Jamie Tipton’s 6-year-old daughter, Tayler, sat on the floor of her office Thursday at Calvary Baptist Church, munching on chips and reading a VeggieTales book.
Tipton said she’s proud of her daughter for her independent learning nature and love of reading.
Soon, Tipton will be the director of an entire school of young learners like Tayler.
The church will offer the campus-based Calvary Baptist School for the 2010-11 school year.
Tipton said the school will focus on kindergarten through third grades the first year, but hopes to expand up to 12th grade in the future.
She said about six children have officially enrolled in the school, and she expects several more to make commitments over the summer.
Tipton, the Calvary Baptist School’s administrator, said the process of starting the school has gone as smooth as she hoped, with no hang-ups or roadblocks along the way.
It was as if it was meant to be, she said.
“The Lord really handed it in my lap,” Tipton. “We moved here six years ago, but I’ve been going to this church for about one-and-a-half years.
“It was my understanding this was something the church wanted for a long time. The church felt a calling.”
Pat Jones, an administrator of the church’s homeschool program, said the evolution to a campus-based school is a natural progression of the church’s community service.
“The Bible mandates that everyone is responsible for educating their children,” she said. “But these days, so many people work. Homeschooling is a really good, useful alternative, but these days a lot of people really need those two parent incomes. This gives families a comfortable option.”
More than 30 homeschool students use the church as their base for independent learning. The curriculum is based on the Accelerated Christian Education program, which Jones said is used all over the world.
The new campus-based school will also utilize the ACE program, which integrates Bible themes into reading, writing, math and science lessons.
Many of the enrolled kindergarten students come from the Eagle’s Nest Preschool, which is also a ministry of Calvary Baptist.
Jones said the students study 60 character traits that they learn to incorporate into their lives.
Diligence, temperance, responsibility and purposefulness are just a few of the traits ACE students will know as second nature by the time they graduate high school, she said.
Tipton said Linda Knoche, a former Sunset Elementary School librarian and Calvary Baptist member, was hired as the kindergarten teacher.
Jones said she has known Knoche for several years as the children’s church class teacher.
“She’s had that dream,” Jones said of Knoche’s support of opening the school. “She has that natural love in her for kids.”
The school will be in a large basement room, where volunteers have helped knock down a wall and prepare the classroom for school in August.
Tipton said she is also able to help out in the classroom as an aide if necessary.
Throughout the summer, she plans to work on enrollment, student handbooks and other organization tasks as the excitement over the first school year continues to build.
“I saw some kindergarten graduations this year and I thought, ‘We’re going to be having our own graduation next year,’” Jones said. “I’m already really excited.”