Since humankind's chief and highest end is to glorify God (Isaiah 43:7), the highest possible achievement for any child is to understand and obey God's plan and purpose. The Bible, the inerrant Word of God, directs parents to prepare their children to live godly lives. We believe that the school is an institution which provides assistance to parents in fulfilling this responsibility, thereby supplementing and/or complementing the training that child receives at home.

            We believe that together the home, school, and other aspects of a child's experience educate the whole child in his preparation for adulthood. Since a child cannot be separated into isolated components, the school experience must address each of these interrelated components in educating a child. These areas include:

1.Spiritual - A child's relationship with the personal triune God, the Bible, the understanding of the nature of God, and an understanding of the spiritual nature of this world and humankind. (Romans 12:1&2)

2.Intellectual - The God-given attributes of a child which enable him/her to master foundational academic tasks (i.e., reading, mathematics, spelling, language, writing, etc.)

3.Social - Interaction with others, both adults and children, in groups and on an individual level. (Ephesians 6:4)

4.Emotional - The part of the child that identifies, understands, and deals with his/her emotional states as well as how a child feels about himself (self-esteem).

5.Physical - Abilities of a child to master gross motor and fine motor skills in the framework of the child's ever-changing body.

            Therefore, each child not only has individual strengths and weaknesses, but also exhibits change and growth in each of the above areas. Because of this, we believe a developmental approach to education (i.e., assessing each child's development on an individual level) is essential to maximize the potential of each child. (Proverbs 22:6)

             We acknowledge that God has planned individually for every child, and that His plan has allowed adults, parents and teachers, the privilege of serving Him in the raising of children. We desire His guidance for all that will be done to fulfill our responsibility to educate children.

(Deuteronomy 6:1-3; Titus 2:1-8)


ADOPTED:May 3, 1983


AMENDED:  July 15, 1997

REVISED:      November 6, 2000

The Center’s Belief about Developmental Education

          Developmental education is a set of guiding principles not a set of practices, curriculum, or style. It is a commitment to the understanding that growth and development happens in children and adults along a continuum, in an orderly fashion, and, although somewhat predictable, is individual in nature. This simple statement has huge implications as to how we address learning, or view children.

            First of all it implies that we must understand the orderly nature of the developmental process in order to guide, shape, and mold children’s education. We must know how current development fits in the context of where a child has been and where he is going. Without that, it becomes directionless or education without a purpose. It is a difficult process. Research is becoming clearer, but is still somewhat confusing on the path that development takes. This implies that we must first study the general traits of developmental states, and then be able to assess children in that context. (i.e. understanding that learning social skills at the preschool level is a general developmental characteristic for preschoolers, therefore necessitating programming to address this issue.)

            Secondly, this assessment must address where a child is in the context of what we consider normal development. For the adolescent developing a sense of independence, we must be able to understand what is normal individuation at that age to be able to assess whether students need encouraged to develop more independence, or challenged to slow down the individuation process to a level they can handle. Once again, it is difficult.

            Thirdly, this assumption of developmental nature includes a holistic view of children. By this we mean that students not only grow at different rates from others, but that they may be growing at different rates on each of the five areas of development within themselves. So we must assess a child’s cognitive, emotional, social, physical, and spiritual development in the context of themselves, but also developmental milestones for their age group. The concept of critical periods of brain development are essential for us to understand. However, in the early years, teachers assess all five areas plus individual students’ learning styles, strengths, weaknesses, and potential before placing students in groups where they have the most opportunity to become successful. An important goal of developmental education is training the student from being dependent to becoming independent learners who go on to become productive members of society and reach their God-given potential.

            Fourthly, it is assumed that certain practices are more practical for a variety of areas of development. Therefore, almost any instructional level can be developmentally appropriate to some area of development. Once again, we would think about general developmental principles matching certain areas of cognitive growth. For example, lecture is not appropriate for a preschooler, because of the cognitive processes required for that style of learning (attention, formal operations, etc.). However, appropriate amounts of lecture are developmentally appropriate for older students. It is the matching of these instructional styles to the developmental periods of learning that is the art of teaching.

            Finally overlaid as guiding principles along these dimensions are certain principles that relate in different ways to each developmental stage, and each style of instruction. They are:

integration: when learning fits together it is much more likely to be retained. Active learning: When learning is active (more so physically in the early years and active cognitively in older years) it is much more effective. Development must be stimulated externally as well as internally driven: Students and adults grow and learn naturally in many ways, but also at times need stimulated from external sources as well. It is the art of developmental education to understand our roles in each. To get preschoolers to play is not difficult, but for most of us to learn times tables it required some outside stimulation.

            In the context of individual instruction these concepts are relatively manageable. But what about managing the process for 15 children all with 5 areas of development. It seems difficult. But if grouping becomes a comprising of individual needs along individual subjects, we have found that the process becomes more manageable. Not perfect, or ideal, but committed to the principles of developmental education.

Adopted: August, 2002