On 28th January 1993 the Rarotongan Christian Centre (AOG Church) was granted a one-year probationary license to operate their own private school. This was the first private school to apply for registration since the independence of the Cook Islands. The school was founded by Mike and Judith Sadler, and the vision of Pastors Tevai & Upoko Matapo. The name Imanuela means Immanuel and Akatemia is a coined Maori word for Academy. The school was set up using the Accelerated Christian Education (A.C.E.) curriculum provided through Southern Cross Educational Enterprises in Brisbane, Australia.
Preschool students develop pre-reading skills prior to commencing the ABC’s learning to Read programme, using phonics at its base and incorporating whole of word recognition. On completion of the ABC programme, the students work on Independent Learning Programmes in their core subjects: Math, English, Social Studies, Science, Word Building (Spelling), and Literature. They are supported by a teacher who gives them one on one tutoring, as needed, each day. Students work from workbooks called PACEs, each book being a unit of work. All student aim to complete 12 PACE books in each subject being the equivalent of one year’s academic work. Students do not progress to the next year level by age, but they move to the next year level by mastering the learning at the previous level.
Secondary School students continue on independent learning programmes initially covering the core subjects at years 7 – 10 and branching out into higher disciplines as well as Christian Studies, Keyboard Skills and various electives. Students complete A.C.E. courses to earn credits for their academic certificates at year 11, 12 and 13. The Year 13 certificate is recognized as an entry standard by all Universities in New Zealand. Since the programme is individualized, students work at their own speed and at their own level. No student is left behind nor is anyone held back from achieving their potential. The curriculum is also quite versatile in that if a child needs to go away from school for any length of time, the child’s education picks up exactly where they left off.
The aim of the school is to provide a Christian environment, curriculum, individualized learning and an academic and spiritual balance to educate the children so that they may not only cope with the ever changing world, but to have the ability and character to produce some of that change themselves. For the past 25 years the school has remained operational with support from the AOG churches on the island, human resource help from local and overseas volunteers, huge fundraising efforts and minimal school fee charges. The school commenced its life in the Arorangi AOG Church premises. In 2005, the much awaited building project began with the gifting of a piece of land in beautiful Muri to the school by the Kauvai-Foster family. It seemed things were finally happening and everything was coming along fine until June, 2005, when Mike Sadler, the founder and Principal for the school since its conception in 1993, unexpectedly passed away. This brought much stress and heartache not only to the staff and community of the school, but to the student body as well. However, God sent Ken Francis to take the reins for the remaining terms of the year. He, with his fatherly approach to situations was able to bring stability to the school and worked hard to get the school registered and its staff their Limited License to Teach Certificates. In October 2005, the school moved into its new premises. Also in the same year, Imanuela Akatemia was granted full registration by the Ministry of Education as a provider of quality education. However, before registration was given, certain requests by the ministry had to be fulfilled; the most important of which was to provide classes to facilitate the teaching of Cook Islands Maori, Cook Islands Social Studies, and the Health and Physical Education. We are blessed to have the Cook Islands Ministry of Education support us in many ways, including with most of our teaching staff. However more than half our staff are not supported by the Ministry of Education, yet all staff joyfully serve the Lord in this ministry.
The Present The school has a main block with four classrooms and a Junior School of two classrooms. It contains a Maori / Social Studies classroom, and three learning centres; a computer lab, resource room, library and staff room.
Looking Ahead Standing where we are and looking where God desires us to be we look to the vision He has given us: the vision where Imanuela Akatemia is not only the most prestigious school in the Cook Islands but also a school where the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ is uplifted above everything else. A school from where the revival will flow into the lives of the people and into the next generation. As we work together with the churches in this ministry, our vision is to reach every child in this nation for Jesus Christ. While empowering children to strive for whatever goals and ambitions they have, implanting in their hearts to love Jesus first and foremost and making all other things secondary.
The vision is for the school to separate the Primary and Secondary schools in the next 10 years. We see Imanuela as the largest school on the island not only impacting the lives of the children who will be attending but the lives of their families, friends, neighbours – everyone – changing the worldview of all Cook Islanders promoting the values of Kingdom Culture above all other cultures.
"If you have knowledge, let others light their candles at it." ~ Thomas Fuller
"If you have knowledge, let others light their candles at it." Thomas Fuller