We recently interviewed Sandy Bottge, Elementary Principal at Eastern Christian School, about her perspectives on the value of a Christian education for elementary and preschool grades.
1. Why do you believe that Christian education is important for students that are of preschool and elementary school ages?
“Christian education is very important for preschool and elementary school students. A child’s spiritual foundation and worldview is largely developed during these early years of life. When children hear consistent messages about God at home, school and church, it solidifies their understanding God’s love for His children, His plan for salvation and their place in God’s Kingdom.”
2. Why do you think parents choose to enroll their child in the elementary program at Eastern Christian?
“Parents enroll their children in the elementary program at Eastern Christian because they want their children to have a strong academic education that incorporates a biblical perspective on life and learning.”
3. What sets the elementary program at Eastern Christian apart from other schools?
“The program at Eastern Christian is unique because it provides the best of both worlds: an excellent academic program and integration of Christian values and teaching. At Eastern Christian, we recognize that all students are created in the image of God with unique gifts and talents. Our small class sizes allow our teachers to know their students well and create differentiated plans to meet each student’s needs. We guide students through the learning process in each subject area and assist them in their academic, social and spiritual growth.”
4. In what ways do students receive an education that is engaging, nurturing and transforming at the Elementary School?
“Students are engaged in learning throughout their day at Eastern Christian Elementary School. Lessons and activities are planned to meet a variety of learning styles and students are challenged at appropriate levels. We provide a safe and nurturing environment where each student is loved and respected. Our children are nurtured spiritually through daily devotions, weekly chapel services and integration of biblical values. Students learn how to be Christ’s transforming agents at a young age. Using our Eastern Christian Core Values of Embracing Community and Exhibiting Compassion, our students collect food, clothing and money for many local organizations to assist those in need. Students participate in fundraising activities to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and a missionary family in Tanzania.”
5. Some parents choose to send their child to a Christian school in middle or high school rather than sending them for elementary school. Why do you think the Eastern Christian elementary program is foundational to middle and high school years?
“We know that children progress through specific developmental stages in their growth and learning. These stages are the foundation for future learning, understanding and maturity. Children who attend Christian preschool and elementary school benefit from a solid, biblical foundation and develop into socially, emotionally and spiritually mature men and women.”
6. Share with us a story of something that happened at the elementary school in the past week that encapsulates the experience.
“We recently completed our annual school-wide PBL (Problem Based Learning) project at Eastern Christian Elementary School. Students were challenged to consider how they could help the Steen family as they serve as missionaries in Tanzania. Our students collaborated together and came up with many creative ways to support this missionary family. They ran a lemonade stand as a fundraiser and wrote persuasive paragraphs to explain the importance purchasing lemonade to raise money for the Steens. Students created Bible booklets and John 3:16 puzzles. The booklets and puzzles were sent to the Steens to give to the children in their community as a witnessing tool.
In our PBL Presentation chapel, students shared how they helped the Steen family and what they learned about life in Tanzania. This project was a great way for students to engage their minds in various learning activities, nurture their spirits as they considered how God used them to help others, and transform the world through missionary work in our school.”
7. What advice would you offer to a parent searching for the best school for their young child?
“Many parents search online for the best school for their children. This is a great way to start their search. It is very important to visit the school, tour the facilities and talk to a school representative about the educational program. Consider the academic, social and spiritual needs of the child to see if the school is a good match.
Many parents express that they felt there was something special about Eastern Christian Elementary School as soon as they stepped into the building. We encourage parents to have their children visit the school as well. Preschool children may want to come for an hour to interact with our children and meet our teachers. Elementary school children will benefit from shadowing in the classroom for a full or half day. This allows them to meet other children and participate in our school activities and learning. Parents that conduct their research, visit the school, and faithfully pray for God’s guidance will be led to the best school for their child. ”
Thank you Sandy for sharing your passion for Christian education. Eastern Christian School provides an outstanding spiritual and academic foundation for students in preschool and elementary school.