At Covenant Classical Schools and Daycare, young learners grow into gifted students.
By Lauren Lockhart
To develop something wondrous, it all starts with planting a seed.
“How do we show trust and care to one another?” poses John LaBreche, the CEO of Covenant Classical Schools & Daycare here in Birmingham, Ala. “Let’s start at a very young age—planting those seeds so that the tree has fruit for tomorrow.”
At its four locations across the Magic City, Covenant Classical Schools & Daycare establishes roots in a values-driven education, allowing its little learners to develop strong minds and good character. For the past 15 years, the school’s Christian-based education and advanced curriculum have drawn local parents looking to provide their children aged 6 weeks to second grade with a strong foundation for their future.
“We have a shepherding attitude and spirit towards the children,” explains LaBreche. “We’re in an educational environment that’s done in a Christ-like way.”
LaBreche explains that these non-denominational Christian principles are incorporated into the school’s curriculum in a multifaceted approach. Each week, classrooms focus on a different Bible characteristic and coinciding Bible verse. As the students get older, the schedule includes a daily Bible study amongst students and their teacher.
“At four and five years old, our kids’ Sunday School teachers can’t believe how much they know,” says LaBreche. “We want to develop a habit in the children, so that they have that Christ-like character rooted in them.”
At the foundation of Covenant’s curriculum is a classical method of schooling, a traditional Latin approach that focuses on the “trivium,”or the three learning stages of grammar, logic, and rhetoric.
“Being classically-minded and considering the age of children we provide care for, we focus on the grammar stage,” says LaBreche of the early learning institution. “Grammar is the stage in life for obtaining knowledge, and young children have an incredible ability to absorb information.”
In this classical approach, Covenant emphasizes the memorization of key facts amongst its young students, so that as they grow older, they can begin to discover the concepts behind those facts. This educational method has served the school well over the years. Says LaBreche, “Our pre-K and kindergartners memorize all 50 states and capitals, all the presidents, every book of the Bible, all disciples, the 10 Commandments, and they usually memorize at least 30 different Bible verses.”
This breadth of learned knowledge generates measurable academic success amongst the Covenant student body. Most of the school’s kindergartners read on a second grade reading level, and the SAT average for the school ranks in the 98th percentile.
“In April, we had one little girl miss one SAT question out of 212,” LaBreche explains. “She was in kindergarten.”
The academic success of Covenant’s students certainly speaks to the school’s intensive workload. The school’s rigorous curriculum, however, is crafted in a way to keep students engaged and interested throughout their learning process.
“We’re very structured,” says LaBreche. “But we’re not military style by any means. We have lots of fun—most of our class time is accompanied by learning games to reinforce the concepts taught. We’re constantly mixing it up so it’s not just the same thing all day.”
Despite its proven success, LaBreche explains candidly that a Covenant education is not for all students; the children that thrive at this school are ones that naturally socialize well with other kids and are a part of the Christian faith. And while Covenant wholly incorporates Christian principles into its curriculum, it boasts a student body of varied faiths. LaBreche tells the story of one student’s family in which the parents practiced a different religion and disagreed with the school’s teachings. They were considering pulling their son from the school because of this.
“They thought about it, and then they came back and said ‘He is doing so well in school; his behavior has been so good. We’re okay with it’,” says LaBreche. Their son continues to receive a Covenant education to this day.
The quality education that Covenant Classical Schools and Daycare provides its young students has been so valued by parents, that the school is proud to be opening two new locations in Birmingham. A Homewood school will open in January 2015, and a new building focusing solely on babies aged 6 weeks to 2 ½ years will open at the current Trace Crossings location later this year.
As the Covenant school system grows, LaBreche expresses his gratitude to lead a team so instrumental in this explorative, educational time in a young child’s life.
“It’s all by God’s grace,” he says. “And we’re just a small part in the story. We’re able to make a huge influence on our students’ stories now that will echo into their future.”
For its young students, Covenant Classical Schools and Daycare is planting the seeds—seeds of knowledge, strong values, and a yearning to learn more—seeds that will develop something wondrous.
This story is sponsored by Covenant Classical Schools and Daycare. To learn more about the school, visit their website at ccslion.com