You might have noticed that Redeemer Classical is very different from most other kinds of schools. That’s on purpose. We joyfully offer a different kind of education for a different kind of child and a different kind of family.
Here are just a few examples of our distinctions, and some of the reasons we have thoughtfully chosen to take the path less traveled. Come travel it with us!
1. Daily Matins
We’re not aware of any other school in Fort Wayne at which students attend a daily half-hour Bible reading, instruction, prayer, catechism, and hymn-singing service called matins. It’s a little like daily devotions, only with other believers and following Christianity’s historic structure for daily morning spiritual discipline.
Daily matins means Redeemer students read through large portions the Bible every year, and are exposed to great theologians and theological ideas, as we often read excerpts of their works. We also memorize key Bible verses, hymns, and a form of theology 101 called a catechism. To top it all off, matins includes a brief lesson from the pastor.
Some Christians do these sorts of practices on their own, but doing it together with other believers in matins makes it more likely to happen, and every single day. It’s like hiring a personal trainer for your body. Only this is spiritual training to help your soul become more fit, which is infinitely more important.
We even bolster matins with theology classes Pastor Petersen teaches the older children. You really can’t get a much better Christian education than this.
2. Running a Lap Every Morning Before Memory Training
If you linger a few minutes before leaving church after matins, you will see Redeemer kids racing around the building, pigtails flying and faces gleaming. It’s funny and fun, and it gets the kids’ minds moving right before they dive into their classes.
Redeemer teachers use several unconventional tools like this to help students’ bodies and minds harmonize, because research shows that exercise makes you smarter. Those tools include our custom-designed standing desks. Unlike some other schools, we respect that little kids can be wiggly, and that movement is an important and natural part of their brain development. We work with this need instead of against it, while not sacrificing academics. This leads to better behavior, better physical fitness, and happier kids (and teachers!).
3. Teaching Attention and Self-Discipline
Our teachers have extremely high standards for behavior and attention, because people who can’t pay attention can’t learn or love. But we don’t just demand good behavior from kids, we start with where they are and help them achieve more.
One way is creating natural outlets for their wiggles like standing desks to help our students focus better on school. Other ways include clear and consistent character and behavior instruction to maintain a unique school culture of respect, discipline, and attention.
Students get used to these high expectations. They can and do meet them. And they take pride and delight in their growing self-control, because it sets them free to do the right thing more often. That’s the kind of adult we consciously help them become.
4. Grouping Students By Ability, Not Age
Every parent and teacher knows that children do not all develop or learn in the same ways and at the same pace in the same subjects. This is normal and natural. People are not widgets.
Yet most schools still group children according to their age rather than their specific personal needs. Yes, there may be gifted or special needs classes, but teachers still typically have a wide range of abilities who are supposed to work on the same material, and it can be very difficult for teachers not to teach to the average or the neediest students, leaving others with less attention.
At Redeemer, we instead group children by their ability and needs, and give each personalized instruction in small groups. Our small class sizes help. This means, for example, that just about every student in our school is at a different place in math. Most are ahead of their “grade,” but how far differs by child. Rather than hold them back with an artificial label like grade level, we set them free to fly as high as they can.
5. Mixed-Age Classrooms
Mixing student ages also eliminates the social stigma of being “too old” or “too young” for a specific grade. Our students don’t care what grade somebody boxed them into, they care about achieving their personal best, and this sets their sights much more accurately than towards people who happen to share a somewhat similar birthday.
6. Students Clean Up After Themselves
At the end of each day, Redeemer students clean up their classrooms before going home. Each student is responsible for a different task each week, such as sweeping the floor or clearing the chalkboard. It only takes five minutes.
Students also clean up after themselves in the lunchroom, tossing out their trash, vacuuming and sweeping the floors, and wiping off tables before the head out to snag a little extra recess time.
We do this for many reasons. First, because students are capable of cleaning up after themselves, so they should be expected to. It also teaches personal responsibility, care for others, and good habits of order, cleanliness, and attention. Plus the kids think it’s fun!
7. We Have an Open Door Policy For Parents and Visitors
You might be surprised to hear this, but it can be difficult to get a visit to many schools, even when your child is enrolled. Instead, we have an open-door policy for parents and visitors. That’s because we are confident in our curriculum, teaching style, and philosophy. We are excited to share our very different style of education with anyone who wants to see it!
We also believe that God gave each child to his or her specific parents as a trust and a treasure, which means parents are the ultimate directors of their family lives. So we exist to serve parents, not to sideline, demean, ignore, or subvert them. Parents are welcome to visit any class, any time, and our headmaster is at their disposal to discuss their child and his or her specific needs and make plans for meeting them.
We are also happy for any interested parent to see what we are doing. We are an open book because we are confident our substance and style are the best for children, and have been proven by centuries of experience. If you want to see if Redeemer is a good fit for your child and family, visit classrooms while they’re in session during one of our spring open houses, or set a custom time for your visit. Find the details here.