Christian-Based Education Community embraces Standing Stones academy
By Ron Sanzone
North Valley parents seeking a Christian-based day care and preschool for their young children now have a new facility.
Standing Stones Christian Academy opened the doors to its new 16,000-square-foot preschool in April. The school, located on North Valley Parkway in Phoenix, replaces a previous facility on the grounds of Standing Stones Church in Happy Valley.
Parents are already enamored with the new location, according to school director Sandy Saunders.
“They love the size of the building. They love the security,” she says. “They love the cleanliness.”
Aside from larger classrooms, the new building offers other improvements such as more restrooms, separate playground areas for different age groups and a 2,500-square-foot multipurpose room which can, among other things, be used as a play area when the weather outside heats up.
In addition to stimulating children with physical and social activities, the academy appeals to parents who want their children’s education to be infused with Christian values from an early age.
Prompted by a neighbor’s recommendation, Malia Wychoff recently enrolled her 18-month old daughter for day care at Standing Stones. She has not been disappointed.
“In my daughter’s class, the teachers are really nice and really seem to care about my daughter.” she says. “I like the idea that it has values for the employees and staff and they’re hopefully passing those values on to my kid.”
Theresa Flood, who has taught at the academy since soon after its former location opened four years ago, believes Standing Stones allows her to impart her personal faith-based values in a way that a public school cannot.
“It’s a place where I can teach the way I want to teach,” she says. “And by that I mean a lot more holistically, incorporating my beliefs into what I teach and weaving that throughout what I teach.”
Standing Stones’ new facility has the capacity to enroll several hundred students and is expecting about 300 of them for the new school year beginning in the fall. That figure includes preschool and day care. The academy does not distinguish the two from one another because there is a curriculum and instruction in both. In fact, interested parents can enroll their children at Standing Stones anywhere between infancy and the age of 5.
“They (parents) like the academics and the structure,” Saunders says of the day care and preschool offerings. “All of our classrooms are structured with academics throughout the day.”
Beyond the academy’s philosophical approach to teaching, Standing Stones’ new location in and of itself may drive up enrollment numbers.
“It’s in a really great area,” Flood says. “We are in a burgeoning area with lots of young families in developments popping up around there. We are going to be a wonderful go-to place for all these new families.”
As the school grows, so will the number of faculty. Just since the relocation, it has grown from 13 to 28. It will increase further, as needed.
If Flood’s experience is typical, then Standing Stones should not have many difficulties finding new instructors.
“It’s a wonderful place to work. It’s a great atmosphere,” she says. “I think that we have a really good reputation in the community…because everybody loves what they do, everybody loves being there, we love the children.”
Saunders believes a positive environment for staff translates into a lack of turnover and, ultimately, a better experience for students.
“We have people that are on their third child and the same teachers are here, and they’re requesting them and they just like that because they just know what to expect,” she says.
In addition to signing students up for the upcoming school year, Standing Stones is currently offering summer camp programs. Parents seeking more information can visit standingstoneschristianacademy.com or call 623-581-5680. Tours of the new facility are also available.