Filling a Need within the Christian Community

Filling a Need within the Christian Community

By Marialice Quinn

Heritage Christian Academy began in 2001 as a ministry of the Church of the Nazarene in Winter Haven. “Feeling a need within the community, we began with preschool and kindergarten the first year and slowly added grades,” said John Scott, school administrator. “We wanted to pursue a classical approach to education, and felt this was a need the church was able to undertake. Currently, we have kindergarten through sixth grade and 3-4-year-old preschool.”

Heritage Christian Academy is training students with academic excellence to think sharply and communicate clearly. “Classical education seeks to instruct children at the age where they are best able to learn,” said John. “Students are taught the fundamentals of each discipline, how to think through each discipline and how to express their thinking on each discipline. The classical curriculum model equips students with the tools and love for life-long learning.”

This three-pronged approach, known as the Trivium, is pursued at all ages; but each prong is emphasized successively to match the students’ development. They begin during their grammar years with a focus on memorizing and mastering important basic information in creative ways such as songs, chants or repetitious learning games.

During the middle school years, the focus turns to how to think, reason and evaluate logically using such methods as debates, discussions and examinations of arguments. In high school, students learn how to communicate clearly and persuasively using a variety of methods, including drama, thesis writing, mock trials and apologetics.

Latin, one of the basic fundamentals of a classical education, is taught from grade three through eight so students are well grounded in language. “We want our students to be well-read and we want them to be articulate,” said John, “to be able to describe what they think and believe.”

Heritage Christian students are taught from a Christian worldview perception. “We want our students not to just learn the Bible,” said John, “but we want them to understand what it means to be a Christian; what’s the difference between a Christian worldview and a different kind of worldview.”

Plans for Heritage Christian Academy include adding seventh- and eighth-grade classes in 2013. “Our goal is to continue on into middle school and high school,” said Randy White, Chairman of the church school board.

“Even though the Church of the Nazarene has sponsored the academy, we are a community-based and Christian-based school,” explained Randy. “We have worked hard to reach out to the other churches whose membership may want an opportunity for their kids to get in a great Christian-based program. We’re getting involved in the community, getting businesses and people who believe in our curriculum and program to be a part of our support base.”

“We are a ministry of the Church of the Nazarene,” said John, “and our purpose is to minister to the community. If someone is looking for a church, our doors are open; but that was never our priority in starting the school. Our staff and faculty come from a variety of religious backgrounds, and are chosen because of their excellent teaching abilities.”

“We teach our students to know who Christ is,” continues John, “to become effective leaders and influencers as they grow up in the churches they attend. That’s the design of HCA – that we can effectively impact the community of Winter Haven by shaping students. We want to teach our students not only how to become a Christian, but what it means to be a Christian in community, in relationships, in leadership.”

Heritage Christian Academy is located at 244 Avenue D SW, Winter Haven. For more information, contact the school office at 863-293-0690 or office@hcawh.org.

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