SHAWNEE, Kan. — A new private Christian elementary school will open its doors to students later this fall. Shawnee Nazarene Academy is now accepting applications for the 2021-2022 school year.
The new school is located inside the Shawnee Church of the Nazarene at 5539 Quivira Road.
Justin Shonamon, chair of the Shawnee Nazarene Academy School Board, said the church is starting the academy after launching a successful preschool program in 2007.
Based on the pillars of family, fitness, education and leadership, the academy puts faith and community service at the heart of its curriculum.
Staff hopes to have 15-20 students enrolled in classes for the first year. Shonamon said the school will focus on younger students during the first year, with plans to expand with more grade levels as those initial students progress.
“We would love to have a couple classes worth of kids. We are starting with a kindergarten and first grade class then as we get more kids for the older age groups we will start filling those in,” Shonamon said.
Shonamon estimates once the school reaches capacity, there will be roughly 60 students enrolled in Kindergarten through the 5th grade. Shonamon’s daughter Mackenzie was the first student to enroll in the academy.
“We just see the many benefits of a slightly more creative variety of education.We see how active she is and how energetic she is and we don’t want to stifle that by sitting in a classroom all day,”Shonamon said. “We can give her a chance to move, to be a kid. We know how that sets her up to do even greater learning than what’s capable in a lot of other scenarios.”
The school is designed with a more hands-on learning approach. Students will learn reading, writing, math and participate in Bible study daily, with multiple breaks scheduled throughout the day for recess and physical activity.
“One of the things that really sets us apart is we know that kids do their best learning right after physical activity,” Shonamon said. “It sets up their mind as a spongy state, so we try to do physical activity, intense learning, physical activity, intense learning. It keeps the kids much more engaged in the activities and we’ve seen in so many different ways it provides a better learning opportunity for the kids.”
COVID-19 precautions have not yet been solidified for the upcoming school year yet. Shonamon said staff will review CDC guidelines and update the policy as it gets closer to the start of the school year.
“We have at our church, and it kind of tags in with the school, a Mindful Measures committee made out of people who are medical professionals,” Shonamon said. “It’s a good group of people to help us think through that [plan] as the time comes.”