For religious families, a faith-based education ensures continuity in your child’s home and school environment. A school that aligns with a family’s religious identity will encourage the development of a student’s faith alongside rigorous academic growth and improvement. While the decision to pursue a faith-based education often stems from a family’s existing belief system, some families choose religious schools because of their high quality, academic rigor, small student-teacher ratios, and commitment to parental involvement.
“A religious education helps children grow up feeling valued, worthy, and supported by God and a loving community,” says Sara Godwin, director of Apple Tree Christian Preschool and Kindergarten, a nonprofit organization that is part of the Broomfield United Methodist Church (UMC). The school focuses heavily on social and emotional development in all programs, and while a Bible curriculum is used to enhance and impart learning within those arenas, all children and families are welcome at Apple Tree. “Broomfield UMC and Apple Tree’s philosophy is ‘Jesus loves you, no strings attached,’” says Godwin. “That really is it, in a nutshell. Everyone is welcome, no matter your belief system. We want you here.”
Likewise, Holy Family High School welcomes students of all faiths, with 14 percent of the student body identifying as non-Catholic. Regardless of belief, the learning environment is top notch, with more than 85 percent of the faculty holding advanced degrees. These disciplined instructors employ a holistic approach to student development – something any family, regardless of faith, can appreciate when it comes to education. “We place the student experience firmly at the center of all our work,” says Holy Family principal Matt Hauptly. “Our students are surrounded by people who genuinely care about them. As a result, it is highly empowering, and our students thrive because they feel at home and at ease.”
Holistic student development is also a key component at Vista Ridge Academy, a preschool through 8th grade private school in Erie. Their small classroom sizes ensure personal attention from teachers and encourage high levels of family involvement in each student’s education. “We want parents to feel they are valued and a part of their child’s educational journey,” says Sandy Hepp, director of early childhood education at Vista Ridge. “Through our Christ-centered community and personally attentive teaching philosophy, we nurture the unique talents of each student as learners and leaders – aiming to grow confident minds, strong bodies, and loving spirits.”
A faith-based education not only creates plentiful opportunities for families and parents to be involved in their student’s educational experience, but most religious schools encourage and nurture that involvement. At Sacred Heart of Jesus, the school “acknowledges parents as the primary educators of their children,” says director of admissions Heather Elhardt. “Our goal is to create robust partnerships between home and school to support families in their quest for academic success.”
The prioritization of this engagement, along with the academic rigor and religious support provided by a faith-based school, are reasons that many parents choose to pursue these educational opportunities for their child. Regardless of your belief systems, faith-based schools present a valid option to consider for your child’s education future.
By Emma Castleberry for Raised in the Rockies