Who was Christopher Dock?
An educator who focused on the whole student
Christopher Dock was a compassionate, 18th Century Mennonite school teacher who pioneered a shift in the philosophy of teaching by combining academics and faith. He emphasized character building and discussion to encourage a higher standard of learning.
Our schools continue to teach in the tradition of Christopher Dock.
CHRISTOPHER DOCK: THE FAITHFUL SCHOOLMASTER OF SKIPPACK
- Born in Germany in 1698, Christopher Dock came to America around 1714.
- In 1718, Dock began teaching at an elementary school for Mennonites in Skippack, and later in Germantown and Salford, PA.
- On the walls of Dock’s classrooms were beautifully illustrated manuscripts, which served as models for penmanship. Small examples of the decorated “fraktur” writing were given as rewards to good students. (see sample, below)
- In 1750, Dock wrote School Management, one of the earliest essays on education in America.
- Dock wrote at least seven hymns, five of which are in the earliest American Mennonite hymnal.
- In 1771, Dock died on his knees in prayer, some say praying for his students. His grave marker is a simple stone located in the Lower Skippack Mennonite Church cemetery.
TEACHING IN THE TRADITION OF CHRISTOPHER DOCK
Dock Mennonite Academy strives to carry out Christopher Dock’s legacy in the following ways:
- Integration of Academics and Faith
- We practice a balanced integration of learning, faith, and service from early childhood through high school graduation.
- Community of Learners
- Our students learn and grow in a Christ-centered community comprised of faculty, staff, family and church.
- Given the size of our school, our students are able to take an active and engaged role in every aspect of their education, from athletics to the arts to service opportunities. We encourage them to get involved!
- Among students and faculty, there is a strong emphasis on collaboration and learning to work through challenges as a team.