Raising children with Christian values in a secular society continues to be challenging. The advancement of technology and the changing landscape of communications is making it even more difficult to protect children from beliefs and behaviors that don't coincide with the Christian faith.
Many parents want to ensure their kids have role models who positively influence their child's character, model empathy, serve others, and encourage him or her to utilize their God-given talents to impact the world around them. This leads many parents to consider a private Christian school where their children will be educated in a community with other families who share similar values, beliefs, and educational goals. Parents concerned with academic excellence, qualified teachers, a positive learning environment, and a safe and engaged community, should consider partnering with a private Christian school to give their child a well-rounded educational experience.Whether you're just starting to look at school options or you're in the midst of choosing the best place for your child, here are some key areas to look at and let guide you in your search for a quality Christian education for your child.
1. Diversity & Service: Look for schools with diverse populations, established study abroad programs, and extensive service opportunites – locally and abroad. Studying other cultures and religions will help your child defend his or her own faith intelligently and prepare them to live it out successfully in a global environment. Strong Christian schools provide numerous opportunities for stewardship. These can take the form of service learning programs partnered with organizations in the area, local food drives, or mission trips abroad to help a community in need.
2. Involvement and input from parents: It's vital that you have a voice in your child's education and opportunities to connect with administrators, teachers, and other parents. An ideal Christian school encourages parent involvement through groups and organizations that support different aspects of campus life.
3. Co-Curriculars: By offering a balance of academics and extracurricular activities, the top Christian schools instill in their students a healthy combination of competition, creativity, and commitment. Co-curriculars extend learning and reinforce qualities such as selflessness, cooperation, and self-discipline. A school of excellence should provide opportunities to explore and grow in the arts, athletics, and academics beyond the classroom. Look for a school with coaches, instructors, and teachers that demonstrate success in their field and mentoring students. The best Christian schools retain an emphasis on and appreciation of literature and the arts. Make sure schools you're considering offer events for their students that allow them to grow creatively, like school art exhibits, visits from writers and artists, and museum visits.
4. A strong STEM curriculum: Christian schools are addressing the need to equip students with the necessary skills in sciences, technology, engineering, and math to produces citizens of the world who are both responsible and prepared for future careers. Explore the STEM resources available at the school(s) you're considering. Make sure the school's facilities and curricula support advanced learning at every grade level.
5. Student success after graduation: Check out student success rates by keeping track of how alumni are performing in colleges and the real world. Most Christian schools share graduate success stories--demonstrating how well they have prepared them for the next step in their lives. A good place to look for statistics about which private schools are receiving high marks is NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools). Also, you can check with the US News & World Report Best Colleges website to see if the private schools you have in mind for your child are producing graduates that attend top-tier colleges and universities.
In short, a top Christian school provides students with the tools and skills needed to contribute to an innovative world market with constantly changing technological trends. At the same time, a quality Christian school offers a challenging, dynamic, and competitive education with emphasizes on the growth of the whole individual.