Our Story

The SNU Lab School has a rich history of educational excellence.

When asked to identify the greatest legacy of the Lab School, Dr. Beaver said "The greatest legacy are the teachers who have taught at the Lab School, and the children who have attended. The children who go out of our Lab School learn how to learn, and they learn about life!"

Founded by Dr. Joy Beaver in 1972

Founded as a Laboratory School by Dr. Joy Beaver in 1972, the "Bethany Nazarene College Early Childhood Learning Center" has a rich history of educating students, training teachers, and applying best pedagogical practices in educational research. As the only fully-accredited lab school in Oklahoma, it is focused on building a foundation of Christian character through a variety of Project Based Learning (PBL), Social Emotional Learning (SEL), and purpose driven learning experiences.

Being part of Southern Nazarene University means that the importance of spiritual life—to make Christlike disciples through education—infuses everything we do across all aspects of our curriculum. Families who choose the SNU Lab School deeply about curiosity, inquiry, and creativity. All are attracted to a diverse community and an environment that creates and nurtures the habits of expansive thinking and complex problem-solving while being rooted in empathy.

Dr. Joy Beaver talks about the start of the Southern Nazarene University School for Children Lab School. This was played as a part of the 40th Birthday Party on May 17, 2012.

A Journey Off-Campus in 2008

In 2008, Jernigan Hall was faced with facility conditions that required the school find a new home, just a few weeks before school started. A new location had to be found, approved, renovated and ready for a move-in. God worked in miraculous ways to bring the school's director Dr. Tim Taylor, the Calvary Nazarene Church Pastor Jim Hill, and the congregation together. After much prayer, planning, and following God's plan, the details were settled. The school relocated and opened in August in the new location, about a mile south of the main campus at 3100 North Rockwell in Bethany.

The partnership between School for Children and Calvary Church has been a wonderful exchange of sharing space, trust and ministry together. The school has benefited from this relationship in many ways. The use of a sanctuary for Chapel and special programs, a large cafeteria and kitchen where children are offered a hot lunch program, playground and fitness space, not to mention large classrooms that provide a perfect arrangement for the Lab School style of multi-level teaching.

According to Pastor Hill, Calvary has benefited in this partnership with the school as well. "What a joy to know the building God has entrusted to us is being used and filled with children and their families five days a week. For the people of Calvary, sharing the facilities is seen as “an act of stewardship” and God has blessed our congregation over and over because of it. We truly enjoy the opportunity to minister to the SFC families whenever we can and will continue to do so as long as they call Calvary their home."

Although the church supports the school's goal to build a new school building on the university campus, it is a blessing to have such a working, effective partnership between the school and the Calvary Nazarene Church. This mutually beneficial relationship has allowed both groups to grow and flourish. SFC and Calvary will remain inseparably linked to each other's story and serve as a testament to God's providence and provision for the days ahead.

Calvary Nazarene Church in Bethany Oklahoma is the current site for the SNU School for Children.

The Rise of Lab School Pedagogy

Its an exciting time to be a private Christian school, especially one that is connected to a university as a Lab School. As we look to the future we are eager to more strongly align with a new vision for SNU and work towards once again being on campus. We have a tremendous opportunity to showcase the vision of our founder and promote the unique lab school concept. As educational research is discovering, significant gains come from a more fully-integrated and active learning experience. As we prepare to celebrate the beginning of our 50th year in May 2021, the SNU Lab School has long been a leader in experiential "hands-on" project-based learning.

Being part of Southern Nazarene University means that the importance of spiritual life—to make Christlike disciples through education—infuses everything we do across all aspects of our curriculum. Families who choose the SNU Lab School care deeply about curiosity, inquiry, and creativity. All are attracted to a diverse community and an environment that creates and nurtures the habits of expansive thinking and complex problem-solving while being rooted in empathy.