By Betsy Kester, Curriculum Coordinator at Redeemer School

Every school system and every educator has a philosophy or understanding of who they believe the child is and thus, how that child will be treated. Will he be engaged and enriched as a whole, imaginative, thoughtful person or treated more as an empty vessel waiting to be filled up with facts in order to be made complete? Will she be treated respectfully in times of conflict and taught to resolve issues or will she just flip a card or sit in detention with the heart of the matter never being dealt with?

How can I tell what the educational philosophy of my child’s school is? First, ask the leadership and ask the teachers. Also, ask the teachers if they are able to act and make decisions in accordance with their beliefs. Second, observe. Every decision and action made in a school is because of who the administration believes they are in the life of the child and family, the teacher is to the child, and who the child is in the world along with their capabilities and limitations. The school’s philosophy will influence the curriculum, teaching methodology, the relationship of the school to society, and how students are managed.*

Why does this matter? Don’t the large systems of schools that have been around for years always know best? Not necessarily. Often classroom pacing, activities, and assessments in many schools must be based on arbitrarily set goals for large groups that do not meet the needs and strengths of the individual student and the interests he or she may have. Cultural issues and controversial topics may not be taught in accordance with your family’s beliefs. Students may be disciplined in ways that are unfair or that simply whitewash the problem without truly resolving the deeper issues that may reside. Yet there are schools that do have small class sizes, meet the needs of the individual and seek community within the classes and families. Schools that use creativity, imagination, and quality literature to explore nature, science, math, history, and the arts.

Now is the time to consider the options you have. Often parents are afraid to leave the comfort of the box they’re in – the predetermined school that seems right for everybody else, so it must be right, right? But when you reflect upon the questions posed above, does your child’s school make the grade? If not, step out and explore your options – it may be the best choice you’ve ever made for your child and family!

If you would like to learn more about Redeemer School and what it has to offer, please call 336.724.9460, email  or


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