The First Baptist Church in downtown Kamloops is now housing a unique school — the First Baptist Classical Academy.
A first of its kind in B.C., the academy opened its doors in September with 20 students and two certified teachers for students enrolled from kindergarten to Grade 5. The academy hopes to add a grade each year.
“Classical schools may be a rarity in Canada, but there are lots of them in the U.S.,” First Baptist Classical Academy principal Kyla Bleyenberg said. “Ours is an independent school with no government funding, but adheres to all standards that the education ministry requires.”
Bleyenberg said the vision for the school began in 2012 as several families in the congregation were interested in starting it.
Two years ago, the academy had classes twice per week and the ministry’s requirement of a minimum of 10 students was gradually met. In the summer, the building was inspected and approved.
“The church is all behind it. As a matter of fact, our church board functions as the school board as well,” Bleyenberg said.
In addition to core subjects, classical education emphasizes other subjects not normally found in other schools.
These include literature, in which students read and interact with the great thinkers of Western culture, and classical languages, such as Latin and Koine Greek, which open up the classical world to students as original languages of the Bible are planned for the curriculum.
The academy also incorporates rhetoric so students can pick up the art of speaking beautifully and persuasively.
“We believe that Jesus is the Lord of heaven and earth, and in teaching the word, or Bible, not only as its own subject, but also as it commands every other subject,” states the First Baptist Classical Academy’s introductory brochure.
“It means pursuing education with academic rigour, high scholastic standards and good moral discipline. … But fundamentally, it means our school is a place of grace, forgiveness, humility and joy — the only way anyone can come to understand Christ and appreciate the world as it actually is.”
The academy is located in the First Baptist Church, 454 Columbia St. downtown. More information is available by calling 250-828-6222 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.