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Spiritual Development and Parenting

Spiritual Development and Parenting: Climbing the Ladder to Christ

Ascend, my brothers, ascend eagerly. Let your hearts’ resolve be to climb. Listen to the voice of the one who says: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of our God” (Isaiah 2:3)
– St. John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent

Child development occurs in a mostly predictable sequence, but spiritual development is a lifelong pursuit that is rarely linear. How do we, as parents, guide our
children up the ladder to Christ as we struggle ourselves? This course is a discussion-based course which will explore child development concepts (infancy through
adolescents) as we and our children ascend the ladder to Christ. The textbook, along with Biblical, patristic, and other Orthodox sources, will anchor our classes. We will also have a few guest speakers to dive deeper into certain topics.



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Thirty Steps to Heaven (Vasilios Papavassiliou )

  • This will be the primary text of the course. Participants are expected to read each section prior to the class. While The Ladder of Divine Ascent by St. John Climacus was written for monastics Papavassiliou’s book broadens the scope to people living outside of the monastery.

*Required materials are not included in the purchase of the course.

Melissa K. Tsongranis has worked extensively to help parents understand their children’s development during her years as an Early Intervention Specialist. She took her passion for child development and combined it with her love of the Orthodox Faith and worked for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese for almost 20 years. There, she helped found the Center for Family Care. She received her BA in Child Development and a post graduate credential in Early Childhood Special Education. She lives in Tarpon Springs, Florida with her husband and son.

Red checkmarkComputer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with processor with a speed of 1 Ghz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with MacOS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do NOT recommending using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.

Red checkmarkHigh-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with an download/upload speed of 5/1Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.

Red checkmarkWebCam: You may use an external webcam or one that is built in to the computer.
WebCam Recommendations: Good (PC only) | Best (Mac and PC)

Red checkmarkHeadset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class.
Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm

Red checkmarkZoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use.
To download Zoom:

  1. Visit
  2. Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
  3. Open and run the installer on your computer.
  4. In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.


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Explore our courses!

First, read the available course descriptions, noting prerequisites, target grades, and course objectives. If you think your student is prepared for the course, go ahead and register. After registration, a placement assessment may be provided to students, depending on the course and the student’s previous enrollment with Scholé Academy. Registration is finalized when the student’s placement assessment has been returned by the course instructor with placement confirmation.

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Please take careful note of our teaching philosophy, our technology requirements, our school policies, the parent agreement, and the distinctions between our grade levels.

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Our Assistant to the Principal will be in touch with you after your enrollment to help you with next steps, including any placement evaluations that may be required for your course selections.

This registration will be finalized when the student's placement assessment has been returned by the course instructor with placement confirmation.

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