The mission of any fundamentalist school is clearly to mold and shape young, impressionable minds into being the next generation of fundamentalists. Of course this is expressed in phrases like “building servant-leaders” or “preparing the next generation to win the world” but in reality the motto is always the same: “trying desperately to keep our separatist sect alive.” And so on the first day of school, a fresh new band of recruits heads into Mrs. Miller’s K-5 Class to begin basic training as soldier’s in the Lord’s Army.
The lessons taught in fundy kindergarten are not all that different from those taught in kindergartens anywhere else except that while doing their math and Phonics-based reading curriculum the little girls wear dresses, the little boys wear clip-on ties, and the threat of corporal punishment (whether at school or back at home) always lingers in the air. There are also daily prayers, lessons on the great evils of selfishness and sloth, and Bible verse memorization.
That last one gives, perhaps, one of the greatest insights that into the priorities of both fundy schools and fundamentalism in general. For rather than memorizing verses that are full of the Gospel, most fundy schools instead for a steady diet of law and moralism for their youngsters. “Get them guilty and keep them that way” could be the theme for just about any class.
“Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.”
“Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right.”
“Be sure your sin will find you out.”
“Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.”
Somehow we never got time to memorize this one:
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…”
By the time a child graduates from a fundamentalist K-5 they are well on their way to establishing a cycle of inadequacy and performance-based spirituality that will stand them in good stead for the rest of their fundy lives.