Building upon their work in earlier grades, Covenant Christian School’s sixth grade students have unique opportunities to apply what they have learned through the Gateway Experience.
The Gateway Experience provides a greater infusion of integrated, hands on experiences as a part of the learning process. These differentiated experiences provide students with a deeper understanding of the material while building excitement for the learning process and confidence in their own abilities.
The Meaning of Gateway
The St. Louis region is known throughout the world as the Gateway to the West. Traditionally, and in this context, the word Gateway has referred to the movement through St. Louis of early explorers such as Lewis and Clark as well as pioneers to the western United States. St. Louis, while distinctive in its own right, was a place for explorers and pioneers to pause and ready themselves for what was next.
Our sixth grade students are in the midst of tremendous change and are entering their own personal gateway; they are readying themselves for what is next. Sixth grade students are becoming increasingly abstract in their thinking while still requiring the concrete to make appropriate connections. They are ready for more freedom and responsibility and are ready to better understand the world in context. Sixth grade students desire experience over simple head knowledge.
Covenant’s Gateway Experience combines these two meanings. Students explore the St. Louis region and its resources while gaining a greater understanding of St. Louis as the Gateway to the West. Our students move through their personal gateways during this year, gaining a greater understanding of who they are and how God is calling them.
Applying the Gateway Experience
Covenant Christian School develops the whole child in a Christ-centered, grace-filled and academically excellent environment. Throughout their time at Covenant students come to know Christ more deeply while gaining a greater understanding of who they are and how God has personally gifted them. In this context children are nurtured in an atmosphere of patience, humility, forgiveness and Christ-like love while developing personal masteries that will serve them for a lifetime. These masteries include self-discipline, empathy, integrity, resilience, courage and a willingness to challenge themselves.
Throughout their sixth grade year, Covenant students not only spend time in the classroom but apply what they are learning through practical experience. Experiential activities are planned and purposefully integrated throughout the sixth grade curriculum. Students have opportunities to learn with both their heads and hands. While doing so, Covenant seeks to address 21st century skills (communication, collaboration, confidence, critical thinking, creativity and character) as an important aspect of the learning process.
Through the provision of these real world opportunities, students grow in their understanding of their gifts and interests. Some of these gifts are recognizable in a traditional academic setting and are nurtured at Covenant Christian School. Some student gifts must be given specific occasions to flourish. Expanded experiential opportunities nurture a wide variety of gifts leading all students to know themselves and God better.
During the Gateway Experience, Covenant students integrate classroom learning with expanded real world opportunities to develop leadership skills, to problem-solve, to serve, to communicate effectively and to apply appropriate technology in a variety of settings. They exercise these opportunities both as individuals and as a member of a team. Students partner with local businesses and not-for-profits, participate in experiential field trips and fully engage Covenant’s outdoor classroom.