WCS Blog

800 Juliana Drive, Woodstock, Ontario

Phone: 519-539-1492

     

Responsive Classroom

The Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools (of which WCS is a member school) is promoting Responsive Classroom training for educators. The OACS is praying for and working toward flourishing Christian schools across Ontario. We, at WCS, were introduced as a staff to this framework at our regional PD day last April. As a result of that introduction, this past summer our staff reading book choices explored components of The Responsive Classroom Framework. This approach blends beautifully with our understanding of Christian community and with restorative practices. You may be wondering, "What is this 'Responsive Classroom' all about?" Let me provide some background. Future editorials will expand on the key principles below. Stay tuned!
The Responsive Classroom approach came  about in the early 1980s as a group of public school educators sought to share the knowledge, skills, and philosophies they had acquired through years of teaching. The result of their combined experiences is the Responsive Classroom approach, which emphasizes the social, emotional, and academic growth of elementary school students in a strong and safe learning environment. The Responsive Classroom approach incorporates the students' social and emotional growth into their academic learning, stemming from the notion that children learn best through social interaction and when they are explicitly taught social and emotional skills along with their academic lessons. The seven key principles of the Responsive Classroom approach, as outlined by the Northeast Foundation for Children, are:
* The social curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum.
* How children learn is as important as what they learn: process and content go hand in hand.
* The greatest cognitive growth occurs through social interaction.
* Children need certain social skills in order to be successful academically and socially. These include: cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self-control.
* Knowing the children we teach -- individually, culturally, and developmentally -- is as important as knowing the content we teach.
* Knowing the families of the children we teach, and inviting their participation, is essential to children's education.
* How the adults at school work together is as important as individual competence: lasting change begins with the adult community. (Source: https://www.responsiveclassroom.org/about/principles-practices/)      
 
C. Verbeek
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Thankfulness

Thankfulness
 
Each one of us has so much to be thankful for. We have loving homes, Jesus, the Bible, healthy bodies and minds, food, clothes, toys, parents, brothers and sisters, and the list goes on. I pray each of you will remember how much you have been blessed by God.
We, at WCS, have so much to be thankful for. We have a great school building, loving teachers, friendships, an amazing playground, good buses and bus drivers, and the list goes on. The Woodstock Food Bank was so thankful, on Thursday afternoon, when they saw how much food we donated to people in Woodstock who are in need. I pray that each of you will use these blessings to learn and to let God use you in this community.
We, in Canada, have so much to be thankful for. The trees are changing colour, we have peace, beautiful weather, a good harvest, freedom, diversity, and the list goes on. I pray that God will keep our great land strong and free.
At WCS, we will be hearing Michael Mitchell this week. His songs tell about how great this country of ours is. His visit will be exciting and entertaining. Come out on Thursday afternoon at 12:30, if you can, to share in song, how great and varied our country is.
Natalie Van Andel
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Forward Drive 2017

The focus for Forward Drive 2017 is Psalm 78:4b:

"We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power and the wonders he has done." 

Watch your mailbox for the full package!  Inside the booklet you will find a condensed version of the article below.  

 

If you want to know where a nation like Canada is going, where do you look? At the churches? No! You go to the schools. Schools set the direction of the nation. Abraham Lincoln said one time that the philosophy in the classroom will be the philosophy of the government in the next generation. Instead of having our children captured by the false beliefs of Darwinism and Evolutionism and a host of other isms, we attempt to teach our precious children in the light of the truth of God's Word.

Truth is under attack today. The compilers of the Oxford Dictionary 2016 recognized a new word of the year. The word is post-truth. No wonder.  We live in the so-called post-modern era in which everything is relative and there are no absolutes. So, no right and wrong. Ironically, these relativists are most absolute in their positions.

In the context of that kind of society, we educate. We do that under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. The task of Christian education is to nurture our sons and daughters academically, socially, and practically for living in the kingdom of God. That kingdom is as broad as life itself. It begins in the believers heart through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and then extends into every nook and cranny of the universe as well as into every area of human activity and relationships. Psalm 78, especially, makes that very clear. It speaks of educating God's people about the past. What God did in the past is amazing and awesome. The author shows how he did that from the time of Moses until the time of David. Asaph, the author, is going to show the deep seated meaning of history.

What our parents told us, we have to tell our children. Consequently, the history of God with His people becomes our teacher. The present younger generation must be taught, so that they can eventually tell their children.

We in 2017, have much more to tell than Asaph did. We know so much more than Moses, the Old Testament mediator and David, the Old Testament king. We know about Bethlehem, Good Friday, Easter, Ascension and Pentecost. We know Jesus Christ, in Whom all things hold together (see Colossians 1:17) and Who will come again a second time.

This Jesus is Lord. We acknowledge that in our families, but also in education, from kindergarten right through university. Nothing is outside of his domain. Humbly, and be it ever so imperfectly, it is this Lord and Master we try to serve. What a challenge! What an immense privilege! What a responsibility! We do it all relying on Him guided by the Holy Spirit.    

~Ralph Koops, Supporter, Grand Parent

 

Thank you so much for support from our community to pull this Drive together!  May it be a blessing to the staff, students and all of Woodstock as we work together to bless Woodstock Christian School.

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How Does the Bible Define a Hero?

How Does the Bible Define a Hero?
 
Says Dr. Anne Bradley … When my son was younger, he watched The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything, a Veggie Tales movie, all the time. A royal family needs rescuing from an evil tyrant. At one point, a fight breaks out on a pirate ship transporting the family. One of the pirates proclaims, “Where are the heroes? We need some heroes!”   
Where are the heroes, indeed! There are many cultural narratives about heroism. Some are biblical. Some aren’t. So how does the Bible define a hero?
When I think of heroism in God’s terms, I think of Romans 15:1-2. “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbours for their good, to build them up.” This verse describes the different characteristics of heroism: Helping those in need
Buttressing the weaknesses of others with our strengths and vice versa 
Contributing to the welfare of our neighbours
These are all active words. Being a hero means being a helper, supporter, and friend. Hollywood portrays heroes in quite a different light: they have supernatural powers and wear capes. As much as I enjoy a superhero movie, I think this is a sad definition of what being a hero means. It’s sad because it’s intangible. Since I can’t fly and I can’t always discern good guys from bad guys, how can I be a hero?
The Bible defines being a hero as helping those who in need. We need to offer our strengths to others to support their areas of weakness. This is how God calls us to love and serve others.
(Source - Institute for Faith, Work, & Economics, Dr. Anne Bradley, 11/11/16. https://tifwe.org/how-the-bible-defines-a-hero/)
Image: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/ncF3YfBGgUw/maxresdefault.jpg
 
C. Verbeek
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It's Fall

Welcome to the fall season! It may still feel like summer with current temperatures so high, but we have (as of September 22nd), officially entered fall! I hope that these past few weeks have gone smoothly for you: transitioning your children back to school or sending them for the first time.
As I reflect on the first 3 weeks of school I think about how busy it is for students, parents, and teachers - yet it is an exciting time. We teachers feel the energy and excitement and we know its because of things like: the first day of school, reuniting with friends and/or making new friends, leadership team sign-ups, soccer teams practising, cross country runners training, volleyball starting in a week, buddy classes getting together for the first time, the Terry Fox run, the first pizza day, and so on. From a teacher's perspective, September can of course be a stressful time, but it the excitement seem propels us forward. It's exciting for teachers because the students are excited. It's neat to see students signing up for extra-curricular activities, testing themselves mentally and physically again, and building community here at WCS. I pray that this school year goes well for you and your child. I pray that your child finds enjoyment in his/her learning.  I pray that your child grows in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour. Blessings!
 
A. Hiemstra
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Noah - A Righteous Man



Noah - A Righteous Man
 
At our Wednesday morning chapel last week, we learned more about Noah as a hero of faith and how God called him to complete the unusual task of building an ark. Noah was a righteous man, we read in the Biblical account, and he responded to God in obedience. Righteous is not a word that we use in our everyday language. However, check out the definition and the alternate words listed in the thesaurus: good, virtuous, upright, upstanding, decent, ethical, principled, moral, high-minded, law-abiding, honest, honorable, blameless, irreproachable, noble. What a list of terrific qualities! We should all desire to be righteous like Noah! As we draw our students' attention to the Bible characters listed in Hebrews 11, we seek to focus on the action that each of these people of faith carried out, but also the virtues that each person exemplifies. Obedience and righteousness are themes in the Noah account. As you explore, read, and reread the Bible stories with your family this year, I encourage you to go deep, ask questions about how the characters responded to their calling in their time and place in history. Challenge your children to respond in obedience to God in this time and place. Our prayer is that our children will grow in knowledge, wisdom and in their faith walk this year as they understand that they are part of God's great story of salvation and action.
 
C. Verbeek
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A new year

As a new school year begins, we welcome new families, meet new teachers and greet old friends. At WCS, the events sprinkled throughout our calendar year help us to enjoy time and fellowship together. Although it is comfortable and familiar to chat with our life long friends, I encourage each of you to take a few moments to talk with someone that you do not know. A great time to put this into practice is at the upcoming Dessert Social! This is a light evening of classroom visits, sharing (nut free) potluck style desserts and seeing the changes that have taken place in the hallways at Woodstock Christian School. We pray that God will continue to bless our school as He has done so richly in the past!       How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity. Psalm 133:3
 
Dawn Streutker
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Welcome

It's a brand new year! Welcome to our new students and staff. Welcome back previous students, teachers and support staff and drivers. A special welcome to parents, relatives, friends, neighbours of WCS. We are happy to have your support and share your excitement for another school year. This summer, WCS was a construction zone. There were wooden rooms around the office door, and the washrooms near the staffroom. There was wood and mortar and gravel in the halls. Contractors, plumbers, electricians, and volunteers were in and out. It was noisy and messy and really interesting to see the changes taking place. Classrooms were emptied and cleaned and filled again. As renovations wrapped up, this place began to feel like a school again. But not quite because there  were no students yet. Without students, it's not really a school. Today, we are ready to roll. The  energy is back and we praise God for a new year and new beginnings! I am excited to explore our new theme: FAITH IN ACTION - HEROES FOR GOD. Stay tuned for future chapels, assemblies, and editorials exploring how God used and uses ordinary people for his purposes. Blessings for the new school year.
Carol Verbeek
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God is Greater

God is Greater! He is over all, through all, and in all.
Our school theme for 2016-2017 has permeated so much of what takes place at Woodstock Christian School, our learning and our growing together. God created the seasons and God is in all the rhythms and patterns that we see and experience. On Wednesday June 21st, the sun will reach the highest point in the sky for this year - the solstice - and summer will officially begin. On Friday afternoon at 1pm, the students will board their buses and parent vehicles, the WCS staff will wave them off, and the student/family summer break will officially begin. For teaching staff, next week they will attend meetings, clear classrooms and other work spaces, complete the Ontario Student Records and other year end tasks, and their summer break will begin. For our office staff, the building will become really quiet, until the Woodstock District Developmental Services camp moves in and the construction begins. Their work will continue through the summer. Teachers will pause and relax for some weeks and also participate in professional development and planning. Families will work, camp, travel, work some more, visit, and enjoy the rhythms of summer. May you experience God's blessings this summer.

                            C. Verbeek, Principal

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Like Jesus

Like Jesus
    It can be difficult to watch the news. Newsmakers speak excessively - sometimes their words feel empty, sometimes thoughtless and aggressive, sometimes wise. There are terror attacks in London, car bombs in Kabul, destruction in Aleppo, trouble in south Sudan. There is illness and death, fractured relationships, selfishness and greed. These occur in the world the media shows us. These occur in our own lives, in our own 'backyards'. The world can be a hard place. In John 16:33 Jesus tells us: "I have told you these things (read the rest of John 16), so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
    Do we really want to be like Jesus? Then we must seek to be what he was. Blessed are the peacemakers, said Jesus. "In other words, deeply contented will be those who bring God's shalom to broken people and are the hands of God to a world desperately in need of healing in the chaos. They expect conflict but continue to build hospitals, provide homeless shelters, minister to the broken and lost, and lead relief efforts anyway. They may be dismissed, because they are hypocritical and sinful people, as we all are. But they embrace God's goodness and grace, and love God above everything else and love their neighbours regardless."
    In all of it, this remains. Our God reigns. He is greater. The word of the Lord will endure forever. God has called us to serve in a broken world, bringing the good news of the gospel and living as disciples of Jesus who are focussed on advancing his kingdom. Do not let the problems of today distract you from your kingdom calling. Teach these things to your children. Model them for your children. Do not let the troubles cause you to lose hope in the One who truly reigns. We worship the Lord. We serve him only. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and might. Love your neighbour. That is the kingdom mission of those who are called to be like Jesus.
(Source: called-to-lead.com/?p=2288 by Jeff Blamer, Christian Schools InternationaI, Nov 1, 2016.)

                            C. Verbeek

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Sun Safety

    At WCS, we regularly receive communications from our local Public Health Nurse. These messages range from cycling safety to immunization, nutrition, counseling, and, now that the warmer weather is here, sun safety. Here is the latest update from our local public health department.

    The Canadian Cancer Society reports that 80% of lifetime sun exposure occurs during childhood -- and that just one blistering sunburn can double the risk of getting melanoma later in life. Protect your children by following these tips recommended by the Canadian Dermatology Association.

1.    Limit outdoor playtime between 11a.m. and 4 p.m. and when the UV index is 3 or higher. Avoid unnecessary exposure when the sun's rays are at their strongest. Even on cloudy or cooler days, ultraviolet (UV) rays remain strong. Shady spots can be just as tricky because of reflected light. If your child is playing outdoors during these hours, make sure to apply sufficient sunscreen.
2.    Apply sunscreen properly. Generously apply sunscreen 30 minutes before your child goes out in the sun. Choose a sunscreen with SPF (Sun Protection Factor) 30 or higher. Scented and colorful sunscreens appeal to some kids and make it easier to see which areas have been covered well. Don't forget nose, ears, hands, feet, shoulders, and behind the neck; lips can also burn, so apply a lip balm with SPF protection. It is important to reapply sunscreen every 2 to 3 hours, or after sweating or swimming. Good sun protection habits will keep skin healthy while involved in an active outdoor lifestyle.   
3.    Cover up. Wearing protective clothing and hats is one of the most important ways of warding off UV damage. When wet, light-coloured clothing transmits just as much sunlight as bare skin. Keep your kids covered with dark colors, long sleeves, and pants whenever possible. And don't forget the accessories: sunglasses with UV protection to guard against burned corneas, and wide brimmed hats to prevent sunburned scalps and faces. Caps offer minimal protection. Sunglasses are just as important for babies. At the beach, bring along a large umbrella.
4.    Keep watch on medications. Some medications increase the skin's sensitivity to the sun, so make sure to ask your doctor whether your child may be at risk. Prescription antibiotics and acne medications can create an increased risk so talk to your pharmacist or the doctor.
5.    Set a good example for your kids. If your children see you following sun-safety rules, they will as well. Skin protection is important for every member of the family.

From: Oxford County Public Health and Emergency Services, WCS School Nurse, M. Condruk.

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What Does Ascension Day Mean for Us?

What Does Ascension Day Mean for Us?

    This week we will celebrate Ascension Day at Woodstock Christian School. Actually, celebrate may be an overstatement as this day does not take on the same dimensions as other Christian holidays in our calendar. But should it? As we, at WCS, are guided this year by the words of this year's theme chapter - Ephesians 4 - we are reminded of the importance of Jesus' ascension. 
    Paul writes: As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: "When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people." 
    (What does "he ascended" mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:1-13, NIV)
    Jesus, our ascended Lord, fills the whole universe. Jesus is KING! He has ascended and is enthroned. Great glory, splendor, majesty, and goodness come from Him - it is who He is. EVERYTHING is under His rule and authority. Grasp the impact. We can know that whatever is going on in our lives, Jesus has power over it. Difficulties, trials, temptations, heartbreaks, illnesses, persecutions…whatever name it goes by, Jesus' name is greater. 
    We have been saved by grace to serve. The Holy Spirit equips us, and our children, to serve. As Christ ascended, we are tasked to be his hands and feet and heart, to love, to serve, to transform the spaces and relationships within which we live and work. Ascension Day illustrates that God is Greater!

                            C. Verbeek, Principal

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