In April of 1959, a school society was organized by the members of the Loveland Protestant Reformed Church. This was just ten months after the Loveland church had been accepted into the Protestant Reformed denomination. The five-member school board immediately began work, and worked diligently through the next two years. The board decided that two rooms in the basement of the church, which is an old school- house, could be used for a school. These two rooms were cleaned out and painted, and blackboards, a heater, and other necessities of a school were added.
In September of 1961, the school became a reality, and Miss Ruth Kuiper became the first teacher. Under her were seven students in grades one, two, three, and five, with one student unclassified according to grade. At the present time, the school has an enrollment of six, and Mr. Tom DeVries is the teacher. The third grade has two boys, the fourth, a girl and a boy, the sixth one girl, and one student, who is mentally retarded, is not classified in a specific grade. The students live in widely separated areas: one ten miles to the north, one ten miles to the south, one in Loveland, and three live on a nearby farm.
The school very much reminds one of the old country school which we ourselves or our fathers possibly attended. One room is used as a classroom, while the other room is used for reading and science experiments. Singing and Bible are the only classes which are incorporated into one. Most of the students’ work is done independently, since the teacher has little time to devote to one grade for a long period of time. The subject compliment is generally the same as that of our Protestant Reformed schools in the Grand Rapids area. The educational standards are equally as high as the other Protestant Reformed schools, and are higher than the local public schools.
Many interesting things can happen in a school of this type. When just three students are ill, half of the school is missing. At recess time the two girls have a hard time adjusting to the boys’ rough games, although they can generally hold their own. The water supply, which consists of a cistern and a hand pump, often freezes in the winter, so water is brought in bottles from home. The local farmers’ dogs, which are attracted to (or by) the children are quite numerous, and for about one-half year the school boasted three cats, which lived in a large shed in the school yard. In front of the school is a large irrigation canal which balls are mistakenly thrown into, and carried downstream. When this happens, the teacher is summoned, and the ball is retrieved, sometimes as far as a block away.
A person might think that a school of this size would be very impractical and almost out of the question. However, the very opposite is true. Christian education, specifically Protestant Reformed education, is a necessity, and it should be the calling of each of our churches to see that this education becomes a reality. The people of Loveland have shown that this calling should, and can be realized, even though a school may be very small and seemingly insignificant. A small school can be just as practical and efficient as a large one; this is clearly illustrated in the Loveland Protestant Reformed Christian School.