Church program teaches children more than just the Bible

Published 7:26 pm Thursday, August 24, 2017

At First Baptist Church, education begins as early as 2 years old.

The church is gearing up for its Wee (Weekday Early Education) School, a preschool that strives to give young children a Christian-based education while also preparing them for public school, according to Reggie Baker, director of the Wee School.

“You can obviously teach x’s and o’s and ABCs or 123s using Star Wars, or you can use biblical characters. We’re using biblical characters,” Baker said.

The program gives young children the chance to blossom both physically and spiritually, he said. Baker said the school will use the A Beka Curriculum, a program designed to inspire learning through Christian values. Baker said the program will teach young children basic social skills that will prepare them for more advanced schooling, while keeping Jesus Christ as the focal point.

Baker said the teaching styles are age appropriate — as 2-year-olds will be taught more social skills and 4-year-olds will be taught more reading aspects.

“Most of the time, 2-year-olds are more about socialization. Learning how to share, how to follow directions, how to coexist with other children, as opposed to letters, numbers and colors,” Baker said.

It can also ease the transition from home life to school life for a young child. Baker said it’s important for children to enter school without needing mom, and the school can act as a good stepping stone.

“It’s to be able to function pretty much without mom there to crawl up to in her lap every second,” Baker said. “It’s just beginning to expose them to what the world is going to require and expect before they actually get to public school.”

Parents benefit from the Wee School as well, according to Baker. He said sending a child to this program can help moms and dads ­work through normal parental anxieties. The experienced teachers and directors are able to give parents some extra comfort about their child, or offer advice on what to work on at home.

“There are a lot of insecurities — ‘Am I doing this right?’ or ‘What does this mean?’ (as parents). There are lots of questions that everybody has; it’s a natural thing. You need someone who has been experienced. Many things alarm parents, and they need to be reassured,” Baker said.

It also gives children exposure to other children outside of the home at a young age, according to Baker. He said in the past, children were raised with multiple siblings, and they can learn a lot that way. In a time when families only have one or two children, it’s important for children to have outside interaction.

“They are at a distinct disadvantage if they don’t have some type of avenue to be exposed to others,” Baker said.

Baker said years ago, the reputation of preschool was much different. He said the expectations of children entering public schools have increased over the years, and preschools can be a relaxed atmosphere where children can prepare for the years ahead of them.

“Pre-school now is almost a necessity. A child going to school for the first time at 5 years old, they are far behind. Two generations ago, they were not,” Baker said.

Wee School begins on Sept. 5 at First Baptist Church at 113 N. Harvey St. One-time registrations fees are $90 per student. Children must 2 years old on or before Aug. 31.