First thing every morning, the entire RCA student body gathers to do four things: pray, say the Pledge of Allegiance, recite a list of habits, and sing our Hymn of the Month. By placing this gathering time at the beginning of the school day, we aim to set up the students for success in the hours that follow. The sequence of events in Morning Meeting is structured so that we first dedicate the day that follows to God, give thanks for the country in which we live, remind students and ourselves of ways they can prefer others with their words and deeds, and glorify the Lord through the instruments God gives us, our voices. We are especially glad when parents and grandparents join the Morning Meeting because it highlights our belief that RCA is an extension of the home.
As a Christian institution, we start our day with a prayer to direct every thought, word, and deed from the students and teachers to the glory of God. The prayer can be led by teachers or students.
Following the prayer, we recite the Pledge of Allegiance, which recognizes our gratitude to our country under God, and its protection of the many freedoms we enjoy. Students who are not Americans are welcome to remain quiet during this time.
We believe God gifts children with a great love of repetition. Knowing this, we want to “cut with the grain” and use this gift to install good habits that will serve them now and throughout their lives. To that end, the Habits section of Morning Meeting is divided into two sections: a series of short call-and-response phrases which we call Protocol, and a longer Habit of the Month.
For our Protocol section, the leader says the first word or two from a phrase and the students respond with the remaining words. Examples include:
Speak… respectfully, graciously, and clearly.
Cover… your coughs, sneezes and yawns.
Hustle… to help out.
Obey… right away, all the way!
Rejoice… in all circumstances.
Pray… without ceasing.
These phrases are repeated throughout the school day as a reminder to the students of how they can love others with their everyday behavior. Our parents learn these phrases too and enjoy using them at home.
In addition to the call-and-response habits above, we have a Habit of the Month which we introduce, unpack, practice, and attend to throughout each month. Examples include:
- When I wish to speak, I will quietly raise my hand and wait to be called on.
- When an adult addresses me, I will look at them and respond.
- When someone gives me something, I will say thank you!
- When I work, I will do my best, even when no one is watching.
The final section of Morning Meeting is a time when everyone sings one or more verses from our Hymn of the Month. The great hymns of the church contain beautiful poetry, profound statements of truth, and tuneful melodies. Because these hymns have withstood the test of time and are widely known across a variety of Christian traditions, singing them perpetuates a God-glorifying culture that spans time and place. Our monthly hymns include:
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
Great Is Thy Faithfulness
Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
Be Thou My Vision
The Church’s One Foundation
For the Beauty of the Earth
Before they sing the hymn, students practice correct posture, using their singing voices, maintaining tempo, watching the conductor, and singing melodic patterns using *solfege syllables. These “musician best practices” reinforce the music instruction the students receive throughout the week in their classrooms.
*Solfege, also called solfeggio, is a system for teaching students how to read music that dates back to the eleventh century Italy and is used throughout the world today. What could be more classical!