ACADEMICS

At Muskegon Christian School we are committed to academic excellence as we seek to help each student develop their God-given abilities to the fullest potential, enhancing their ability to shine in all they do in order to bring glory to our Heavenly Father.  Our program offerings include both traditional and Spanish Immersion classes.  Programs are available for students as young as 2 1/2 and we partner with Western Michigan Christian High School to provide a complete PK – 12th grade education.

PAGE QUICK LINKS

Pre-K
Kindergarten program
Surround Care
Elementary program
Spanish Immersion program
Project Based Learning
Educational Support Services
Student Support Services

Early Childhood Programs at MCS

Our Early Childhood Programs at MCS provide a warm and loving environment centered on Christ through which a child becomes familiar with a classroom setting and develops an excitement for learning.  We offer an introduction to the Spanish language as part of these programs as well, as research shows that an early introduction to a new language has a positive effect on intellectual growth and gives a better ear for listening. (A full Spanish Immersion Program is offered at MCS Kindergarten – 6th grade).
Each child is a unique individual with different gifts, talents and paths of development, so we offer a number of options.

PRESCHOOL

Preschool is designed for three and four year-olds who are ready for their first experience at school.  Our certified staff provide a learning environment where children will experience free play, circle time, literature, music and movement, and daily development activities in a way that challenges them academically, emotionally, socially and spiritually.

Preschool Objectives

  • Spiritual Development – We will learn about God’s Word and his World through stories, song and prayer. We want to help each child to grow in their faith and knowledge of God every day!
  • Learning Through Play – Children are given lots of opportunities to cut, glue, paint, dig, pour, build, climb, pretend, sort, examine, sing, and much, much more!
  • Academic Learning – We introduce many academic concepts including science, math, and language while developing large and small motor skills.

Preschool Options for 2017-2018:

  • 2,3,4 or 5 days for three & four year olds
  • Half day option (8:15 – 12:00)
  • Full day option (8:15 – 2:50)

Call the Muskegon Christian School office at 231-773-3221 or email us to learn more about Preschool Options!

PRE-KINDERGARTEN

The Pre-Kindergarten program is designed for four and five year-olds preparing to enter kindergarten the following year.  The focus of this class will be kindergarten readiness.  Students must be 4 years old by September 1 to enroll in a prekindergarten class.

Pre-Kindergarten Objectives

The program’s learning and kindergarten readiness goals will challenge its young learners at a higher developmental level than those in preschool and complement – but not duplicate – either preschool or kindergarten. Along with learning through play, we will focus on objectives such as:

  • Spiritual Development – Listen to stories from God’s Word, memorize some of his words into our hearts, sing praise to Him, and learn about how much He loves us!
  • Social Development – Learn to cooperate with others, follow directions in a respectful way.
  • Language and Literacy – Identify letters and sounds of the alphabet, develop cognitive and critical thinking skills through reading aloud and oral language experiences.
  • Motor skills – Strengthen hands for fine motor development, hold a pencil properly, work on proper formation of letters and numbers.
  • Math and Science – Count and identify numbers up to 29, identify shapes and patterns, learn calendar information, make ‘volcanos’, experience nature, learn about animals, and more!

KINDERGARTEN

Our Kindergarten and Spanish Immersion Kindergarten programs meet full days Monday through Friday. Students must be 5 years old by September 1st to qualify for Kindergarten. Spanish Immersion students follow the same curriculum standards as their English counterparts. Please see our Spanish Immersion page for more detailed information about our Spanish Immersion programs.

Kindergarten Objectives

  • Spiritual Development: We want every child to learn who God is and how much He loves them! We will learn Bible stories, memorize Bible verses, participate in daily devotions and prayer, and participate in our all-school weekly Praise services and Family groups.
  • Reading Readiness: We’ll focus on letter formation and spacing, letter sounds, sounding out words, sight words, literature and language experiences, shared reading, journaling and more.
  • Math Readiness: Your child will learn patterns, shape and size attributes, position and comparison words, counting forward to 100, counting by 2s, 5s and 10s, recognizing patterns, time to the hour and ½ hour, money, measuring, graphing, estimation, addition and subtraction
  • Social Skills: We will focus on relating in a loving, Christ-like manner and will work to demonstrate politeness, kindness, sharing, acceptance, respect, and responsibility while developing independence.
  • Extra Curricular: physical education, music, library, field trips, art, school programs and festivals.

Is Your Child a “Young Five?”  Wondering Which Program is Right for Your Child?
Even though the cut off for Kindergarten is September 1st, we are happy to meet with you to evaluate what options at MCS will be the best fit for your child. Every child is unique! We offer flexible programming to help best fit your child’s academic needs and offer 5 day (half or full day) options including surround care.  For more information, please call the Muskegon Christian School office at 231-773-3221 or email us.

SURROUND CARE

We know that parents are busy and many families have both parents working outside of the home. We offer before and after-school care from 7:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. for children ages 3 through 13 that ‘surrounds’ the school day.

We offer:

  • Certified staff
  • A safe & nurturing environment
  • Care available on half days (beginning at 11:30am) and snow days
  • Combined programs & full time Early Childhood packages available
  • Cost: $3.75 per hour; discount for additional children

ELEMENTARY PROGRAMS

Kindergarten – 6th Grade

Elementary school isn’t just about learning the basics. We want our students to have the chance to grow their abilities in a wide variety of areas.  At Muskegon Christian School, we cover the core areas including Math, Science, Language Arts, Social Studies, Bible and also offer:

  • Specials: Spanish (K-6); Technology (1-6); Art (K-6); Music (K-6); PE (K-6); Band (5-6)
  • Spanish Immersion programming, beginning in Preschool and Kindergarten and continuing through 6th grade.  Our Spanish Immersion students are able to maintain and develop their Spanish language skills at our partner school Western Michigan Christian High School in grades 7-12
  • Project Based Learning in all grades K-6th
  • Educational Support Services Tutoring and gifted programming for qualifying students
  • Extra-Curricular opportunities such as Lego League, Destination Imagination, and other after school clubs

Curriculum

Our curriculum is not textbook dependent, but based on the knowledge, skills and the Christian perspective that we want the students to acquire.

  • We have a K-12 Director of Curriculum who oversees and develops our curriculum. We are on a 5-year cycle of reviewing each of the curricular areas.
  • At MCS, we pride ourselves in exceeding academic expectations, while teaching and applying a Christian perspective in all we do in and outside the classroom.  We use standardized testing such as ACT and SAT scores and other State and National standards as we develop a Christ centered and academically challenging curriculum.
  • Northwestern Education Association Measures of Academic Progress (NWEA-MAP Test): Standardized test scores support the fact that MCS offers a high quality academic experience. While we do not make standardized test taking a focus of our curriculum, MCS consistently scores well above the average and is consistently the highest or among the highest in the area.

SPANISH IMMERSION PROGRAM

A full Spanish Immersion program is available at Muskegon Christian School for students in Preschool through 6th grade. Our program allows parents to have their elementary students taught from a Christian worldview in an entirely Spanish-language environment!   MCS Spanish Immersion students will develop strong English language skills as well, with time spent in learning in English gradually increasing from 3rd grade up through graduation in 6th grade.  We use the add.a.lingua grade level framework to structure our curriculum, and Spanish Immersion classrooms follow the traditional MCS curriculum in all areas. 

Why Immersion at MCS?
Spanish Immersion fits both Muskegon Christian’s mission and purpose: Commitment to excellent academics that go beyond state standards; inclusion of every student in Christian education as enrollment reaches capacity; engagement of students and staff in God’s global society; and the practice of sound fiscal decision-making that advances the objectives of MCS.

Spanish Immersion builds a bridge to another culture. As part of their curriculum, SI students experience cultural celebrations of Spanish speaking countries such as Las Posadas and Día de Los Reyes (Three Kings Day).  These experiences increase cultural awareness and sensitivity in our students.

At the heart of intercultural learning is learning how to hear…Loving the stranger is not about putting up with the inferior ways of others; it involves realizing that I am a stranger too”.  – D. Smith, Learning from the Stranger, 120

Learning a second language is proven to give students:

  •   Increased cognitive and social skills.
  •   Cultural understanding.
  •   Improved native language ability.
  •   A head start in language requirements for high school and college
  •   Increased job opportunities for many careers in which knowing another language is a real asset.

Muskegon Christian School Wood Family in Ecuador

My son Jesse, a 5thgrade SI student at MCS, has been writing letters in Spanish to our Compassion International sponsor child David for years. Last fall, our family went to Ecuador to meet David.  This trip really opened my eyes to both the effectiveness and value of the Spanish Immersion program at MCS!  Learning a different language will open so many more doors for my children to serve Him for the rest of their lives!” – MCS mom, Faith

 

Spanish Immersion Kindergarten Song

Spanish Immersion 2nd Grade Song

 

PROJECT BASED LEARNING

MuskegonChristianSchool_Computer_for_Project_Based_Learning_ProgramProject Based Learning (PBL) challenges our students to be innovative leaders! PBL requires teacher guidance and team collaboration, so very little project work is done at home. Key to PBL is the goal that the students will assume responsibility for their own learning and can assess themselves on the checklist at different points in the process.  PBL gives students opportunities to learn by asking them to investigate an interesting and complex question, problem or challenge and to create something in response.
This model changes the focus from teachers being just ‘Information Transferers’ to our roles as ‘Designers of Experience’ centered in our identity in Christ.

Project-based learning involves students in real work, with a real need, for a real audience.  Employers in a recent study say that they value people who can:

  • Think critically and solve problems
  • communicate effectively and work well in teams
  • innovate and be creative
  • take initiative and be responsible

PBL is multi-disciplinary (like the real world), includes 21st Century skills (like collaboration and use of technology), answers a driving question, stretches inquiry and requires a presentation.

What Do Students Learn With PBL?

What we don’t want in PBL is lots of ‘1st drafts’ and mediocrity:  we want students to dig deeper and become masters of a subject using the language of what they have learned. A Project Based Learning project should result in beautiful work that is characterized by complexity, craftsmanship and authenticity.

The basic steps of a typical PBL project would include:

  • Launch – The teacher defines (often with input from students) an engaging, challenging problem or question for students to investigate.
  • Investigation – Students learn the knowledge and skills needed to address the problem or question.  The teacher provides resources and lessons.  The students may talk with experts from outside the classroom.
  • Creation – Students develop their solution to the problem or answer to the question.  They often create a physical object, a display, media project or an event.
  • Demonstration – Students share their work publicly with people beyond their classroom.

Each project will have a checklist of features (a rubric) describing the success criteria, and teachers will plan lessons that teach skills and content needed to complete the project.

Austin’s Butterfly” is a great example of the goals of students critique and revision in the PBL model, click here to visit Austin’s Butterfly website.

Our sixth grade students recently began their projects with the question:
“How does WHERE an organism live shape WHO it becomes?” 

They then worked in teams of Botanists, Behaviorists, Environmentalists, and Biologists and made a list of questions of what they’d look for as those scientists while observing an environment.  The students learned that there is much to be determined about the environment of an animal based on the waste it creates (like looking at an owl’s pellet).  They also looked at the plants in their studies, researching via computer the environments and adaptations plants make.  They had to research what part of the world their species would thrive in and study habitats.

Young people are hungry for learning that they find meaningful.  Project Based learning is a philosophy of education that recognizes our created, purposeful natures.  God has designed each of us with unique gifts that we can use to engage with and learn from our world

Their studies concluded with designing a “hypothetical” animal that would be ideally suited to its environment, and creating a diorama of it.  Each group had to come up with 20 questions to ask a “panel of scientific experts” and present their animal and habitat to the experts.
“The students were so engaged with the curriculum and came up with some fantastic ideas together”, says teacher Liz Morrison.  “They (the students) really took their roles as experts in their fields seriously and dug deeply into the study of habitats”.
“Young people are hungry for learning that they find meaningful.  Project Based learning is a philosophy of education that recognizes our created, purposeful natures.  God has designed each of us with unique gifts that we can use to engage with and learn from our world”, says administrator Dan DeKam.  “Research has proven that students involved in PBL enjoy learning and in turn “own” their learning.”

For more information on Project Based Learning, we encourage you to check out the Buck Institute for Education CLICK HERE

EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT SERVICES

In accordance to our mission and in recognition of our academic diversity, our Educational Support Services (ESS) teachers partner with classroom teachers, parents and other professionals in order to ensure students are reaching their full learning potential.  We offer a range of services at MCS, including tiered support for students with disabilities as well as our Passport to Learn Program for gifted and talented students.

PASSPORT to LEARN

A self-directed learning program to challenge high-potential students in grades 3-6 to develop the following skills:

  • Communication
  • Creative thinking
  • Critical thinking
  • Higher-level thinking
  • Inquiry
  • Leadership
  • Problem solving
  • Research and independent stud
  • Faith integration

I’m so glad we chose MCS and so thankful to have your teachers surround [our son] and help him to grow in his faith walk and social walk.  You helped to turn the tide for him and us.  Thank you for the role you played.

–Parent of former MCS student

MCS EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT SERVICES

Educational Support Services (ESS) at MCS share a vision of inclusion for all students to learn with their peers. ESS teachers work alongside classroom teachers to create and implement interventions to support students’ learning gaps as well as small group and individual instruction to address specific needs.

The MCS Educational Support Services offer:

  • Small group instruction
  • Individual instruction
  • Goal setting
  • Accommodation Plans for students with a diagnosed disability
  • Educational Support Plans for students with a diagnosed disability and more significant needs
  • Monthly review of student needs through the meeting of student success teams
  • Referrals for educational evaluations through Muskegon Public Schools
  • Speech, Occupational Therapy, and Social Work services provided through Muskegon Public Schools