As a new family at Northumberland Christian School (NCS), parent Lisa Hickman points to the school’s focus on character development as a main reason for choosing to enrol her sons at the independent elementary school.
During the past year, while her sons were attending another school, Hickman made a list of questions she wanted to discuss with NCS.
When she and her husband visited the school in early July, they had a two-hour meeting with the principal, who went over all their questions and provided examples of how character development is built into the curriculum.
“What they get (at NCS) is the essential life skills that they need in order to be productive members of society, and that they understand what it is to live life as a giving, honest, caring person as opposed to someone who goes along life living for themselves,” she says.
“At NCS they have the benefit of having the smaller classes so they can focus one-on-one with every student working up to their potential,” says Hickman.
As part of its commitment to character development there is a lot of interaction between younger and older children at the school. For example, the Grade 3 class spends the afternoon with the Grade 1 and 2 class.
Another element contributing to the Hickmans’ decision to join NCS is the “explicit instruction in what it truly means to live a Christian life.” She says the instruction goes above and beyond what the children receive at church, providing them the tools they need to live a Christian life on an ongoing basis.
When making the decision to enrol, Hickman says she felt relief.
“(I was) so relieved that we were finally going to move forward, and excited because I knew that it was a journey that we embarked upon and we were moving into a school community,” she says, adding the sense of community is “absolutely essential.”
She says her sons, who are now in Grade 2 and senior kindergarten, were thrilled to start at NCS this fall. She notes one of her sons has blossomed from having the opportunity to have a fresh start and be himself.
Hickman has volunteered to be part of the promotions and advertising committee and chaperoned field trips. She also plans to attend the Thursday morning chapels every month.
“NCS is all about community, becoming a school community and supporting each other,” she says. “In making the decision to move there we made the decision to join that community, to not join that community would just be really missing out on one of the best things that they can offer us.”