Education as Atmosphere

The bracing atmosphere of truth and sincerity should be perceived in every school; and here again the common pursuit of knowledge by teacher and class comes to our aid and creates a current of fresh air perceptible even to the chance visitor, who sees the glow of intellectual life and the moral health on the faces of teachers and children alike.

- Charlotte Mason

Ambleside teachers welcome students into an atmosphere of beauty and inspiration. Classroom furniture is the work of craftsmen. Natural light filters into the classroom. Children observe birds feeding outside classroom windows. Walls display old masters’ works, wise sayings, maps of faraway places, and nature objects the class gathered. 

At Ambleside students encounter the past and present, the awe and wonder of science and mathematics, the frailty and nobility of humankind, the ebb and flow of life, and the relationship between authority and obedience. And—free from the burden of competing for ranks, grades, or prizes—they learn for the joy of learning.

Ambleside students experience the guiding hand of a teacher who is both loving and firm. Teachers allow students to experience the natural consequences of their actions, and students experience the delight and the struggle of everyday life.

Ambleside teachers cultivate an atmosphere that nurtures:

  • joy and belonging.
  • relationships that include, rather than exclude.
  • culture that transcends fads.
  • pursuit of, and love for, knowledge.
  • wonder, as students relate to knowledge, others, and God.
  • delight in work and in the struggle to grow.
  • effort and enjoyment of effort’s fruit.
  • rigor, challenge, and an opportunity to meet mind to mind.
  • variety in work, conversation, and focus.