d never expect them to even know while at the park or the local pool.
The families, faculty, and community around Holy Trinity is simply just engaged in education together. We talk and share ideas on the school’s Facebook page. We kick off each year with an incredible party; and we work together to instill values and morals of empathy and compassion into our children — a big part of why I chose Holy Trinity to start with.
Case in point: my children are asked to think of family and community outside of just ourselves and our school. They fundraise to support an Ecuadorian child through an adoption program the school takes part in. They’ve taken part in school-wide events that incite humility and raise money for hurricane relief in Puerto Rico. The children and staff all work together to make incredible things happen for those in need, and in doing so, they also expand the definition of what their community is — how interconnected we all really are.
It’s a crazy world out there sometimes. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in your own worries and self-indulgences; it’s easy to feel alone. But with Holy Trinity, I can be part of a team, both as a mother and a teacher. I’m working together with other educators and parents to teach a new generation of kids what it means to understand and look out for one another. It’s a universal lesson that will take them far!
Olivia Haney lives in Yardley, PA with her husband Andrew and their three children. Her sons Andrew, Patrick, and Collin attend Holy Trinity School.