Faith Based Schools: Benefits and features. Q and A with Barb Bierman

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Combining solid academic programs with spiritual guidance, faith-based schools provide a balanced education.

Q: What are the unique features of a faith-based school?

A: All of the learning is influenced by faith, whether it’s Christianity, Islam, Judaism, or Sikhism or something else. Also, because many people from different countries and backgrounds tend to associate with each other, these schools tend to be culture-based as well as faith-based. With all subject areas, schools infuse the faith perspective and the cultural background into everything students do.

Q: What are the benefits of a faith-based school?

A: For families where faith is a priority, the school becomes a partner in helping your child develop an intimate understanding of and connection to their faith. But what’s also important and valuable is that it’s not about indoctrination—different theories, world views and ideologies are introduced and framed next to the student’s belief system. It’s important to do this in a country as diverse as this one, so that kids learn to become free thinkers and respectful of other faiths.

Q: How do I know if a faith-based school is a good fit for my child?

A: Parents have to look for what best matches the environment in their home. That may be a cultural, religious or pedagogical decision. They should be asking themselves, How does my child learn best? What sort of schools match up to our faith system? Parents also need to consider the spectrum of different religious orders. For instance, Christianity has several denominations, so they need to look into that detail when considering faith-based schools.

—Barbara Bierman, Executive director of the Ontario Federation of Independent Schools
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