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Heroes at Sanctuary Academy engage their bodies, minds and souls in learning.  We address the whole person by emphasizing six relationship areas in the studio, as heroes learn to BE, learn to DO, and learn to LEARN. Located on the beautiful property of the St. Francis Retreat Center in Dewitt, there are many opportunities for experiencing nature through our programs. 


Relationship with God

  • Catholic spirituality is woven into studio days through stories of the great Saints who are ultimately the Heroes we want to emulate in giving all for the Kingdom of God, Heroes keep their own prayer and meditation journals, utilize virtue-call outs, and work towards creating their unique plan of life for human and spiritual formation, with support from their families.  Heroes have many opportunities to develop a personal and tangible relationship with God that is unique to them. 

Relationship with Others

  • Younger heroes have circle time to start and end the day as a group, and older heroes have mini-socratic discussions each morning and afternoon. These discussions inspire, equip or connect the heroes, and help them focus on studio needs, priorities for the day, or new processes to implement.  Heroes learn positive communication skills and practice growth mindset praise.  They learn leadership skills and self government as they build a strong tribe that respects and honors one another. 

Relationship with Ourselves

  • We support heroes on a journey of human formation, which helps them become aware of their thoughts, feelings, beliefs and desires, and learn to love themselves in an ordered way. Jesus said, " shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:38). Through a structured program designed to develop ordered self-love, heroes have the foundation for love of others and love of God.  St. Thomas Aquinas said "grace builds on nature".  The natural, human formation supports spiritual growth and development. 

Relationship with Our Bodies

  • Heroes participate in daily meditations with a focus on body awareness and relaxation. They also complete deep breathing and a short physical challenge each day.  They have the option to earn rewards for participating in health challenges each session as well, with topics including hydration, exercise, balanced eating and rest. They learn the value of self-care. 

Relationship with Nature

  • Studies repeatedly show the mental and physical benefits of spending time outdoors, especially in a natural environment. Rain, sun, or snow, heroes spend ample time outdoors exploring, working on projects and learning to love and embrace God's playground! The Retreat Center is a perfect location for growing in this relationship area, and we are always discovering new ways to enjoy the beautiful grounds. 

Relationship with Academics/Learning

  • Our youngest studio (Sparks) focuses on learning with hands-on montessori materials based on what sparks their curiosity and interests them.  In our Discovery and Adventure Studios, Heroes complete Quests.  Quests are 7-8 week long projects, often based on a science topic, with a compelling narrative that draws learners in.  Quests end with an Exhibition, where friends and relatives are invited to see the completed work.  Exhibitions are 100% led by heroes, and provide an exciting way for heroes to work as a team and host an event.  All learners become aware that learning is a lifelong process and that they are responsible for their own learning journey. 

  • Families are invited to participate in learning through optional family challenges that coincide with the sessions of the year (lasting 7-8 weeks).  Families are provided many resources for their parenting, education and faith journey, and we help families develop their own ways to build on the six relationship areas at home as well. 

  • Socratic Discussions

    • Each morning and afternoon, learners have mini-Soctratic discussions focused on priorities for the day, studio needs, new processes or inspiration and equipping. 

  • A Quest is a four-to-six week series of challenges bound by a compelling narrative and designed to deliver 21st century skills. In the Elementary Studio, these are broad explorations of science and curiosity.  Quests will take up most of the afternoon on in-studio days.  Quests are set up by guides, then led by the community of learners.

    • Exhibitions: A great Quest starts with a powerful exhibition as the goal.  Exhibitions showcase finished work and provide an opportunity for learners to share their projects with family and friends. 


 Sanctuary Academy offers two programs: Acton Hybrid, and St. Francis Enrichment Day.  Pursue one or both of these programs based on your family needs!


This program re-launches in January 2024. The program meets two days per week.  Heroes enrolled in this program will enjoy Socratic discussions, Civilizations, Core Skills work, Outdoor Time and Quests.  This program is available for heroes between the ages of 8-12.  Heroes will set weekly goals for their learning with a studio running partner and create a badge plan for the year with their family.  Rather than tests and report cards, we help families track learning with badges, which are earned for completing a learning goal with excellence.  Be sure to check out the videos about Acton Academy on our Videos tab, and go through the Acton Academy Main Campus website to learn more.

Fill out our contact form to receive an information kit about this program.

*In the 2024/25 School year, this program will be offered for ages 5-12. 



*We have limited spaces left in this program!

 This program meets one day per week (Thursdays).  Heroes enrolled in this program will enjoy an enriching day with many opportunities for personal growth in a group setting.  This program is available for heroes ages 5-13.  Our Sparks Studio is for ages 5-7 and our Discovery Studio is for ages 8-13.   During this day, Discovery Heroes will participate in Mass or Prayer Time in the Chapel, followed by Science Lab and Creative Arts. The day ends with Lunch and Outdoor Time.  The location for this program is to be determined. 

Sparks Heroes will also participate in Mass or Prayer, outdoor snack time with a read aloud and learning of poetry, as well as Science projects and Creative Arts, and lunch. Their day ends in joining Discovery Heroes for outdoor time. 

Fill out our contact form to receive an information kit about this program. 

Early Registration fee is $50 per learner and ends on July 31st!   Late Registration fee is $150 per learner and ends on August 18th. 

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