By mid-May, colleges have graduated, high schools are about to, but elementary schools are forging on! We hope with a song in their hearts. This month, when we spotlight the virtues of hope, wonder, and joy, we're introducing a new feature: the Poetry Page. We hope this new resource will be a source of hope, wonder, and joy for you and your students.
On the Core Virtues site, we're featuring classic poems that sing to the heart and celebrate the virtues. If your students learn them "by heart," they will be part of a long pedagogical tradition that will bear fruit in their lives and possibly in their hearts. Literary critic Brad Leithauser notes “memorized poems are a sort of larder, laid up against the hungers of an extended period of solitude.” Poems committed to memory can inspire (even save us) in moments of darkness or isolation (just ask Nelson Mandela or Joseph Brodsky, a dissident in the Gulag). But the treasures of memorized verse are not limited to political exiles. Poetry memorization allows students to internalize the quality language, cadence, rhyme, and rhythm that "lifts the veil from the hidden beauty of the world." They are a source of wonder.
The Core Virtues Foundation is working closely with Arizona-based Team CFA schools to develop a "core book list" for schools implementing the Core Virtues program for the first time. We'll feature it on our website in July! Team CFA is a national network of public charter schools that use the Core Knowledge program and are committed to the values of hard work, good citizenship, and teamwork. Team CFA will open Arizona-based Alexander Hamilton Community School (K-2) and Abraham Lincoln Preparatory School (K-2) in low-income areas next year.