Elementary Philosophy Statement

Students coming to Covenant Life School for the first time and entering the elementary grades are usually being introduced into a learning environment that is significantly different from their previous experience.  As a Christian day school we offer a structured learning environment with distinctive practices, values, expectations and an extension of Christian community life.

All children progress through predictable stages of development in the same order, but not at the same rate, and thus the elementary program strives to accommodate individual differences in maturity and rate of development.  Our curriculum stresses reading and language development, math calculation and number sense, biblical truth and its application, and an introduction to concepts in science and history.  We introduce and develop foundational skills that equip young students to grow spiritually, cognitively, socially and physically.

Spiritually - While some students in the elementary grades may be regenerate, most are not.  The significant spiritual opportunity is for our young students to recognize their need for a Savior (John 3:3-6), and to personally trust in him for the salvation of their souls.  We teach the doctrine of sin (Romans 3:23) and the attributes of God, magnifying God's glory and grace in sending his Son, Jesus, to be our Savior (Ephesians 1:7-12).  We teach our students that man's highest duty is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30), and that we need to obey authority (Hebrews 13:17), serve others (Philippians 2:3-4) and work diligently (Colossians 3:23).  When we encounter student deficiencies in these areas, we view discipline as a chance to grow in righteousness (Hebrews 12:10-11).

Cognitively - Elementary teachers introduce new information incrementally, and promote comprehension through memorization, repetition, and purposefully modeling specific thinking skills.  Our elementary classrooms promote a variety of learning experiences characterized by movement, imagination, experimentation, purposeful play, and multi-sensory experiences.  In the early years, learning is more about the process than about the product, so report card grades are  viewed as indicators of progress along the continuum of learning that all children pass through.  While we desire to develop a comprehensive academic foundation that builds on each successive stage of development in preparation for the next academic year, we recognize the higher goal of learning is to gain wisdom as biblically defined: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding" (Psalm 111:10).

Socially - Since folly is bound up in the heart of a child (Prov. 22:15), young children need to be instructed how to interact in a way that pleases God and blesses others.  Individual actions affect others in a community, and God teaches us that love should be the hallmark of our interactions (1 John 4:7-12).  Cooperative learning experiences provide the opportunity for skillful teachers to develop the students' communication skills, and teach them how to interact biblically with others (Philippians 2:3-4) and steward their gifts (1 Peter 4:10).  We focus on instructing students regarding key relational experiences in the school setting, at home, and in society and thus encouraging them to be a light in a dark world (Philippians 2:15-16a).

Physically - Our bodies are instruments of learning; everything we learn, we learn through our bodies.  Since young students learn most effectively as active participants, we seek to create an environment that includes guided group activity, constructive play, and hands-on learning through the use of manipulatives.  We help students develop their large muscles, coordination, sensory integration, balance and fine motor skills.  Moreover we teach the students that our bodies are a beautiful gift from God (Psalm 139:13-16) that must be taken care of, exercised and strengthened in order to fulfill God's plan for our lives.  Scripture teaches that if we discipline our bodies and keep them under control (1 Corinthians 9:27a), our bodies provide us many opportunities for pleasure and service.

Trusting God for his grace to help us through the implementation of these foundational skills and values, we seek to be responsive to student needs and interests.  We hope to introduce our students into an experience that gives the kind of foretaste that will nurture the desire to be life-long learners.  

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