God’s faithfulness and blessings upon the English Elementary Department of Grace Christian College are seen as it continues to grow in excellence through the years. From its humble beginning of roughly two hundred (200) students in 1950, the number of precious gems of the department has appreciably swelled to almost 2,000. The Elementary Department has the biggest population in school with almost all its graduates continuing their secondary education in the High School Department.
Following the school founders’ vision to establish a Christian school rooted in God’s words, the English Elementary Department offers a Christ-centered and Bible-based curriculum. It provides Biblically sound, Christ-honoring high academic standards to help each student realize his full academic potentials uniquely created by God. It aims to integrate spiritual truths in academic excellence to produce well-rounded, mature and Christ-like personalities who can be ambassadors for Christ in their homes, their churches, their communities, and their country.
The curriculum meets and even exceeds the requirements prescribed by the Department of Education. It is periodically reviewed, updated and enriched by the faculty and administration. The department follows a six-year curriculum covering six to nine content areas taught in a semi-departmental setting. Grades 1 to 6 have twelve subjects in all. As its mission is to evangelize its students, Bible is not only taught as a subject but is integrated in all subjects. The school uses the A-BEKA Curriculum in Reading, Language, Science and Bible while other subjects use textbooks by Phoenix, Vibal & other reputable local publishers. Regular review and revision of the curriculum as deemed necessary has made the curriculum dynamic, relevant, and updated to suit the demands of the changing needs of the times.
Teachers use a variety of innovative and effective teaching strategies and techniques to ensure active and enthusiastic participation of learners in order to bring about high quality results. Cooperative learning activities and special programs are also utilized to aid in the development of the students’ multiple intelligence.
To nurture the spiritual life of students, the school holds regular chapel period of 60 minutes once a week. The chapel period is appropriated for prayer time, praise and worship, testimonies, Bible stories, Scripture reading and other related activities.
Various co-curricular and extra-curricular activities are offered to cater to the different interests, abilities and needs of students from Grades One to Six. Options range from scholastic to spiritual to civic to interest club. The clubs are important part of the learning continuum; the activities address the variety of individual differences among the students. The choices are diverse and each has its roles in contributing towards enhancing, reinforcing, polishing, refining knowledge, skills, and talents of the students. The department makes sure that activities are complementary rather than overlapping, supportive rather than conflicting.
Math trainings are regularly offered to increase the elementary students’ competencies in Mathematics. These are handled by well-trained teachers who are members of the Mathematics Teachers Association of the Philippines (MTAP) and Mathematics Trainers’ Guild (MTG). Other skills- enhancing training opportunities available for the students are Summer and Christmas Camps in Math, Robotics, K’NEX, Arts; Music (Choirs and Orchestras); and other interest clubs. In order to foster unity and oneness among students and at the same time develop skills for competitive activities, intra-school competitions are held from time to time.
The department makes conscious efforts to instill in the students the value of service to the community. Projects like Christmas Sharing Campaign, Fund-raising for natural calamity victims, Environmental Conservation through Quest for Excellence Program, Share-A-Book, and visit to Orphanages, Home for the Elderly, and depressed areas are initiated to serve as opportunities to inculcate love, compassion, and service for the needy.
Students who have shown excellent academic capabilities and above-average behavioral patterns are grouped together and invited to join the Honors Class starting Grade Five. Members of the Honors Class are given advance lessons and activities to hone their skills and talents. Students who learn fast may likewise apply to join the Thomas Edison Gifted Program (TEGP), an individualized program designed to develop the abilities of students who are especially talented in Math and Science.
Special programs are available for students who need extra help in their academics. The Afternoon Enhancement Program (AEP) was started in answer to request of parents to help ease their burden in monitoring their children’s progress in school. Teacher-monitors supervise and guide students as they do their assignments and get ready or the next day’s lessons. They may also be sent to the Discovery Learning Center (DLC) for further assistance as needed. DLC provides a learning environment where students’ weaknesses in certain subject areas are addressed. Students who have academic difficulties or behavioral concerns are regularly counseled by teachers, guidance counselors, coordinators, supervisors and even by the president as deemed necessary.
There are three grading periods in a school year and the grading system used is averaging. Grades Bracketing System is used to recognize outstanding students, in line with the school’s program of giving the students a CHARACTER-BASED education. The school does not stress on skills alone, but more so on character as they are taught and trained to grow in knowledge and wisdom. With the Grades Bracketing System, each child is encouraged to set a goal for himself, to constantly strive to do better, to compete with himself rather than with others. Each student concentrates in doing his best in any given task. In the process, desirable character traits like diligence, patience, and responsibility are developed. Students are motivated to study harder, to develop their potential to the fullest, and to gain self-confidence and eventually, to EXCEL in everything they do. Medals, certificates, scholarship grants, tuition assistance, and other incentives are likewise given to students who excel in their academic &/or non-academic performances.
Parents are kept informed of their children’s progress not only through the Report Card given at the end of every grading period, but also through other means like Parent-Teacher Conferences held every grading period, student’s learning portfolio, Assignment Notebooks, individual conferences and appointments, and phone calls confirming the role of home-school partnership in the success of each child’s education.
Every school year, the Center of Educational measurement (CEM), an independent testing center, conducts achievement tests for all students to evaluate their academic competence level and standing and to assess how they compare with performance of students from other schools. The department has consistently received national recognition for being among the top performing schools in the country since 2002.
Grace students have been recognized consistently and prominently in local, national, and international competitions. Top honors and awards have been awarded to many elementary students in various Robotics competitions like World Robotics Olympiad, International Robotics Olympiad; Math contests- Philippine Australian Mathematics Competition (AMC), ASEAN Primary Math and Science Olympiad, World Math Competition, China Primary Mathematics Olympiad; and other fields of interest- “Idol Ka Kid” Spelling Bee, National Quiz Bee, Manila Downtown YMCA Annual Children’s Art Contest, International Competition and Assessment for Schools in Science and English (ICAS), National Music Competition for Young Artist, Filipino-Chinese Amateur Athletic Federation Movement (FCAAF) Basketball, Swimming, Table Tennis, Track and Field Tournaments to name some.
The department works hand in hand with other departments in promoting high standard of faculty and staff through its development programs. Regular Bible studies are conducted to promote spiritual growth of the teachers, staff, coordinators and supervisors. All faculty and staff attend a two-week in-service training program in preparation for each coming school year. There are also refresher courses and special trainings held during the school year to enhance teaching and working skills among its personnel. Annually, the school conducts leadership and education convention, which are also offered to other schools, and where highly competent and qualified resource speakers are invited to share their expertise. Teachers are also sent to out-of-campus special trainings to gain new insights and to be updated on the trends in education. Continuing education for personal and professional growth among its faculty and staff, either through graduate studies or special courses are also encouraged and supported.
In its pursuit of excellence, GCC Elementary Department first submitted itself to voluntary accreditation in 1990 through the Association of Christian Schools, Colleges and Universities - Accrediting Council, Inc.(ACSCU-ACI). Since then, it has applied and passed re-accreditation and now has the distinction of being among the first Elementary schools granted a status of Level III Accreditation in 2009. Currently, the Elementary Department is enjoying the 5-year Level III re-accredited status granted in the year 2019. This recognition challenged the school to continually work on raising the quality and standard of education it provides.
God’s grace and blessings continue to be evident even as we approach the threshold of our school’s 75th year. God’s name is lifted up as Graceans continue to draw accolades for achievements earned.
With unwavering faith in God, GCC Elementary Department shall continue its commitment to strive for academic excellence that is integrated with Biblical truths as we lead our students to become future global Christian leaders … ALL FOR GOD’S GLORY!