The school year continues to unfold for our new Praise Academy in Allendale/Lakeside. Eight students attend the school and they range from fifth grade down to pre-school. “We’ve been organizing and re-organizing our schedule as we understand more fully what works best for our students,” said Joan Pingel, head of school. The staff, Joan Pingel, Colleen Bowar and Kevin McShane, has developed a set of routines that that proven very helpful for the students. “The kids weren’t accustomed to routines and it’s been really helpful for them to know the daily routine. They’ve come to depend on it,” said Joan.
The staff recently instituted a time for free play. The students needed some help to begin to use their imaginations for play. “It took a little coaching but it’s been wonderful to see how play time has awakened their imaginations,” Joan said.
Another highlight for Joan was teaching a six year old to write his name. He arrived for school this year with no experience with letters but had a real determination to learn how to write his name and though it took some time and a lot of effort, he succeeded. It took much more time and effort than the student expected, but that yielded some real improvement in his interest in learning more things and his determination to push through some harder work.
The school day begins with faculty prayer at 7:15 am. The school provides breakfast for the students at 8:00 am followed by group morning prayer. The morning is divided into two class sessions separated by a time for physical education. At noon a neighbor comes and prepares lunch. In the early afternoon the younger students have a nap time and class time continues for the older students.
The CIM team pitches in to help out in a variety of ways — preparing breakfast, picking up kids for school, and helping out where needed. “This school is a full CIM effort,” said David Zimmel, coordinator for the CIM team. “It has been a real blessing to the team (and the Shreveport branch) to be able to help so much with the school. I think everyone on the team is helping out every week, and most of branch is helping in one way or another. Working with our kids in the neighborhood has always been one of the big ways we experience serving Christ, but it is just wonderful to be able to help out every week and to be a part of something that has started so well. It is also amazing to see the dedication, creativity and expertise of teachers. They are working terrifically hard to get this started and it is really impressive."