By SAMANTHA JOHNSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on August 13, 2022.
The Accelerated Potential Christian Academy will open its doors on August 29 for the first intake of students across five classes: Junior Kindergarten (3-4 years), Kindergarten (5-6 years), Grades 1-2, Grades 3-4 and Grades 5-6.
“What we are offering is very unique, even Alberta Education is impressed,” said Principal Mary Printz. “Based on our numbers, wherever they fall, we’ll create another class as needed. We have a strong program and people know us through our tutoring program (www.missmarysapa.ca) and understand we get higher than expected outcomes, especially in reading, writing and math.”
Families Printz has been talking to are excited about the program being offered by the school, which focuses on individualized learning.
“Every single child gets their own, individual program plan,” explained Printz. “We look at their dominant intelligence and the way they learn. We really focus on the whole child and their individual needs because we can have a strong academic program, but we also need to look at their emotional intelligence, we need to look at how they are doing socially, relationally and physically. We are a very holistic program.”
A four-day school week (with optional activities on Fridays), small groups and targeted instruction leads to accelerated learning. Various therapists – speech, occupational and physical – will come into the school throughout the week.
Students have access to a gym and a 12-acre outdoor playground. Every subject is divided by a mini-gym or mini-movement break.
“That is strategic so that when they come back to learning, they are ready to focus,” said Printz.
The school is aiming for 40 students during the first year but can take 50.
“There are some classes we will keep smaller based on the type of students,” stated Printz. “Our goal is to cap them at 10 students per class.”
Getting each child to reach their full potential involves challenging them but not to the point of being overwhelmed, she said.
“We stretch them a little bit and if a child is ready and achieves that goal, we stretch them a bit more. They are always engaged because it is challenging them at just the right level so they aren’t sitting around waiting. We want them to be excited about learning,” explained Printz.
“We offer small class sizes, individualized programming, emotional intelligence, and the spiritual component, which is instrumental. Our spiritual focus this year will be gratitude and research shows people that are focused on gratitude are affected cognitively, and physiologically.”
Joy in learning is a key area of focus at APCA. When a student is laughing and having fun while they are learning, it decreases stress hormones and allows the student to be more receptive to information and better able to retain what they are being taught.
APCA is not an affiliated with any specific religious denomination, although one aspect of their program is spiritual health of the individual. Right now, they are teaching up to Grade 6. The school is approved to Grade 9, but Printz wants to build up the school slowly. Tutoring services will still be available next year as it is important to Printz to continue offering that service to the community.
As it is a private school, there are fees. A couple of families are raising money for their children to attend the school. Those interested in more information can check out their website at apcacademy.net or attend an open house.
APCA is having two more open houses, both from 1-3 p.m. The first will be on August 15 and the second on the August 22. There is also a parent information night on August 22 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. The school is located at 4072 Strachan Road SE within the Glenview Nazarene Church.