Perks of Ada Christian School: Small Class Sizes, Budding Mentorship and a Commitment to Fine Arts
Ada Christian School prides itself in constantly adapting to better serve its students. From outdoor education to the latest technology trends to enhanced fine arts focus, Ada Christian School is an exciting place where kids grow academically and spiritually.
Their small class sizes, as well as inter-grade connections and support make Ada Christian a place where students feel safe and known. Here, they can be curious. They can be creative. They can try new things.
Small Class Sizes Develop a Close Community at Ada Christian School
One of the reasons Ada Christian can adapt to new ideas and standards is because of their small class sizes. If a teacher or staff member has a great idea, their student:teacher ratio makes it easier to implement. The average class size at the elementary level is 18-22 students, and averages 22 students in the middle school grades.
This smaller size also makes for a close, supportive community where every student feels known. From the front office to the specials teachers to kids in other grades, each student is seen at Ada Christian and has a large, loving community.
“It’s so nice,” says Principal Melissa Brower. “Even our specials teachers know all of the kids. They get to know the kids and the kids get to know the teachers.”
A first grader could be walking down the hall and that fourth grade teacher looks at them and addresses them by name. That student isn’t just appreciated in his own grade, but by the entire school.
And remember how awkward middle school was? Suddenly entering a new school with new expectations and a host of teachers you’ve never met before? This doesn’t happen at Ada Christian. At this school 5th and 6th graders have the same teachers, and 7th and 8th graders as well.
“It’s wonderful for middle school especially,” shares Melissa. “You can walk into a classroom as a 6th grader you already know your teacher and expectations.”
“Buddies” Program Teaches Kids how to be Mentors
In addition to the teachers and staff knowing each student, Ada Christian fosters inter-grade relationships as well.
One of the big favorites at ACS are class buddies. Each grade is partnered with a different grade in the building, and together they do service projects, encourage each other, and inspire each other to learn.
“The fifth graders have done the Jesus project, where they talk about their faith and share their testimony with second graders,” says Melissa. “Sixth graders put on a science lab for the kindergarteners, and for 100 day, the 7th and 8th graders come together to show the K-1 students what a group of 100 people looks like.”
Whenever there’s a chance for the grades to work together, Ada Christian dives right in. And the kids love it. It’s a regular thing to hear a student point at a child they see at recess or after school and cry excitedly, “there’s my buddy!”
Younger kids get a peer to look up to, and the older kids get a chance to be a positive force in a younger student’s life.
Fine Arts Programming is Woven Into the Whole Learning Experience
Children are extremely expressive, so allowing them to explore their education through art helps them grasp concepts in life-lasting ways. In addition to regular art class starting in young fives, Ada Christian students see art coming into their classroom and extracurriculars. Students work in a variety of art mediums, from visual to music.
“We talk about educating the whole child – mind, body and soul,” says Melissa. In order to add visuals to this mission statement, the school invited local artist Joel Tannis to interview each student, asking, “what does it mean to educate the whole child, mind body and soul in christian community? What does it mean when we equip students for service in god’s world?” Tannis then took their answers and created a beautiful mural that told their story.
“Not only did kids help create it, but they can help to tell the story, too,” says Melissa.
First graders start composing their own songs. Third graders learn to read sheet music. Eighth graders put on a musical every year, which is an opportunity to put on a large production. Kids have band, choir or orchestra throughout their time at Ada Christian.
“When you hear 60 third graders play ‘You are my sunshine’ on the ukulele, your heart melts!” says Melissa.
Throughout school kids study different visual artists and learn different techniques from them.
“One of the things that I love with our visual arts is the art teacher Zac Wanner works very closely with teachers to try to bring art into the classroom,” Melissa shares.
“How he works to connect their artwork with the things they’re studying is wonderful.”
If they’re studying a certain country, Mr. Wanner will bring in different artists or painting techniques from that country or era. When kids study indigenous peoples, they make clay pendants and clay beads. When they study the woodlands they make little bears.
“Our kids compete in regional, state and national art competitions,” adds Melissa. “Artwork has traveled through Michigan and some students had art travel from museum to museum thoughout the U.S. They’ve been very successful.”
Ada Christian Grows Students Through Hobby Exploration, Technology and Outdoor Education
“Faith. Strong.” Clubs
One of the most unique things that Ada Christian does is host “Faith. Strong.” Clubs. If a teacher has a hobby they want to share with the school, they can host a six week after school club for any interested students to learn.
Kids are so often interested in an activity one day, and then be over it and onto something the next. Often right after mom or dad paid for a class on that first activity. With “Faith. Strong.” clubs, students can dive into whatever interests them to see if it’s something they’d like to pursue long term, or if they’d rather try something else new. Students have been able to learn about chess, robotics, drama, knitting, creation care, duathlon and service opportunities through these clubs. And since these clubs are open to all grades, this is another chance for children to interact with an even larger part of their school community.
“It’s so fun to have the kids with teachers that they don’t normally have. It reaches all kinds of interests for the kids and is a great opportuity for teachers to build relationships with kids and kids to connect with one another.”
Technology Integration Coaches work side-by-side with teachers and students to aide instruction and enhance student learning with technology at Ada Christian. There are iPads in kindergarten workstations, a modern computer lab, elementary laptop carts and one-to-one laptops for 5th-8th grade students.
These all offer opportunities to learn how to use technology in age appropriate ways. Learning appropriate technology use is critical for children growing up in our high tech world.
Outdoor Education Program
Ada Christian’s Outdoor education program has enriched both the school and the wider community. In summertime, locals can stroll the garden and trails while enjoying the sights and sounds of goats, chickens and wildlife.
In this outdoor program, students respond with wonder and awe as they spend time in God’s creation learning about our Creator and his world. Integrating outdoor education with their traditional curriculum offers students real and practical experiences as they engage all of their senses in learning.
Call Ada Christian to Schedule your Tour Today
Ready to see all these amazing things for yourself? Ada Christian would love you to tour the indoor and outdoor grounds that they’ve proudly built. Chances are, you’ll want your kids to make Ada Christian part of their learning journey. Call them at (616) 676-1289 or connect in one of the ways below.