4 Ways a Positive Christian School Environment Makes All the Difference for Students
Ask any parent exploring school options what their priorities are, and “environment” will almost certainly be mentioned. But what does a school’s environment encompass, and how does it impact a child’s learning experience?
This is a complex question, as any environment is made up of both tangible and intangible factors. While one parent might think of the school’s safety features, facilities, and campus location, another might initially consider the class sizes, teachers, and community.
Research from the University of Salford shows that the learning environment can affect a student’s learning and academic progress by as much as 25 percent! According to the university, in a positive environment, students:
- Feel a sense of belonging
- Trust others
- Feel encouraged to tackle challenges, ask questions, and take risks
On the other hand, a negative environment hinders learning. Whether it’s densely populated classrooms or a lack of intentionality in building culture, student outcomes are strongly influenced by their school.
Do Christian schools offer superior learning environments?
If you’re like many parents in the Wake County area, you may find yourself torn between sending your child to your local public school or investing in private, Christian education. You know there are likely advantages to both, but a pro/con list feels too simple for such an important decision.
One of the best ways to thoroughly analyze the learning environment of any school is to set up a campus tour or interest meeting. Visiting classrooms, conversing with the staff, and getting a feel for the energy on campus provides the deepest insight into the learning environment.
As you schedule your tour, here are four areas to consider:
You may have heard the saying,”there’s no such thing as a neutral learning environment.” While this may be the goal of public schools, the reality is that students are influenced by the teachers they encounter, the curriculum with which they engage, and the peers that surround them.
In today’s complex, ever-evolving culture, many Christian parents feel compelled to choose a school that reinforces the biblical values taught at home and church. They want to be sure their children are not confused by conflicting ideologies in important subject areas.
- If you’re touring a Christian school, ask how they help students understand Scripture and apply its truths to the world around them.
- Find out what qualities and characteristics the school looks for in teachers.
- Inquire about ways that you can be involved in your child’s education, so they feel a strong alignment between their home and school.
2. Character Development
Your child’s school environment will not only affect their academic development, it will impact their character. Regardless of their grade level, it is vital for students to see integrity, kindness, and discipline modeled daily. A few questions to ask:
- How is character education integrated into the learning experience, and what does it look like at my child’s grade level?
- Are there any mentorship or advisory programs here?
- Is character development a component of your extracurricular activities, such as athletics, arts, and clubs?
When choosing a school, one of a parent’s top concerns about the environment is, “Will my child make good friends here?” You understand that community is vital for children. The friendships they make during school often last a lifetime, and can even connect you with new friends as you meet other parents in your school community.
- How is community fostered here, in the classroom and beyond?
- Do you have any policies in place to prevent bullying, and how are social conflicts addressed?
- What activities can my child get involved in that will help them develop friendships with students who have shared interests?
4. Faith Formation
As students master core concepts in math, reading, and writing, they build an academic foundation for success in life. These formative years are also vital for building a spiritual foundation.
Your teaching at home and church makes the greatest impact, but biblical integration at school deepens your child’s understanding of Christian values and inspires them to make their faith their own. As you consider Christian school options, here are some important questions to ask about the environment:
- Do students worship together in regular chapel services?
- How do teachers integrate theology across the curriculum?
- What opportunities will students have to explore their faith through service and missions?
Find out what makes an exceptional learning environment at WCA.
At Wake Christian Academy in Raleigh, NC, environment is not an afterthought. We cultivate a positive, Christ-centered atmosphere where students feel at home and excited about learning.
From our purposefully designed campus, to top-notch faculty and staff, to our wide range of student activities, you’ll find a community where your child can achieve his or her potential.
Ready to find out more about the learning environment at WCA?
Download a Parent Info Packet today!