Overall the future looks promising for Immanuel Christian School in Charlottetown.
One of two Christian schools in Prince Edward Island, Immanuel has seen a plateau in student numbers in recent years, but the possibility of growth is very real, particularly in the primary grades, according to principal Matthew Mann.
“I think there is general sense of optimism at the board level and the community level that there is still real potential for the school to grow,” says Mann, noting this optimism stems from a blossoming kindergarten program and a large wave of younger students in general.
Founded in 1985, Immanuel has strong support from the local Christian community, including financial support.
“We’re very impressed with the desire on the part of those who are not part of the school right now to be committing the finances to supporting the work,” says Mann.
Many of those supporting the school include the founding generation of parents as well as friends and relatives of current families.
In addition, the community is still small enough that “a lot of people feel that they’re stakeholders in the community and are therefore more comfortable committing their donations to the school,” says Mann.
One area that is presenting a challenge for the school is the junior high program, which has had a small student population for years.
“We are in the process right now of rethinking the way we talk about junior high, the way we teach, what we expect of the students, the culture, the tone of the group,” says Mann, noting that this is partly in recognition of the fact that the students in their middle school years need something quite different from elementary students.
The principal is hopeful and confident that as the school enhances the program as well as its presentation, it will draw parents who already have younger students in the school.
The board would also like to make Grade 7 an attractive entry point for families in the public school system who are interested in transitioning their children.
The principal is in the process of redesigning the junior high program with a plan to present the reformatted version in the spring.
Independent schools in PEI, of which there are four, receive government funding for their kindergarten programs.