You come into Cedar Classical Academy for the first time and many unique practices fill your first impressions. You notice our uniforms, the orderliness of the students’ boot mat, the friendly greetings of students when you enter a classroom. You say, “Wow! A school in a church!” (To see how the Lord orchestrates this weekly, click here). The most striking detail you inevitably notice is our hallways. Students walk in straight lines, but instead of the teacher saying, “Shhhh,” and “No talking in the halls,” you are more likely to hear a teacher say, “I can’t hear you!”
While transitioning to other classes, waiting for the bathrooms, or returning from recess, you hear classes reciting Scripture and poetry, chanting Latin endings, singing hymns and even belting out geography and grammar songs.
A question that naturally arises is “Why?” The answer has many facets. Singing, chanting, and reciting in the hallways serves us in many practical, fun, and (we do not believe it is hyperbolic to say) even eternally influential ways. Here are a few answers:
Built-in Review Time and Fewer Opportunities for Misbehavior
These are practical and fruitful, (yet secondary, as you will soon see) results of this good practice. Students are reviewing the geography songs they learned months ago, those pesky vowel sounds and those elusive Latin endings. Also, the students have clear expectations of participation, so there are naturally fewer opportunities for misbehavior. Chanting and singing is a developmentally appropriate expectation for students of all ages (and teachers!). We are not trying to make passionless cogs.
Stewarding Our Time Well
Luke 16:10 says, “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much.” School time is a privilege and it is precious, therefore we try to make the most of every minute. We owe it to our students’ parents to turn a profit on their investment and on the students’ time. Singing, chanting, and reciting in the hallways is an orderly, purposeful, and intentional way to spend what could get wasted as just “passing time.” We do not use the hallways as a way to create a vacuum of silence.
Building a Culture of Singing
In singing in the hallways, we are recovering an old-fashioned way of entertaining and teaching ourselves through song, story, and rhyme. This is jollification. We do this because it is fun! We want these students to revel in their humanity and in the instruments we carry with us all the time: our God-given voices! Nothing says “We are on mission together” quite like singing “In Christ Alone” in unison as we travel together to tackle the next subject of the day.
Burying the Word in Our Hearts.
Psalm 119:11 says, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” These recitations of Scripture and beautiful poetry are words we want the students to remember for a lifetime. They are verses we want these students to have embedded in their brains, written on their hearts, that they may use as ammunition against the enemy and the world who will inevitably try to corrupt and undermine the Truth.
Ah, you conclude your visit to Cedar with waves from joyful students, a solid refresher of the countries of Europe, and “A Mighty Fortress” stuck in your head for the rest of the day. Thanks for visiting, come back soon!