‘I really feel my kids wouldn’t be who they are today if they hadn’t gone to a Christian school’
Several parents interviewed by OACS News listed what they value most about Christian education.
Marie Cooper, whose two children now attend Redeemer Christian High School, says she believes her children wouldn’t be who they are today if they hadn’t gone to a Christian school.
She describes her children as grounded and self-confident. They do well academically and over the years have flourished in their unique talents and skills. For instance, with the individualized support provided through Community Christian School in Metcalfe her son has been able develop his musical gift and has had the opportunity to be lead musician for chapel services until his graduation this year.
“I do find that Christian schools do allow kids to really grow in every respect,” says Cooper. “They really flourish in this environment; it’s so awesome for them.”
She suggests the individualized approach is possible both because the Christian schools are typically small but also the teachers “truly recognize that God has given different gifts and talents to each student and they want to help them flourish.”
In addition to the individualized support, Cooper values the fact that schools that are members of the Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools (OACS) are parent-run.
“I just can’t believe the input my husband and I have been able to have in this school,” she says, noting both she and her husband sat on the school board for three-year terms and have been involved in other committees as well.
While Cooper has observed that many parents want to be involved in their children’s education, she notes that the large public school boards often make it difficult for a person to have any sort of impact.
“The OACS schools are so much smaller and it’s possible for the parent to feel like they’re making a difference,” she says.
For Donna Veenstra, whose four children attended Orillia Christian School with one now at Unity Christian High School, there are many things to value about Christian education, most importantly the calibre of teachers, which she says tops the list.
“Perhaps the first thing that reaches the heart of a mother is that the people teaching my children see them as image bearers of God – (the teachers) try to love like God does and see the value in each child.”
Veenstra recalls an incident in which two of her children were involved in a four-wheeler accident that left one of them seriously injured. The unharmed child had been driving the vehicle.
While she had to be at the hospital with the injured child, Veenstra was grateful when she learned a teacher “loved (her other son) enough to see the guilt he was carrying” and helped him work through his feelings with the application of Christian truth.
“What mother couldn’t be eternally grateful that in a world that is so often contrary to what we believe, someone shared my faith and my burden and led my child?” she says.
Kim Borgdorff, who has three children, values the “caring community of fellow-believers” her family has found in both Timothy Christian School in Barrie and Unity Christian High School.
She notes her children’s accomplishments have been recognized and applauded by fellow families in a way she doesn’t believe would happen in a public school setting.
She also feels a greater measure of safety because families in the school get to know one another quite well and often hold similar values. When her children visit the homes of other school families she is comfortable about the environment they will be entering.
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