"I. Purpose of the School
To provide a Christ-Centered education of high academic quality so that the pupils may be prepared to take their place in the home, the church, the civil government, and their vocations or professions in a manner that is glorifying to God. As an extension of the ministry of the church and home we will endeavor to make disciples for Jesus Christ based on the knowledge of truth, the nature of man's task, and the view of His world God reveals to us. We are able to educate disciples for Jesus according to God's revelation only because His Spirit enables us not to be 'conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect' (Romans 12:2). That the pupils might be thus transformed, we propose to teach them to observe the whole counsel that Christ has commanded us until the end of this age when we shall in heaven glorify God perfectly. (See Westminster Christian School Constitution, Article III)
II. Basis for the School and its Philosophy of Education
A. The God-given Responsibility for and Accountability of Our Children
1. The authority for our Christian School comes both from God's command that children be taught to love God and place him first in their lives, and from the fact that parents are responsible for the total education and training of their children. At the parents' request the Christian School, along with the church, becomes a partner in giving this education.
The primary responsibility for education rests upon parents to whom children are entrusted by God, and Christian parents should accept this obligation in view of the covenantal relationship which God established with believers and their children. (Gen. 18:19; Deut. 6:6-9) But because God's covenant embraces not only parents and their children but also the whole Christian community to which they belong, and because Christian education contributes directly to the advancement of Christ's Great Commission (making and training disciples, Matt. 28:18-20), it is the obligation not only of the parents but also of the whole body of Christ, the church, to establish means of Christian education, and to pray for, work for, and give generously for the support of such means. In accordance with their responsibility to provide Christian education for their children parents and churches may, through the agency of a board, employ Christian teachers of godly character, who manifest ability to educate children morally and intellectually in light of the Word of God. (See Constitution, Article II, Section 2)
The children of Christian parents are children who from infancy stand in solemn, oath- bound relationship of accountability to God. It is the duty of Christian parents to teach their children that for which they are accountable. The children of Christian parents receive the promise that God will be their God as well as the God of their parents. God grants His forgiveness and righteousness to children's children, to such as keep His covenant and remember His commandments to do them. (Psalm 103:17,18). This does not mean that children of Christian parents are automatically saved. To be saved they must repent and receive the promise of God in faith. They must keep the covenant. Such a view of our children does realize, however, that they are set apart and consecrated unto God as members of His visible church and that there are such as they, who from infancy are members of God's kingdom, with David having God as their own personal God from the womb (I Chron. 31:18; I Cor.. 7:14; Luke 18:15-17; Psalm 22:9,10). With this view of the children of Christian parents, both parent and teacher will pray that the children will be granted the birth from above by the Spirit without which there is no entrance into God's Kingdom. The parents and teacher will never presume that a child is too young for this to happen since the new birth depends not on the child's ability, but God's grace. Parent and teacher will also seek to point the children to the promises of the gospel they must receive, and daily call those who say they have claimed the promise to a life of continuing repentance and fruit- bearing, thus proving to be Jesus' disciples. The means through which God will bring about the promises he has made to the children of Christian parents is the faithful example and instruction of those children. (Gen. 18:18, 19). The parents of children at Westminster Christian School must not see the school as a replacement for their own instruction but as a supplement to and extension of their own discipline and nurture in the covenant home (Deut. 29:10-13). Neither must Westminster Christian School see itself as a replacement for the instruction of the church, but as a ministry of the whole covenant community, the whole body of Christ, and accountable to the heads of Christian families and qualified heads in Christ's church under the provisions of our constitution.
2. The implications of this for the life of the school are many, for the school desires:
a. To cooperate closely with the parents in every phase of the student's development, especially as it relates to the school program.
b. To help the parents to understand the school's purpose and program and to involve parents wherever and whenever needed in and out of the classroom.
c. To aid families in Christian growth and to help them develop Christ-centered homes.
d. To develop both good and proper attitudes toward marriage and the family and also the understanding and skills needed to establish God-honoring homes.
e. To promote the maturing of each boy and girl in the use of their God-given talents and in the roles, relationships, and functions which God at the creation ordered for them according to their distinctive sexual identity. (See Proverbs 31; Genesis 2; I Timothy 2:8-3:6, 5:14; Titus 2:3-5).
f. To assist children in being aware of the changing culture and its effects on the home and the implications for their children.
g. To encourage the child's regular attendance and involvement in a local, Bible-believing church.
While the school's primary function is to minister to the children of the Christian community, our Lord also gave the church and the Christian home the responsibility to go into the whole world to make disciples for Christ by teaching of Him. It is then a proper function of the school as an educational arm of the church and home to also teach the lost and from their number make disciples for Christ. (Matt. 28:18-20) (See Constitution Article IX, Section 2 & 3).
B. The Christian World-and-Life View
1. The entire process of education if seen as a means used by the Holy Spirit to bring the student into fellowship with God, to develop a Christian mind in him and to train him in godly living, so that he can fulfill God's total purpose for his life personally and vocationally. He must be taught the Bible so that he may understand God as well as his own nature and role as God's image; he must be developed, and related to God, as a whole person; he must learn to see all truth as God's truth and to integrate it with and interpret it by God's Word; he must be educated as an individual with his own unique abilities and personality who must learn to live and work with others at home, in the church and in a changing secular society; and he must interact with and be taught by parents and teacher models who are, themselves disciples of Christ and have this view of the world and of life.
Man's task in life is primarily, that of a servant. He is to serve God and his neighbor. Certainly this is meant to be a joyous service, but the Scripture has things in order. The man who serves will receive joy. The man whose first priority is enjoyment will find grief. (Matt. 22:36-40; John 14:15; Romans 3:8-10; Luke 12:15-21; I Tim 5:6). Service of God involves many things which in themselves are not pleasant. Discipline and self-control are among these, yet the rewards are very great. (Prov. 19:18; I Cor. 9:24-27; Heb. 12:5-11).
As an example of a pupil prepared to serve we are given the model of Timothy, who was prepared to serve:
a. With genuine concern for others (Phil. 2:20-22).
b. Seeking Christ's interests and the interests and needs of Christ's kingdom foremost of all (Phil. 2:21).
c. With enthusiasm about the gospel (Phil. 2:22).
d. As one trained to expose falsehood and to teach truth (I Tim. 1:3-7; 18-20; 4:1-6; 6:3-5; II Tim. 2:17-21; 3:1-9; 4:3-5)
2. The implications of such a world and life view for the classroom are numerous:
a. We hold to stated General Objectives in the areas of Bible, Mathematics, Reading, Listening, Handwriting, Spelling, Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, Art, Physical Education, and Music which have as their intent the discovery and application of the Biblical principles relevant to each particular discipline.
b. We seek to promote good citizenship through developing an understanding of our Christian and American heritage of human dignity, acceptance of authority, and freedom defined by the boundaries of God's law. Our belief that the government is not to interfere with the Christian training of our children does not imply that Christians or Christian truth is to be divorced from civil government concerns. We desire our nation's lawmakers, leaders, and laws to be influenced and controlled by righteous principles in order that our nation might be exalted and true freedom might prevail. While Christians living distinctively and consistently for Christ cannot but bring change for the good within the structures of society, we cannot hope for lasting change in our society unless the people within those structures are themselves transformed by God's grace.
c. We believe that central to our Christian perspective of life is the fourth commandment with its obligation of work, rest, and worship. If a man does not work, he should not eat, yet this Biblical teaching does not leave us comfortable in selfishness, for God's people are commanded to be generous and ready to share with those who are in need, from the fruits of our own labor. This is our school's answer to both a greedy capitalism and a God-denying communism which robs individuals of personal property. (Eph. 4:28). While work is part of our God-created task upon earth, we are not to become slaves to our work, and thus given one day in seven which we are to keep holy in works of worship and mercy that we might be sanctified through our fellowship with God and His people. Thus strengthened, we are enabled to live holy lives at our task in our world the other six days. Because of our high regard for man's task to work and because we realize that God gives a variety of talents and gifts, we are concerned to provide the basis for preparing for all honest vocations.
d. We aim to develop in each student a balanced personality based on a proper understanding and acceptance of himself as God made him and on the full development of his capabilities in Christ.
e. Because all people are create in the image of God, and because from one person every nation of mankind comes, we shall do all we can to make people from every tongue, race, and nation in our community be welcome and be ministered to by our school. While our admission gives priority to children of Christian homes, priority of admission will never be based on race or ethnic background. (Acts 17:26; Genesis 1:26, Galations 3:28).
f. We aim to impart knowledge of the world and current affairs in all fields and relate them to God's plan for man.
C. The Nature of True Knowledge
1. Recognizing God as the Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer of the universe in Jesus Christ, we believe that He alone fully understands the nature and purpose of His creation. Because man is man and not God there remain huge areas of mystery for him. Also because man is a sinful creature in a fallen world, his understanding is darkened and by nature hostile towards God and devoid of true knowledge (Prov. 9:10). Therefore, we can have true knowledge about ourselves and our world only when our eyes are opened by the new birth to repent and believe in Jesus Christ and then pattern our understanding of this world after God's understand of it as it is revealed to us in the Scriptures.
God's personal control of the world is in accordance with His character. He acts in mercy towards man. He maintains the regular processes of the universe by His command. It is not that God has made everything to run like clockwork and then left it . He commands His creation to maintain its regular operations. (Gen. 8:21, 22; Jer. 33:19:26). Our observations of this regularity and of God's world in general are far from being exhaustive or perfect, for God is far above us; His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts. (Isa. 55:ff)
We can have true knowledge also because God has revealed truth in His word. God by His Holy word reveals Himself; renews man's understanding of God, of man himself, of his fellow man, and of the world; directs man in all his relationships and activities; and therefore guides His people also in the education of their children. Jesus Christ is the Word made flesh, the creator of all things, the redeemer of men fallen into sin, the touchstone of all truth, and the sovereign ruler over all areas of life. The purpose of Christian education is to better enable the student to appropriate the mind of Christ so that he might understand and respond to reality in accordance with Biblical teachings. (See Constitution, Article II, Section 2).
2. For the classroom this implies an academic excellence that:
a. Is bold to discover all available facts because we know that God will not say something different in this world than He says in His word.
b. Is humble at the limitations of human understanding.
c. Is eager to learn and motivated by the prospect that in God's world and Word there will always be more to learn.
d. Encourages the academic and personal spiritual growth of all students; it challenges the mature and advanced to greater excellence, to develop abilities in all stages of learning, and it gives the needed attention to the slower learner.
e. Involves instruction. The child does not have the capacity to discover all he should know by himself. The Scripture is very clear that the child does not have wisdom and maturity from birth. He needs to be taught. Childhood is not the stage of bliss and innocence. It is the stage of foolishness which the mature man has outgrown. The responsibility of the teacher or parent is to teach and discipline. (This point is repeated in Proverbs. Ephesians 6:1-4 is also relevant.)
III. To clearly define what we are it is important for us by contrast to define what our school is not. Our Christian world and life view will be antithetical to the current non-Christian philosophies which presently influence much of modern education which we summarize as follows:
A. Rationalism - When man tries to put himself in the place of God, he imagines that he can have the sort of comprehensive knowledge that God has. Knowledge and control are closely linked together. Man's desire to know is closely linked to his need to control the world. The world is a very threatening and frightening place for a man who rejects the providence of a merciful God.
The tendency in this situation is to reduce the world to something with which an can deal. This is evident in rationalism. The world is reshaped to fit the puny mind of man. Man needs something to be simple and clear if he is to be able to understand it. So the complexity of the world has to be reduced to a few simple ideas, principles, or laws. If all sciences can be reduced to mathematics, or if everything can be understood once we understand the simple working of the atom, than man has come a lot closer to reducing the world to what he can control by his own power. It is a power at one's disposal, irrespective of how one lives, irrespective of what God wants. It is a knowledge and wisdom that can supposedly exist without the fear of God.
Along with the tendency to simplification in rationalism there is the desire to divide things up into neat, clearly distinct units. Rationalism's dream of comprehensive understanding can be realized only if the complex world can be broken down into a series of clearly distinct and simple sub-units. Learning them becomes the learning of each of these parts which fit together into the whole. In this environment it is natural to break the field of leaning down into subjects and then these subjects into smaller internal divisions within a subject and so on.
There is much at is plausible about rationalism. There is a regularity about the creation and God's providential rule of it. This encourages the rationalist to think that his 'laws', that are supposed to describe that regularity, have said all there is to be said about creation. There are clear divisions within creation and the field of learning seems to fall naturally to subjects.
Unfortunately for the rationalist the world is more complex than his simple laws. Perhaps the best simple example lies in physics. There were high hopes that once the simple atom was understood, all physics and chemistry hence, all biology, psychology, etc. would be understood. The 'atom' proved far from simple. Learning may fall naturally into subjects but these subjects refuse to remain clearly distinct. They border on, and overlap, each other.
B. Subjectivism - As rationalism has declined so its logical opposite has flourished. Rationalism believes that the human mind is merely discovering the truth and order present in the universe. The alternative is to say that there is not truth or order (or none that man can know). What we take to be the order of the universe is merely the order that the human mind imposes on the world. The aim of education can than no longer be the achieving of knowledge of the world. Other aims replace it.
C. Romanticism - The impacts of both rationalism and subjectivism have been modified by a belief in the essential goodness of the child. Adult society and traditional ideas are what corrupt the child and stifle his learning. Hence, the child must be free to teach himself.
Once again there is a certain plausibility to those ideas. One can see many cases of children who have been stifled by adults. There are children who seem to have curiosity and a desire to learn. But one can also give cases of children who are their own greatest problem. Discovery learning techniques depend on the child bringing intelligence, curiosity, and motivation with him from home to school. Those who do not suffer under it, and we have another case where 'the rich become richer and the poor poorer.'
D. Evolution - The theory of evolution is a theory about development; the development of the whole animal and plant world. This is manifest when the attempt is made to relate the mechanism causing growth in knowledge in the child to the mechanism causing evolution in animals. An evolutionary psychologist, like Piaget, will attempt to understand the child's growth in knowledge on the model of the supposed evolutionary changes in animals. Since the environment and the animals response to the environment is what is claimed to cause evolution, so the child must learn by interaction with his physical environment. There is clearly no room here for the role of a human teacher. Further, if the child corresponds to the earlier stages of evolutionary development then verbal instruction has no place in the development of the child. The intellectual process of the child must be appropriate to that early stage. Logical reasoning is out of place in the early stages of evolutionary development.
Another characteristic of this whole way of thought is opposition to goal oriented education. The school of evolutionary thought dominant at the moment rejects any idea of animal development progressing towards a goal. It follows thus that we should not train a child towards a goal but allow him to develop through observation and interaction with the world around. That development will pass through certain stages just as life is believed to have developed through certain stages.
E. Humanism - All of the above trends fit broadly within the humanist movement. There is a particular doctrine of the humanist movement which has become prominent in recent education. That is belief in the complete autonomy of man. It is argued that any material taught by an authoritative teacher to the child or any discipline imposed upon him violates the sovereign autonomy of that child. Sometimes it is put another way and it is argued that the personality of the child will be damaged and his initiative impaired. In any case these approaches assume that man is meant to set his own standards and to develop within instruction and correction.
Another way this same approach appears in the curriculum is the belief that the curriculum must be organized around the child's experience. One cannot introduce material from outside of the child's world of experience. The child's world is assumed to be the only one the child can understand or be expected to understand. Man is once more made to stand at the center of the universe and information that would challenge the child's own self-centeredness is rejected.
Conclusion: With this purpose and basis for the educational philosophy of Westminster Christian School, we shall endeavor to build in our students a God-centered consciousness and help them to develop a consistent Christian philosophy of life by bringing every thought captive to Christ and His Word."
Excerpted from the preschool's website