PictureJessie Van Hecke, a graduate of Thomas Aquinas College and a Kindergarten and First Grade teacher at St. Augustine Academy in Ventura, California, credits her liberal education at Thomas Aquinas College with introducing her to classical views of education and the human person, and with giving her the ability to sort quickly through different educational theories. Plato’s idea that learning is recollection, while not simply true, helped her realize that teaching begins from the many ideas and experiences children have long before formal education begins. Aristotle, on the other hand, emphasized that all learning begins from the senses. “Today’s children are so removed from first-hand experience; they live second-hand through electronic media. As primary educators, we need to supply them with the experiences that their later education will build on. Abstract thought arises from connections that the young recognize among sense impressions they have received in their formative years.”

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