Philosophy on Early Education

 

Statement of Purpose

Ohio Valley Christian School (OVCS) is a ministry of First Baptist Church (FBC) of Gallipolis, Ohio. OVCS is committed to the education of the children of this church through a curriculum and activities that are based on and are faithful to the Bible. The children of non-FBC Christian families are invited to participate in our Pre K4–12 program as space is available. The children of both non-FBC Christian families and non-Christian families are invited to be a part of our school as space is available.

Philosophy of Early Education

We believe that each child is a unique creation of God made in His image (Luke 18:16). We believe one of the ways children learn about God and His purpose and plan for their lives is from the Bible.

We believe that each child learns by actively participating, exploring, and discovering (Proverbs 20:11). Children develop new knowledge and skills based on what they already know and can do, through play, the examination and manipulation of concrete materials, and the use of all their senses. Learning activities should be built around the child’s current interests. Children must be encouraged to ask questions, experiment, make choices, and propose solutions. In so doing, they will learn to assume responsibility for their own actions and feelings, and they will gain confidence in acting on their knowledge of the Bible and of their physical and social worlds.

We believe that each child grows developmentally (Luke 2:52). To teach in ways that are developmentally appropriate requires knowing how children develop and learn, and matching to that knowledge the content and strategies planned for them. The OVCS Pre-K4 and K5 programs focuses on concepts and processes, using small group instruction, interactive learning, and active manipulation of relevant, concrete materials to build a solid foundation for academics within a context of meaningful activity.

We believe that each child learns by example (Deuteronomy 6:7). Teachers of young children should hold a biblical worldview and live a Christian lifestyle in their home, school, and community. Play experiences are structured to allow an optimal mix of individual, one-to-one, small-group, and large-group experiences. Planned group activities promote more skillful levels of communication, of social interaction, and of perceptual and motor development.

Mission 

Ohio Valley Christian School exists to be used by God to disciple students to learn in harmony with God’s Word so they may know, love, and serve Jesus Christ.

Vision: Pre-K4/Kindergarten

The vision of Ohio Valley Christian Pre-K4/Kindergarten is 

  • to be a vital outreach ministry of First Baptist Church, honoring God, children, and families
  • to assimilate many families into the church
  • to continually improve our ability to teach young children through professional development, and through mentoring younger teachers
  • to be one of the best Christian preschools of choice in southern Ohio
  • to be, in the future, one of the best Christian K3-K4 childcare programs of choice in southern Ohio

Policies

The Ohio Valley Christian School Board of Governors has adopted policies for our school. A copy of the policy book is available in the office. All staff members are encouraged to become familiar with all the policies. Those specific to early education have been included in the handbook.

Nondiscrimination Policy 

First Baptist Church and Ohio Valley Christian School maintain a firm policy prohibiting discrimination against any race, color, or national and ethnic origin, admitting all students to the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally available to students at the schools. In addition, the schools do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, or national and ethnic origin in the administration of educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school programs. Nor do the schools discriminate on the basis of race, color, or national and ethnic origin in hiring of either certified or noncertified personnel. All forms of harassment by students, school personnel, or parents that create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment will not be tolerated under any circumstances. The administrator, upon receipt of a report or complaint alleging discrimination, harassment, or violence, shall immediately undertake or authorize an investigation.

 

The aim of Ohio Valley Christian School’s Pre-K4 program is to prepare children and their families spiritually, socially/emotionally, physically, and cognitively for the coming years of formal schooling. Children will do the following:

SPIRITUAL 

Understand that God is a loving God1 

  • Understand that Jesus is God’s Son 
  • Know that Jesus wants to initiate a personal relationship with each person 
  • Understand that the Bible is a special book
  • Understand that the Bible is God’s Word 
  • Know that the Bible is truth (with stories that are fact, not fantasy) 
  • Comprehend that Bible truths contain character lessons 
  • Use prayer to express their thoughts and needs to God 
  • Understand that prayer is talking to God 
  • Know they can request God’s help to take care of them 
  • Know they can ask for God’s help in being kind and thoughtful to others 
  • Freely share about God, Jesus, and the Bible with others 
  • Talk about spiritual things as “real” 
  • Speak spontaneously about spiritual things 
  • Have a desire to attend church 
  • Have a cultivated interest in learning about God, which causes the desire 
  • Perceive the church environment as welcoming and safe 
  • Know that God created the world 
  • Have enjoyed direct experiences with nature3
  • Know that God wants each person to care for the world

Enjoy the process of moving from curiosity to satisfaction in a project because God delights in their work4 

  • Take pride in their own work 
  • Have positive attitudes about involvement in projects 

SOCIAL/EMOTIONAL 

Value familial relationships and understand the importance of obeying parents and teachers 

  • Enjoy and initiate friendships with a variety of individuals
  • Develop friendships with those who may not be the same gender, race, or age, or may not have the same ability 
  • Benefit from the inclusiveness of the emotional culture of the classroom, which celebrates the gifts and talents of all members 
  • Begin to learn the art of sharing 
  • Share their own ideas with friends and family 
  • Share toys or other items with friends and family 
  • Begin showing empathy and kindness6 
  • Show empathy to family members 
  • Express empathy to friends 
  • Use language to express self, developing positive kinds of conflict resolution 
  • Express both positive and negative emotions 
  • Observe teachers who model and scaffold to this end 
  • Develop self-confidence in self-initiated activities7 
  • Gain competence through age-appropriate activities 
  • Have opportunities to share their new skills with others 
  • Master new skills through encouragement and direction from the teacher 
  • Begin to exhibit self-control 
  • Begin to understand and control their emotions 
  • Begin to act appropriately, whether or not they are directly interacting with an adult 
  • Be comfortable participating in group discussions8 
  • Enjoy and participate in child-to-child and child-to-adult interactions 
  • Communicate effectively using their own words 
  • Be able to attend to others’ comments 

PHYSICAL 

Acquire and refine the fundamental skills of balance, movement, touch, and coordination

  • Enjoy rhythm and movement 
  • Explore fundamental movements through the time, the activities, and the equipment available to them 
  • Actively pursue gross motor activity 
  • Acquire and develop fine motor skills10 
  • Become acquainted with and have time to use the appropriate equipment and materials that aid in this development 
  • Recognize that their body is created by God and take special responsibility to care for it 
  • Be introduced to health and nutrition 
  • Make good food and activity choices 

Cognitive 

General 

  • Be able to engage with others in learning activities, including the ability to explore, create, experiment, observe, plan, analyze, reason, investigate, and question11 
  • Initiate investigation as a result of carefully observing their surroundings 

ENJOY CREATIVE EXPRESSION 

  • Be encouraged to express creativity within their own multiple intelligences as they are provided the materials for this expression
  • Be free to work with media that uniquely express the creative element for process art 
  • Write songs and stories 
  • Use imagination in dramatic center play 
  • Find creative solutions to problems that arise during center play 

NUMERACY 

Understand math vocabulary, concepts, and directed activities 

  • Have appropriate counting, sorting, and comparing skills 
  • Work well with manipulatives to achieve an appropriate transition into formal schooling12 

LANGUAGE AND LITERACY

Understand the importance and use of language in the environment 

  • Be able to participate in receptive language activities using literature as the foundational tool 
  • Have a desire to look at books with text and illustrations 
  • Engage in expressive language experiences that foster growth in language proficiency13 
  • Have cultivated prewriting skills in the context of emergent literacy14 
  • Be able to write their own name and some alphabet letters 
  • Spontaneously choose to use writing implements 
  • Understand that print carries meaning 
  • Be aware of different sound-letter relationships15
  • Possibly begin to hear rhyming sounds in prominent words 
  • Become phonemically aware through classroom activities designed for that purpose  

EXPECTED OUTCOMES FOR FAMILIES

The aim of OHIO VALLEY CHRISTIAN SCHOOL/BRIGHT START is to prepare children and their families spiritually, socially/emotionally, physically, and cognitively for the coming years of formal schooling. Parents will

  • Understand the importance of being the primary educator of their child and of participating in the educational process16 
  • Partner with the school in providing an enriched educational experience for their child 
  • Understand the significance of continuing Christian education through the elementary, secondary, and college years 

Endnotes

  1. John Trent, Rick Osborne, and Kurt Bruner. 2003. Parents’ guide to the spiritual growth of children. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House. 
  2. Pam Boucher. 1999. Teaching in Christian weekday early education. Nashville, TN: LifeWay. 
  3. Anita Rui Olds. n.d. Children come first (video presentation). Chester, NY: Plough Publishing/Community Playthings. 
  4. Geraldine Addison Carey and Kay Vandevier Henry. 1988. Teaching in church weekday education. Nashville, TN: Convention Press. 
  5. Rheta DeVries and Lawrence Kohlberg. 1989. Constructivist early education: Overview and comparison with other programs. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children. 
  6. William Damon, The moral development of children. Scientific American (August 1999), 72–78. 
  7. Karyn Henley. 2002. Child-sensitive teaching: Helping children grow a living faith in a loving God, rev. ed. Nashville, TN: Child Sensitive Communication, LLC, 44.
  8. Ibid., 47. 
  9. Barbara T. Bowman, Suzanne Donovan, M. Susan Burns, eds. National Research Council. 2000. Eager to learn: Educating our preschoolers. Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 279–91. 
  10. Ibid. 
  11. Ibid. 
  12. Ibid. 
  13. Ibid. 
  14. Ibid. 
  15. M. Susan Burns, Peg Griffin, and Catherine E. Snow, eds. National Research Council. 1999. Starting out right: A guide to promoting children’s reading success. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. 
  16. Glen Schultz. 2003. Kingdom education: God’s plan for educating future generations. Colorado Springs, CO: Purposeful Design Publications.