Learn & Grow: Kirk Day School
Kirk Day School in Town & Country is committed to helping young people become 21st-century learners with a strong grounding in faith. That means paying attention to the needs of the whole student, mentally, physically and spiritually, according to head of school Taylor Clement. The independent Christian preparatory school welcomes children ages 3 through sixth grade, and weaves a sense of character and teamwork into every fiber of its curriculum.
“The need we’re seeing among younger children is to change the learning experience so they can be more creative and collaborative,” Clement says. “We know schools have to adapt continually, but we don’t want to lose important Christian truths and world perspectives. So we implement an interactive curriculum viewed through a faith-based lens.”
Clement says this commitment reaches into every corner of the school, including its physical environment and teaching methods. “For example, we know that rooms and furniture have an effect on children’s ability to learn, so we have created spaces that encourage mobility and collaboration,” he explains. “Students’ ability to retain and share information is exponentially greater if they can move, interact and be part of the lesson instead of just sitting at a desk. We have students with individual learning needs, so our classrooms also include items like therapy balls and wobble stools to engage their minds more effectively.” The school also features a lively, comfortable common area where kids can work on group projects.
According to Clement, there’s a strong emphasis on subjects like science, technology, math and the arts to help children develop fully. The average class size is 15 students, so each child receives personal attention and learns how faith underpins every aspect of life. “Our goal is to make sure kids see the connection between spirituality and academics,” Clement says. “Learning where Christ is in every subject creates a deeper sense of meaning in everything they do.”
He adds that the faculty are held to high standards in the nurturing of young minds. “Our teachers understand students as individuals and challenge them when needed,” he says. “The faculty creates a comfortable environment where everyone feels safe, loved and ready to learn.” There’s also a special emphasis on supporting parents in their role, according to Clement. “We partner with parents and are a professional resource for them,” he notes. “We offer podcasts, speaker sessions, educational programs and published articles to help them see how kids develop communally and individually.”
All of this allows Kirk Day School to create a vibrant learning environment with gratifying results, says Jennifer Rush, director of admissions and advancement. “We are well known for our strong academics,” she notes. “More than 60 percent of our sixth-graders test into honors math and English programs, and this year, 73 percent of our graduates achieved academic honors. The student body has grown 25 percent in four years, and the St. Louis Business Journal ranks us among the area’s largest private elementary schools. We believe it’s because our school addresses students’ individual needs and teaches them a love of learning.”
Kirk Day School is an independent Christian preparatory school in Town & Country for children ages 3 through sixth grade. For more information, call 314.434.4349 or visit kirkdayschool.org.
Cover design by Allie Bronsky
Cover photo by Kelly Johnston of Relic Photography
Pictured above: Kirk Day School students learn in a collaborative environment.