Leading students to reverence truth, desire goodness, and rejoice in beauty.
From the Director's Desk

By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. (Proverbs 24:3-4)

Dear parents and supporters of St. Timothy’s,

In some ways the world is at our fingertips. With almost instant access to almost any information, one might imagine that humanity might be wiser than in any previous age. 

It is difficult to discern with accuracy what effects this new digital age and our changing habits of reading will have on our society. As the majority of adult and teenage reading now occurs on screens, it has been shown that the way we read is changing. What seems to be apparent is that we are much more distracted. We are more likely to skim read in an attempt to glean some of the vast stores of knowledge that are at our fingertips. We struggle to read long and complex passages where the meaning is more subtle. We struggle to read deeply.

What is ‘deep reading’? There are two aspects which have been described by neuroscientists: firstly, material is comprehended, analogies are discovered, previous experiences are drawn on, and connections are made (understanding); and secondly, there is the deeper contemplative type of thinking that is stirred, where inferences are made, ideas tempered, creativity is sparked, and potentially a Godly prayerfulness is inspired (wisdom). 

This type of reading was touched on by Andrew Pudewa, from the Institute of Excellence in Writing, in his recent talk to our parents (see below). Often, even avid young readers will skim read, and sometimes it takes an adult reading with or to them to teach these deep reading skills. This type of reading happens each week at St. Timothy’s, when our teachers take the time to engage in end-of-the-day books, or discuss and read great books with their classes. Our teachers train each student's attention, slowing the child’s mind to encourage comprehension, logical thought, and then moving from there, the beginnings of wisdom. It is also something that many parents or grandparents do very naturally with their children, and shared books or scripture become an integral part of their relationships.

This kind of deep reading allows us to put ourselves into the shoes of those we are reading about, encouraging empathy and compassion for those who are outside our day-to-day experience. It allows us to experience the feelings of loss, pain, love, or hate, in the safety of our armchair, and stirs up the beginnings of a prayerful desire for what is good, true, and beautiful.

When writing first became more commonplace in the Greek era, Socrates was concerned:

"….for this discovery of yours will create forgetfulness in the learners' souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves. The specific which you have discovered is an aid not to memory, but to reminiscence, and you give your disciples not truth, but only the semblance of truth; they will be hearers of many things and will have learned nothing; they will appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing; they will be tiresome company, having the show of wisdom without the reality."

I wonder what this great thinker would say regarding the internet. Our stores of knowledge are so great, yet we no longer internalize or contemplate much of what we read. I would attest that classical education directly counters this trend. We do expect students to learn, to memorize, to begin to contemplate, and to make connections with their own personal storehouses of knowledge. We want their rooms “filled with rare and beautiful treasures”, and their houses built and established solidly on Godly wisdom and understanding.

My prayer is that the aforementioned words from Proverbs would be fulfilled in our school and community, as we work together to raise up the next generation. Thank you for your partnership in this.

In Christ,


Scripture Memory Work

Proverbs 3:1-6 (NKJV)

My son, do not forget my law,
But let your heart keep my commands;
For length of days and long life
And peace they will add to you.

Let not mercy and truth forsake you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart,
And so find favour and high esteem
In the sight of God and man.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.


Virtue of the Month


Justice is giving each person his or her due. St. Augustine said that the task of justice is "to see that each is given what belongs to each."

Justice is recognizing what we owe to another another. Justice is fairness. It is the fair treatment of each person.

"You must be fair in judgment. You must not show special favour to the poor. And you must not show special favour to important people. You must be fair when you judge your neighbour."
- Leviticus 19:15 -

"Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the right of widows."
- Isaiah 1:17 -


Upcoming Events


An evening in support of St. Timothy's Classical Academy. All money raised will help us to continue providing a quality and affordable classical education to Christian families in Ottawa. 

AUCTION: We have some amazing items up for grabs, including museum passes, handcrafted items, golf lessons, original art, and a night at a hotel with access to the spa. Here is a detailed list of items.

SPEAKER: We are excited to have Kirsten Appleyard, curator at the National Art Gallery, give our keynote address. She is passionate about truth, beauty, and goodness in art.

ENTERTAINMENT: The program for the evening includes a variety of dramatic and musical talent from our St. Timothy's extended community, guaranteed to keep you laughing, entertained, and inspired. Special highlights include performances by professional musicians, including violinists from the NAC Orchestra, and renowned organist Leora Nauta, who will be performing on a portativ. The dance floor will open following the formal program.
Email or speak to one of our school staff or parents. Ticket prices:
- Regular: $100 (non-benefit portion will receive a tax receipt)
- Student (18+): $50

6:00PM (doors open at 5:00PM for silent auction viewing)
Tudor Hall, 3750 N Bowesville Rd (Riverside and Hunt Club)

DONATE: Unable to attend? We appreciate any donation towards the evening. You can support us here.

A letter from our Board Chair, Victoria Miles:

On November 9 we’ll be hosting our annual fundraising gala – Starry Night.
Do you have your tickets yet?

Starry Night is your annual opportunity to join us in celebrating all that is praiseworthy about St. Timothy’s. But more than an elegant evening, it’s your chance to help us secure the future of the school, and continue to offer an affordable classical Christian education for children. At our core and in our vision is a commitment to families, and so funds raised through our gala are used in support of tuition assistance and ensuring our school is accessible to all who choose St. Timothy's.

Daily, we are leading students toward reverencing truth, desiring goodness, and rejoicing in beauty. The outworking of these fundamentals - particularly beauty - is demonstrated most significantly in our commitment to introducing children to music, art, and literature that glorifies our Creator. This counter-cultural distinctive sets us apart and is at the heart of classical tradition because it develops character and feeds the soul of our children. 

The themes of truth, beauty, and goodness will be woven throughout the evening with inspiring music, dramatic performances, and a featured guest who will bring an encouraging message. 

Are you looking to purchase tickets? A table? Are you interested in sponsoring or contributing a unique item for our popular silent auction, or looking to make a donation? Contact or

Thanks be to God who is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine. To Him be the Glory in all of our efforts.

One Myth and Two Truths:
Nurturing Competent Communicators
Illustration by Shirley Hughes
Our staff enjoyed a two-day writing seminar with Andrew at the end of the summer. In addition, he gave a special presentation to parents to give them the keys to raising competent communicators. Here are his key points:

by Andrew Pudewa

“Good readers will become good writers!” A mantra frequently heard in the lecture halls of academia, echoing along the corridors of junior high schools, and boldly preached from the homeschool conference lectern, most often out of the mouths of the more wizened and experienced parents and educators, this statement strives to be a truism. But it cannot be such, because it isn’t true. At least not always. Certainly, it does happen that good readers can become good writers, but to extrapolate from that fact that good readers will automatically, naturally, and inevitably become good writers is to warp a truth into an untruth, which when preached long and hard, becomes—if you will—a myth, an unfounded belief.

Further damage is done when this error becomes a basis for a teaching methodology. If encouraging children to read a great deal—combined with opportunity to write creatively—becomes the primary method of instruction in composition, few students will reach the level of success hoped for, and many will fall short of their need. How do we know this truism to be a myth? Look around. In any family, classroom, or group of kids, count the number of “good” readers; now check the percentage and see how many can be considered “good” writers. Half? One-quarter? Not a majority, for sure. Undoubtedly, the “good” writers in the group are likely to also be “good” readers, but why does one not follow from the other as we have been told? How do we understand and deal with the good reader/poor writer enigma? An astute teacher must ask these questions.

"By definition, competent writers are able to use language properly and effectively."

First of all, let us consider the definition of a “good” writer. Competence in composition should mean being able to communicate ideas in understandable, reliably correct, appropriately sophisticated language patterns. Brilliance, creativity, and originality are nice ideals, but exist far above and beyond “competence.” Competence means having baseline skills necessary for success in the academic, business, or professional world. Greatly lacking nationwide, competence must now—more than ever before—be the primary goal for teacher and parent. By definition, competent writers are able to use language properly and effectively.

One simple and immutable fact about the human brain is that you can’t get something out of it that isn’t there to start with. Supernatural inspiration notwithstanding, human beings in general—and children in particular—really can’t produce thoughts or concepts that they haven’t first experienced and stored. In other words, we cannot think a thought we don’t have to begin with. Even the most unique, creative, and extraordinary ideas can only exist as a combination and permutation of previously learned bits of information. What does this mean for the writing teacher who desires to nurture competence? If what we need is a student who is able to produce “understandable, reliably correct, and appropriately sophisticated language patterns,” then what we must put into the brain are those same reliably correct and sophisticated language patterns. Ah, then reading should do it, right?

Not always. In fact, it’s an interesting observation, but many children who become early readers, independent readers—good readers, often do not store complete and correct language patterns in their brains. Good readers read quickly, silently, and aggressively. They don’t audiate (hear internally) each word or even complete sentences. Generally, comprehension increases with speed, but speed decreases language pattern audiation because good readers will skip words, phrases, and even complete sections of books that might hold them back. And to the extent that children don’t hear—frequently—a multitude of complete, reliably correct, and sophisticated language patterns, such patterns are not going to be effectively stored in their brains.

So, what activity will allow children to store these complete, reliably correct, and sophisticated language patterns in their brains? Probably the two most important but least practiced of all “school” activities are: listening (being read to out loud) and memorization. These two are perhaps the most traditional of all language acquisition activities, and yet in our modern educational culture, they have become the orphan children of the progressive parents of psychology and pedagogy.

"And to the extent that children don't hear - frequently - a multitude of complete, reliably correct, and sophisticated language patterns, such patterns are not going to be effectively stored in their brains."

One of the biggest mistakes we make as parents and teachers is to stop reading out loud to our children when they reach the age of reading faster independently. In doing so, not only do we deprive them of the opportunity to hear these all-important reliably correct and sophisticated language patterns, we lose the chance to read to them above their level, stretching and expanding their vocabulary, interests, and understanding. We begin to lose the chance to discuss words and their nuance, idioms, cultural expressions, and historical connotations. And they lose something far more valuable than even the linguistic enrichment that oral reading provides: they lose the opportunity to develop attentiveness, the chance to experience the dramatic feeling that a good reader can inject, and even the habit of asking questions about what they’ve heard. Tragically, because of our hectic, entertainment-saturated, individualistic, test-obsessed, and overscheduled lives, few of us take sufficient time to read out loud to our students, even into their early teens—a sensitive period when understanding of language and understanding of life are woven together and sealed into the intellect.

Because linguistic information is best stored in the brain auditorily, children who have had read to them reliably correct and sophisticated language patterns for many years are much more likely to develop competence in written (and verbal) communication skills. However, there is another not-so-secret weapon in the sagacious teacher’s arsenal: memorized poetry.

There is perhaps no greater tool than memorization to seal language patterns into a human brain, and there is perhaps nothing more effective than poetry to provide exactly what we want: reliably correct and sophisticated language patterns. Although rote memorization and recitation went out of vogue when the great god of Creativity began to dominate ideology in the schools of education, it has stood for centuries, even millennia, as the most powerful way to teach, to learn, to develop skills, and to preserve knowledge. By memorizing and reciting, you practically fuse neurons into permanent language storage patterns. Those patterns are then ready to be used, combined, adapted, and applied to express ideas in a myriad of ways. Additionally, because of the nature of poetry, poets are often compelled to stretch our vocabulary, utilizing words and expressions in uniquely sophisticated—but almost always correct—language patterns. A child with a rich repertoire of memorized poetry will inevitably demonstrate superior linguistic skills, both written and spoken, because of those patterns which are so deeply ingrained in the brain.

What’s even more gratifying, however, is that children love to recite poems they have learned. Seeds of creativity are planted. Language emerges. Poems give words wings. And, if you do have your students memorize a poem, don’t ever let them forget it! Say it once a day, or once a week, or once a month—whatever is necessary—to make it a permanently stored piece of art. Start with the funny ones; move on to the dramatic. Start short; gradually lengthen. Have fun and be proud of their accomplishments. If you can do that, the drudgery of “rote” learning will disappear, and a great joy of language will emerge.

"By memorizing and reciting, you practically fuse neurons into permanent language storage patterns."

So then, the one myth is that good readers will automatically become good writers. Not true. Many things about writing can be taught directly, but two timeless truths—the two most powerful ways to nurture competent writers—are that we must read to them, out loud, a lot, even when they could read it themselves; and have them memorize great gobs of poetry, thus storing in their brain for life a glorious critical mass of reliably correct and appropriately sophisticated language patterns.


© 2008, Institute for Excellence in Writing, L.L.C. Reprinted with permission.

Recent News
Our SK - grade 2s have had a wonderful start to the year. Our grades 1/2 class eagerly anticipate their end-of-the-day book each day; the SKs and grade 1s enjoyed a lovely field trip to the farm of a school family where there was an abundance of moss to admire and lay down on; and there has been much enjoyment in playing with our "loose parts" collection of simple and mostly natural items that encourage free and creative play in the schoolyard.
We've had a physically active Fall, participating in both a soccer festival with Maryvale Academy and a cross country run with Ambassadors Christian School. Several of our students went on to participate in the city-wide cross country, and enjoyed and did well in that competitive environment.
Learning happens in many places at St. Timothy's. While much of it is inside the school, we make the effort to expand our classroom walls when we can. On the left we have our grades 3/4 class visiting the Museum of History and doing a workshop entitled "An Ancient Bond with the Land". On the right our grades 7/8 class is participating in an Eratosthenes experiment. This experiment can only be performed around the autumn equinox and demonstrates how to calculate the earth’s circumference. Some students in the class did the measuring and calculations on Wednesday, September 26, during the solar noon and then collaborated with a school in Columbia to get a measurement of 37 900 km (Actual: 40 075km). Well done!
The front entrance of our school was given a major overhaul this Fall! A lovely path for the kids to walk through, surrounded by beautiful shrubs and flowers, was designed by one of our staff, Christine Edmonds, who also runs her own landscaping business. The little deck was constructed by students from Redeemer Christian High School under the direction of their teacher - and a St. Tim's parent - Dan Kaiser, who also built the exquisite bench. We look forward to seeing our students contentedly sitting on it and reading when they need a break from all of the active outdoor play! We are especially grateful to Mrs. Adriana Johanna Dekker, great-grandmother to a couple of our students, whose generous donation to the school covered the cost of this project.
Each year our Gatineau hike does not cease to amaze in terms of friendships formed and renewed, and the beauty of God's creation enjoyed. "All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small, All things wise and wonderful: The Lord God made them all."
"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things."
Philippians 4:8
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