In a word, Zion educational philosophy can be best categorized as perennialism. Perennialism is the basic educational philosophy that undergirds all teaching at Zion Lutheran School. Perennialism is a grouping of traditional philosophical ideas. One key belief that separates perennialists from other philosophies is that truth is not subjective or relative, especially when it comes to the existence of God. Philosopher and theologian Thomas Aquinas made the following observation: “a person should acquire as much knowledge as possible through the use of human reason and then rely on faith in that realm beyond the scope of human understanding.” This statement clarifies how Zion, as a Christian school, teaches secular subjects and incorporates the Christian faith where necessary. For example, when mathematics is taught, we don’t try to artificially make a subject “Christian” by making all word problems relate to Bible stories. Rather we teach the subject using the best resources and techniques available. If and when classroom discussions venture into spiritual realms (and they often do!) then we take these opportunities to talk about what the Bible says concerning it.
Other schools that are perennialists at their philosophic roots are: the Core Knowledge schools, Classical Model schools, and schools that promote a “back-to-the-basics” approach. It is no coincidence that the teachings of John Dewey, the progressivists, and the many fads in modern education have led to the current state of American education that largely lacks rigor and accountability. At Zion you will find that your child will receive an education that is developmentally appropriate and this has been proven year in and year out for the last 89 years. Former Zion students have gone on to be valedictorians at Kearney Public High School, have been accepted at West Point Military Academy, and one has even been the personal assistant to President George W. Bush! These and others are just a few examples of students who have used the tools and skills that Zion helped lay the foundation for.