2018 Charlotte Mason Eastern Conference
June 13th - 16th, 2018
Roanoke College, Salem, VA
Parents and Teachers: Preparing Children to Live at Home, Community and Beyond
Keynote Speakers for 2018
Dr. Jack Beckman and Storm Hutchinson
Dr. Jack Beckman
If Charlotte Mason (1841/42-1923) was right, then education is indeed a life as I have spent the last 41 years under the regulus and patterns of teaching and learning - initially as an Early Childhood educator in the classroom, then as an educational leader, and finally as Professor of Elementary Education at Covenant College. Each of these contexts has allowed me the privilege of working with students, teachers, and parents on a variety of levels involving instructional pedagogy, curriculum development, and teacher professional learning.
My present work at Covenant College is both challenging and fulfilling. Over the past fourteen years I have moved to the other side of the teacher's desk in my work with preservice elementary teachers. From freshman year Christian Mind through senior Fall Block and student teaching, I witness the progression of growth in their identity from students to full instructional practitioners ready for the classroom. It is thrilling to hear stories of how God is using their gifts and talents in His kingdom work. These dedicated teachers are His "faithful presence" in a world filled with many diverse needs. One of the delights of my work is teaching a course to our undergraduates (and the wider community as well) on the life, philosophy, and work of Charlotte Mason. As far as I know, Covenant College is the only higher education institution to offer such a course for college credit.
Beckman Plenary I: The Child’s Estate – “Except ye become as little children…”
Charlotte Mason constructed her living philosophy upon a captain idea – the personhood of the child. Upon this foundation she built a solid framework of books and curriculum that guide us to this very day. Particularly in Home Education, we see her vision for the young child under the age of six or seven. She writes, “…the chief function of the child… is to find out all he can, about whatever comes under his notice, by means of his five senses (HE, p. 96). If this is the vision, then what is the context? In Home Education Mason works towards describing for us the homeishness of the young child’s estate while latterly visiting the schoolishness of the formal education of the older child. In our time together, we will interpret the estate of the young child through several lenses – the Holy Scriptures, Mason’s writings, and other likeminded thinkers who help us understand these unique creatures made in God’s image. My hope is that we can excavate the rich and generative ideas of kinderleben (the child’s life) as they apply to the child under six.
Much has happened in my field of early childhood education in the ensuing years since Mason’s death; some of which is enlightening to our understanding of the development of young children. My thoughts in interpreting Mason are that fidelity to her principles is paramount, and that we can indeed find fellow travelers along the way who can help us as we proceed with the times and construct a more accurate view of the young learner. Much has also happened in my personal and professional life in the last years – 42 years of marriage and grandchildren (three), a commitment to understanding texts and writings (including Mason) from more complex frameworks such as reader response and perspectival hermeneutics, and literacy work through my community library with under resourced families.
Since 2001, Storm has been a part of three Charlotte Mason Schools serving in many roles. He has been a teacher, a school board member, a volunteer serving on Administrative Committees and a founder of two Mason Schools. Currently he serves as an Instructional Coach helping teachers build classroom community and repair harm when it occurs at Gillingham Charter, a K-12 Charlotte Mason Public School located in Pottsville, PA. He and his wife Nicolle led the team that started the school in 2011. Storm is also a graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary and a Free Methodist Pastor. He and Nicolle planted a church in 2012 which incorporates Mason’s principles into church life.
Hutchinson Plenary I : Atmosphere and Relationships: How to Shape Atmosphere by Building a Strong Student Community
Student relationships have a significant impact on Atmosphere. As we work in a broken world full of broken relationships, how do we create habits of healthy relationships for our students? By building a strong student community we shape the will and mind of both students and teachers so that they are focused on strengthening and repairing relationships in the classroom and across the school community. The focus is also on how we prevent problems from occurring in the first place and what we need to do to ensure that practice and policy support this effort. These practices have been implemented in families, in schools, across school districts, in churches, and even throughout an entire town with dramatic results for over 30 years.
Information and registration will be available later in February 2018.