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Educational Philosophy

School Philosophy

At Hinkletown Mennonite School we believe in the "Statement of Mennonite Doctrine" as stated in the school by-laws. This statement includes a belief in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, the nature of divine revelation, the purpose of the church in the world, and our relation to the world as Christians. A more specific philosophy regarding our belief about the process of education is as follows:

The school philosophy for Hinkletown reflects two major considerations. First, we view what we do as one part of a child's life under the larger plan of God's Kingdom on earth. Therefore, in every part of our planning, motivation, and actions, we view ourselves and the children as part of God's plan and purpose. Second, we believe we have the responsibility to provide an education that will help children acquire values and skills that will make their lives full and purposeful, ultimately leading to a commitment to Christ and service in His Kingdom. With these considerations in mind as guiding principles, the following statements reflect our belief about children, the role of the teacher, and what children are to learn.

How Children Learn

Children are individuals created by God. Each one is unique and precious to us as parents and teachers and to God as part of His creative act. God has planted in each child the desire to learn and a curiosity about his/her environment. Each child has developmental needs that must be considered in planning for his/her learning: i.e. learning in orderly sequences, moving from concrete to abstract, building on what is already learned.

A child's learning is maximized when his/her particular learning style is respected. All aspects of development are interrelated and must be considered in creating a learning environment. Learning is most effective when home and school work as a partnership to ensure that the child's basic needs are met. Children learn by experiencing success, whereas frustration and failure tend to reduce the desire to learn and lead to a negative self-concept. Learning that is intrinsically motivated (generated from within) is more lasting than learning that is extrinsically motivated (forced on from outside).

The teacher is responsible for planning experiences that are appropriate for the learning needs of each child. The role of the teacher needs to be that of a mediator between what the child is supposed to learn and what he or she wants to learn. By being sensitive as a Christian and skillful as a teacher (facilitator, manager or instructor) the teacher will help children value their own unique and special characteristics and the unique and special characteristics of others (we all need each other / I Cor. 12)

How Children are Taught

Students will experience a variety of learning activities and tasks such as manipulating materials, going on field trips, participating in class activities and being exposed to various media.

Students will be encouraged to strive for academic excellence according to their individual potential.

Students will be given opportunities to explore directed topics as well as topics of their individual interest.

Students will develop a healthy self-concept by becoming aware of their worth as a special part of God's creation.

Students will be provided with an environment in which they will see the importance of making the decision to commit their lives to Christ.

Students will develop understanding and appreciation of all persons (including those who belong to different social, cultural, and ethnic groups) through resource persons, assemblies, and special projects.

Students will be encouraged to develop good study skills that will assist them in their individual learning programs.

Students will develop a desire to learn and begin to realize that learning is a lifelong process.

It is our belief that children need to learn a sense of God's place in their lives and ultimately Christ's purpose for them as individuals. We also want children to look on life and service with anticipation and excitement. Children need to have the important reading, writing, speaking, listening, and math skills to deal with their world.

We believe that learning specific information is not as important in the long run as is developing the skill of learning independently. In addition, we believe it is important for children to be able to organize new information with larger concepts. In the process of becoming a caring and helping Christian, the child needs to learn the aesthetic (beautiful) and orderly nature of God's creation.

What Children Are Taught

Students will develop a working knowledge of the Bible and be encouraged to apply Biblical principles to their daily lives.

Students will develop an appreciation of Anabaptist understandings concerning the Bible and Christian discipleship.

Students will view the world with a global perspective and value the importance of Christian service.

Students will develop basic skills in language arts (listening, speaking, reading, writing) and mathematics (computation and problem solving).

Students will gain a better understanding of God's creation through careful examination of the science core (natural, social) and school-wide programs that stress stewardship of our world and its inhabitants.

Students will learn to appreciate culture and beauty through the fine arts core (music, art) and develop their creativity.

Students will grow in physical and emotional health and stability.

Students will develop critical thinking skills that will enable them to be open-minded, responsible world citizens.

Philosophy of Education

The philosophy of education at Hinkletown Mennonite School reflects two major considerations. First, we view what we do as one part of a child's life under the larger plan of God's Kingdom on earth. Therefore, in every part of our planning, motivation, and actions, we view ourselves and the children as part of God's plan and purpose. Second, we believe we have the responsibility to provide an education that will help children acquire values and skills that will make their lives full and purposeful, ultimately leading to a commitment to Christ and service in His Kingdom.

The curriculum is framed in the belief that each child has developmental needs that must be considered in planning for his/her learning: i.e. learning in orderly sequences, moving from concrete to abstract, building on what is already learned. Because God has planted in each child the desire to learn and a curiosity about his/her environment, in our curriculum we place high value on students' active involvement in the learning process.

Appropriate Instruction: It is a truism to say that the type of instructional activity that is planned for students should flow from the objective(s) that students are to achieve. Students need to experience and practice the behaviors we want them to learn.

The types of learning activities teachers are encouraged to use at Hinkletown are hands on and activity oriented. The reason for this approach is that people learn better by being active rather than passive learners. Young children especially, need to have concrete experience before they move to more abstract thinking. This is sound instructional theory, and an approach that is encouraged at Hinkletown. However, with this approach there are two considerations that should be kept in mind.

First, planning for student activity is, although more challenging and rewarding, more demanding than a teacher-centered class setting. Great care must be taken to organize, anticipate and to "think on your feet." The teacher needs to know the material and the children's learning needs and styles.

Second, there is a danger in the planning process to think up "fun" activities that may not have been connected closely with a teacher's instructional objective. In other words, the activity becomes the end in itself, rather than the means to an end. Large amounts of time can be spent on projects that go beyond original stated objectives. Thus, one must constantly assess the value of activities and bring them to closure when appropriate.