The Episcopal experience is framed by the understanding that spiritual growth is an essential part of human growth.
In keeping with the tradition of the Episcopal Church, we require our students to think critically, explore their individual faiths, learn by questioning, and accept that knowledge of the world and spiritual development are eternally intertwined.
Guided by the life and ministry of Jesus, we respect the dignity of every human being. As a school in the Episcopal tradition, we welcome students, faculty, and staff from all faith traditions. There is a richness that comes from a community which is inclusive, accepting, and receptive of a wide breadth of faith traditions and other differences. At ESJ, like all other Christian communities, it is all about relationships – our relationship with God and our relationship with others. As we focus on our relationship with God and with others, we gather together each week for Chapel. Worship is inclusive and creative in the Episcopal tradition. As we center our hearts and minds on God, we are better able to serve others in our own communities as well as in the greater world around us.
Christian and character education are a vital part of the spiritual life on the Lower School campuses, tying directly to the school’s mission of reflecting God's love and our baptismal covenant: respect the dignity of every human being. Students in Pre-K through fifth grade attend traditional and contemporary Chapel services. Beaches Campus students attend Chapel at St. Paul’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church and St. Mark’s Campus students attend Chapel at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. Both churches are located adjacent to the school campuses. Lower School students participate in Chapel services through liturgical readings, prayer, song, performances, and by serving as acolytes.
At the Lower School Campuses, Christian/Character Education starts in the classrooms, helping students develop skills to maintain good relationships with parents, peers, teachers, and members of the community. The curriculum presents concepts related to the Biblical and historical doctrines of the Christian faith, as well as fosters a respect for the various traditions of other denominations and faiths. Chapel services, classroom instruction, daily devotions, prayer, scripture memory, and the discussion and teaching of Biblical values help students develop an understanding of God’s love.
On our Lower School campuses, service learning opportunities abound! Service activities in each grade level engage students, enhance curriculum, affirm character values, and build relationships with each other and the community. Service learning experiences are appropriate to students’ ages and developmental abilities, deepening their knowledge and connecting the campus community to real-world issues and needs.
Specific service projects may look different each school year as we respond to real-time needs in our community and the world. These service opportunities include responding to natural disasters and other crises around the world. Students respond with empathy to those in challenging occupations and situations. Examples of this response often include creating cards for our military men and women serving away from home and writing letters of thanks to our first responders and other front-line workers. Students and families respond with compassion and kindness through clothing and toy drives as well as stocking local food pantries.