There is often an old adage in education that most of us "old-timers" know as the three R's - Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic. We have been told for generations that if a school can produce students who are competent and capable in these three major content areas we will have, in essence, created a successful student and a contributing member of society. No one will argue that the three R's aren't a necessity. They should, without a doubt, be part of any school's core values and academic mission. However, research indicates that the three R's simply are not enough. There is a fourth R at play here - Relationships. This R is the foundation on which the three R's are built. It's not as assessable, measurable, or tangible as seeing a child read a passage fluently, fill a page with a well-researched opinion essay, or master multiplication facts; however, without well-developed relationships the foundation for academic learning crumbles.
There is a story that was recently published about a refugee camp in Syria where people chose to forego food, shelter, and other basic necessities to trade instead time with loved ones and their families. This is evidence alone that flips Maslow's hierarchy of needs on its head. Yes, life's basic necessities are a must for survival; however, human connection and relationships are the backbone to our survival.
At Cascades Academy, we are our students' foundation when it comes to relationships. We see this time and time again in and out of the four walls of our classrooms. Relationships form quickly and deeply in our programs such as 4th/5th Grade Opal Creek Leadership Orientation, K-3rd Grade Fall Outdoor School, in our FLIGHT teams, and during our Lower School Community Meetings. Yes, your children are very busy and engaged in learning the three R's, and they are just as engaged in learning the fourth: how to develop, maintain, nurture, and sustain meaningful relationships. We believe this fourth R is just as critical to the well-being and the raising of our children. Building strong relationships with teachers, peers, families, and mentors is an integral and intentional effort on our behalf, and one that the Cascades Academy lower school family is very proud of.
The Lower School Team