Formation and Spirituality in the Ateneo de Davao Grade School
Aligned with the Ateneo de Davao University’s Vision of “a community engaged in excellent instruction and formation, robust research, and vibrant community service,” the Grade School observes the following Guiding Principles of an Integral Formation:
We foster the full development of human person, in all dimensions and stages, towards the actualization of the person’s potentials and full freedom capacitating him/her through instruction and formation, anchored in Ignatian spirituality and the mission of the Society of Jesus, to be sensitive, discerning, and responsive to the will of God and the needs of others — persons, environment, society, and the Church — and by so doing, to ultimately glorify God. (Strategic Plan 2015-2020, p.18)
To provide the grade school pupils an integral formation, the school has to:
- Know its Identity and Focus;
- Provide a comprehensive and integral formation program for Administrators, Faculty & Staff;
- Include Parents and Guardians’ Formation; and
- Provide a comprehensive and integral Pupils’ Formation.
Identity and Focus
A Catholic School
The Ateneo de Davao University Grade School brings pupils to Christ, who is the Heart of the Church. It strives to cooperate with the Divine Grace in the formation of young Christian boys and girls committed to seek the truth about God, man, and nature. It aims to develop in the pupils the following values:
1. Tireless commitment to search for truth in all disciplines leading to the ultimate truth, Jesus Christ;
2. Clear understanding of the importance of the integration of Christian doctrine, moral, and prayer life;
3. Respect for the diversity of faiths;
4. Desire to constantly love and serve the Lord.
A Jesuit School
The Grade School helps its pupils experience the Ignatian way of living and share in the mission of the Society of Jesus according to their level of maturity. It aims to develop in the pupils the following values:
1. Humanistic habit of mind that includes critical thinking;
2. Excellent personal, social, and communication skills;
3. Sensitivity to cultures and faiths — one’s own and others;
4. Ability to reflect and make sound judgments and the will to take action;
5. Leadership ability in various human undertakings as a form of commitment and service to God and others;
6. Strength and passion to promote faith that does justice.
A Filipino School
The Grade School supports the continuing development of the country towards providing a better quality of life for Filipinos. It aims to develop in the pupils the following values:
1. Understanding and appreciation of their Filipino identity, values, and culture;
2. Sensitivity to the culture of the Muslims and the lumads (indigenous peoples) in Mindanao;
3. Deeper commitment, loyalty, and love for one’s country;
4. Appreciation of, and commitment to protect and preserve, the country’s products, natural resources,
historical places, and tourist spots;
5. Leadership spirit in the service of Philippine society especially in Mindanao;
6. Understanding of the concept of peace manifested through words and deeds;
7. Understanding of the truth that the creation of wealth and its equitable distribution is an
imperative to achieve social justice;
8. Growing awareness of global challenges and issues in relation to the Philippine context.
Formation Program for Administrators, Faculty & Staff
- The Formation Program for Administrators, Faculty, and Staff appropriates the Vision and Mission of the university. It also addresses the Key Result Areas laid out by the university, and acknowledges the shared responsibility of the administrators, faculty, and staff in forming and producing Sui Generis Leaders.
- Providing an integral formation for administrators, faculty, and staff affirms the need for continuing education and continuing personal development — especially in professional competence, pedagogical techniques, and spiritual formation.
- Fulfilling the University Vision and Mission relies so much on the quality of the administrators, faculty, and staff chosen to join the community. It is the school’s aspiration that the men and women regarded as teachers and formators are capable of understanding its distinctive nature and of contributing to the implementation of characteristics that result from the Ignatian vision.
- There are four components needed to develop an integral formation of the faculty and staff. They are: Human (Personal Formation); Social Formation (Mission Spirituality); Spiritual and Institutional (Ignatian Formation); and Professional.
Parents and Guardians’ Formation
- Teachers in a Jesuit school cooperate closely with parents, who are also members of the educational community. There is frequent communication. Parents are offered support and opportunities for growth in exercising their role as parents, and they are also offered opportunities to participate in advisory councils. In these and other ways, parents are helped to fulfill their right and responsibility as educators in the home and family, and they in turn contribute to the work of education going on in the school. (131) As far as possible, parents understand, value, and accept the Ignatian world view that characterizes the Jesuit school. The school provides opportunities by which parents can become more familiar with this worldview and its applications to education. (132)
- The school provides Spiritual Formation to parents and guardians like they are included in the school’s daily masses and other liturgies. Formation sessions are made available to them, namely: Orientation on the school’s Vision, Mission, and Goals; Grade School Focus and Identity and their role as the school’s partner in the Formation of their children; Recollection to understand the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist in preparation for the First Communion of their children; and Catechesis on the Sacrament of Confirmation in preparation for the Confirmation of their children.
- There is consistency between the values promoted in the school and those promoted in the home. At the time their children first enrol in the school, parents are informed about the commitment of Jesuit education to a faith that does justice. Programmes of ongoing formation are available to parents so that they can understand this aim better and be strengthened in their own commitment to it. (133)
Reference: The Characteristics of Jesuit Education, abridged
The Grade School’s goal is to “lay solid foundations” and equip the pupils with basic tools of knowledge, understanding, skills, habits, attitudes and values which are immediately needed to adapt to the challenges of the Junior and Senior High Schools, and eventually to Higher Education as well as the professional life. Specifically, the school seeks to develop these skills and values in the pupils:
- Fundamental skills of literacy and numeracy
- Character formation, aesthetic appreciation, physical and mental health, a scientific outlook and correct attitude towards work and personal effort
- Independent study and work habits and a wise appreciation of the triple relationship among himself/herself, his/her fellowmen, and God.
Along with those developments, the Grade School emphasizes the formation of its pupils to grow into becoming “Sui Generis Leaders”, which is a kind of leadership solely identified and branded for graduates of Ateneo de Davao University. This brand of leadership is developed from the pupils’ comprehensive formation grounded on Ignatian Spirituality, particularly promoting social justice and the ongoing commitment to the common good.
Moreover, the grade school prepares its pupils to become Sui Generis Leaders who would eventually serve the Church and society by developing what is called the Five C’s. These C’s are values taken from the Characteristics of Jesuit Education. From these characteristics, the Grade School envisions its pupils to become:
CHRIST-CENTERED INDIVIDUALS WHO
1. Show God’s love and concern for others
2. Act according to Christian beliefs, values and practices
3. Respect other religious beliefs and values
4. Realize the need for prayer and growth in faith
COMMITTED FILIPINOS WHO
1. Take pride in Filipino identity
2. Know and defend his/her own rights and those of others
3. Patronize the country’s products
4. Respect the culture of the Muslims and the indigenous peoples in Mindanao
CONCERNED INDIVIDUALS WITH CONSCIENCE WHO
1. Are person-oriented, sensitive to the needs of the poor and willing to serve for the common good
2. Take part in the protection and preservation of the country’s natural resources
3. Are aware of major issues affecting Mindanao, the nation and the world
4. Support advocacies promoting social justice, integrity, good governance, gender equality, and peace
COMPETENT LEARNERS WHO
1. Are equipped with basic knowledge, skills, values and attitudes needed to manage life situations
2. Are creative and analytical
3. Take options and makes decisions
4. Use Filipino and English in oral and written communication effectively
5. Are open to growth
6. Are self-confident, disciplined and self-reliant
COMPASSIONATE PUPILS WHO
1. Share talents, time and material goods with others
2. Treat others with love and respect
3. Are humble, sincere, kind and friendly in dealing with others
All these values are embedded and integrated in the instruction, co-curricular programs, and other forms of formation provided to the pupils.
In addition, the Grade School embraces inclusivity. It welcomes pupils from all faiths and cultures. Part of the Formation programs provided for the pupils is the development of sensitivity to differences in religion and culture. The school provides separate Prayer Workshops and Prayer Services to empower and enable non-Catholic pupils to celebrate collectively their own particular faiths at the same time that the Catholic pupils gather for community Masses. Modules for Formation Growth Sessions are created to ensure respect for diversity.