Parents today have so many choices when making decisions about what elementary school is the best choice for their child. There are traditional public elementary schools, charter elementary schools, magnet elementary schools, virtual elementary schools, non-religious private elementary schools, church-sponsored private elementary schools, evangelical private elementary schools, and of course home-schools. With so many choices, it is important for parents to educate themselves on the philosophy and services provided by these schools and to choose a school that best fits their family’s needs.
I have been an educator for nearly 25 years, have served in both public and private schools, and currently serve at Palm Beach Christian Academy which is a private Christian school in downtown West Palm Beach and is the school ministry of Family Church. I believe that every family is different and each child has unique needs. I understand that families should prayerfully consider which school is best for them, and this choice can lead them to any number of different schools. Although Christian elementary schools may not be the right fit for all families, I believe that the partnership formed between Christian schools and parents can be a valuable one. Private Christian elementary schools can serve as an important resource for families who desire to raise their children to know and serve the Lord.
So why am I so passionate about Christian education? Is it the family atmosphere? Is it the rigorous curriculum and high test scores? Is it the individualized attention given? There are so many attributes that can be celebrated at a private Christian elementary school. However, as described in the article, The Christian Philosophy of Christian Education, Christian educators are tasked with providing children with “a presentation of the basic beliefs of Christian education and, second, an application of these beliefs to the specific mission of the Christian school (BJUPress.com, 2015).” So what does this mean to me? It means that everything I do and every decision I make should be viewed through a biblical lens and with the eternal kingdom in mind.
Lately, I have been thinking more about the mission statement of my school, Palm Beach Christian Academy, which is located in downtown West Palm Beach:
“We exist to form a partnership with parents to provide a strong spiritual foundation to children in a loving nurturing, Christ-centered environment of discovery and learning.”
This mission statement focuses on three important concepts: a partnership with parents, a spiritual foundation, and discovery/learning. I believe that it is my God-given calling to support parents and teachers, not only with the academic success of their children but also with providing the spiritual foundation that supports the basic foundation of the faith and the application of these beliefs into everyday life.
As a Christian educator, I strive to provide an atmosphere where children and parents are loved in a way that represents Christ’s love for them. This love comes from an understanding of Christ’s grace and mercy, which then pours out to the families I serve. This means that I am challenged to go beyond the academic standards and good citizenship that is taught at other schools and to support teachers in reaching the heart of each individual child. I am able to do this through the ministry of Family Church and Palm Beach Christian Academy.
Does this always happen? Well, I know that I am far from perfect, and I fail all of the time. But I also know that God can use me for His purposes, even in my failures. With God’s help, I will continue to support parents and children and will continue to serve with others to plant the seeds of God’s truth which will continue to grow throughout the generations.
“…truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you (Matthew 17:20, ESV).”