The St. Anne’s-Belfield School Humanities Program reflects a belief that the most significant way to prepare students for the demands of an increasingly global and complex world lies in interdisciplinary study.
Consequently, the program integrates English, history, and religion into a program emphasizing inquiry in these disciplines as well as in art, architecture, and philosophy.
The program invites students to enter a conversation that has been ongoing for thousands of years and helps them understand that they are caretakers of a tradition that involves both understanding the past and preparing for the future. Humanities emphasizes the fundamental skills of reading, writing, analysis, interpretation, problem solving, collaboration, and persuasive communication as students interact with foundational “texts” in the broadest sense, works that include literature, history, art, architecture, philosophy, and the wisdom traditions.
Students become more informed, engaged, and empathetic citizens as they develop an understanding of and sensitivity to other cultures in this program. Such cultural empathy is increasingly needed in a world whose boundaries are continually shrinking. Students are further expected to develop habits of self-reflection that echo Ivan Ilych’s question in Tolstoy’s novella: “How should I then live?”
In a world whose pace of life can charitably be called “frenzied,” it is vital to slow down and to provide opportunities for students to be introspective—to allow them time to reflect on, make sense of, and synthesize their experiences.
The Humanities Program asks students to see the importance of cultivating their minds and nurturing their souls. As they explore a rich cultural canon of words and images, students should develop an appreciation for how the humanities can enrich and deepen their sense of themselves, their community, and their world.