"Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6 (NKJ)
Teaching young minds is a task that cannot be taken lightly. It is full of challenges, frustrations, and responsibilities. However, it is a task that is also full of excitement, wonder, and joy. At Know-It-All Preparatory School, we strongly believe that all children are capable of learning, if they have the proper environment, motivation, and direction from their teachers.
In order to best explain our Philosophy of Education, a presentation of the basic beliefs of Christian education, its purpose, and methodology are outlined below.
From the moment a child is born, certain forces are at work influencing his or her development physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. As his or her inherited powers and tendencies surface and interact with their environment and will, they take on the characteristics of their adulthood. Human growth, however, is an ongoing process. Some faculties of the personality are capable of expansion and refinement into old age. Education, whether of a child or adult, is the directing of this total ongoing process of development toward specific objectives. The main objective of parenting is to raise a well-educated, well-rounded, responsible adult. The main objective of the school is to assist parents in this endeavor.
The purpose of Christian education is the directing of the process of human development toward God's objective for humans: godliness of character and action. It bends its efforts to the end "so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Tim. 3:17).
The focus of the educational process is, of course, the student, a unique individual created for a specific purpose in God's plan. We believe that all children are made in the image of God and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect at all times.
We believe that each child is a unique individual who needs a secure, caring, and stimulating atmosphere in which to grow and mature emotionally, intellectually, physically, socially, and spiritually. It is our desire as educators to help students meet their fullest potential in these areas by providing an environment that is safe, supports risk-taking, and invites a sharing of ideas. There are three elements that we believe are conducive to establishing such an environment, (1) the teacher acting as a guide, (2) allowing the child's natural curiosity to direct his/her learning, and (3) promoting respect for all things and all people.
The Christian School
We believe that the education of children is the prerogative not of the state but of the parents to carry out their responsibility to God for the education of their children. The work of the Christian school is an extension of the educational goals of the home. Its purpose, therefore, is the development of the student in the image of God. This purpose determines both the content and the means of instruction.
One of our prayers and hopes as educators is to instill a love of learning in our students as we share our own passion and conviction for the importance of learning with them. "Train up a child in the way that they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6) gives us hope that what is instilled in children today will not be lost over time.
We believe there is a need for compassionate, strong, and dedicated individuals who are excited about working with children. It is important for students to not only receive a solid education, but to work with someone who is aware of and sensitive to their individual needs. We strive for those individuals as our faculty and staff.
A method is a means to an end, not an end in itself. Methods are chosen for their power and efficiency in accomplishing designated goals. In the Christian school they are chosen also for their reflection of the example of God, with the assurance that God's methods are the most effective in carrying out His will. Of course, Christian methodology rejects any method contrary to the principles of Scripture.
The Christian educator finds Biblical reason for the use of a wide diversity of educational methods. In His teaching, Christ, the Master Teacher, used an amazing variety of methods and materials. In the Old Testament from Genesis onward, God taught man through a diversity of means. In the Garden of Eden, He used a tree to teach Adam. Since the Flood He has used a rainbow to teach the world that He will not again destroy the earth by water. The entire tabernacle was a prophetic object lesson, setting forth the person and work of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Biblical methods, as a rule, require some effort on the part of the student, though the effort need not be tedious. They provide for the "discovering" of truth (actually the revealing of truth by a God eager to reward diligent study), as well as for the reinforcing of learning, by man's search (Prov. 2:4-6). The parables, for example, required a searching on the part of the disciples before their truths were fully revealed. That which is learned at the cost of effort is not soon forgotten, and God delights in blessing those who are zealous for knowledge.
When the teacher's role is to guide, providing access to information rather than acting as the primary source of information, the students' search for knowledge is met as they learn to find answers to their questions. For students to construct knowledge, they need the opportunity to discover for themselves and practice skills in authentic situations. Providing students access to hands-on activities and allowing adequate time and space to use materials that reinforce the lesson being studied creates an opportunity for individual discovery and construction of knowledge to occur.
Equally important to self-discovery is having the opportunity to study things that are meaningful and relevant to one's life and interests. Developing a curriculum around student interests fosters intrinsic motivation and stimulates the passion to learn. One way to take learning in a direction relevant to student interest is to invite student dialogue about the lessons and units of study. Given the opportunity for input, students generate ideas and set goals that make for much richer activities than I could have created or imagined myself. When students have ownership in the curriculum, they are motivated to work hard and master the skills necessary to reach their goals.
Helping students to develop a deep love and respect for themselves, others, and their environment occurs through an open sharing of ideas and a judicious approach to discipline. When the voice of each student is heard, an environment evolves where students feel free to express themselves. Children have greater respect for their teachers, their peers, and the lessons presented when they feel safe and sure to know what is expected of them. In setting fair and consistent rules initially and stating the importance of every activity, students are shown respect for their presence and time. In turn they learn to respect themselves, others, and their environment.