February can often be a blah month - I am sure many of you can agree. Here at Woodstock Chrstian School our junior and senior grades help break up the February blah’s with electives - activities such as baking, skiing, hairdressing and other alternate activities So we as primary teachers also decided to break things up for the students in our primary classes this February as well.
In Grades 1, 2, and 3 this past month we have been enjoying a combined grade exploration unit about Structures. We are learning that structures need to be strong and stable, that they need a strong foundation and strong materials in order to support a load. Students are experimenting with building, using various materials, while also exploring some man made and God made structures in creation. One of the great things about Christian education is the opportunity to weave our Christian faith in to all that we teach. Throughout our primary devotions and structures unit studies, students have made connections to the parable of the wise man and foolish man and how we as believers can build our lives on God’s Word, the Bible which is a solid foundation. Students have also learned that there is a time to build and a time to tear down, a season for everything- a message from the book of Ecclesiastes.
When you are in our school building take a moment to walk down our primary hallway and enjoy the photos on the bulletin board displaying our learning from this unit.
WCS PANCAKE BREAKFAST is happening tomorrow (Wednesday) morning, February 19th. Students are excited about wearing pyjamas, carrying their ‘stuffies’, and eating deliciously sweet and sticky pancakes with their buddies. As a school, we also get excited about being able to support children in countries like Cambodia and Zambia with school supplies, resources, and education programs. Did you know that at least 72 million primary school-age children worldwide are not in school? Children either live too far from schools, need to work/earn money to support their families, or they can’t afford essentials such as uniforms or school supplies. Our annual pancake breakfast @ WCS helps support our neighbours around the world. This year, breakfast money is designated for World Renew.
World Renew’s goal is systemic, generational change in five key areas: community health, food security, economic opportunity, disaster response, peace and justice. When we partner with this agency, we are supporting programs that work across these areas, renewing more hope for more people in all the ways that count. Check worldrenew.net to read stories of strength, courage, and the faithful love of Christ present around the world.
So, students, wear your pyjamas and bring your appetite and your favourite 'stuffy' to our annual pancake breakfast on Wednesday, February 19th. The cost is $5 per person or $20 per family. Donations will be gladly received for the work of World Renew. Education is one of the most powerful tools for reducing poverty. Thank you for joining us in changing stories for hope.
It’s recruitment season at Woodstock Christian School. Last Thursday evening, we held our annual kindergarten information session. Representatives of the Community Relations Team prepared and set out refreshments. Chairs were set up, screens and projectors and presentations were ready to go. Our 7th graders who were telling about their school experiences arrived, spruced up, with cue cards in hand. Board and committee reps were present to be able to answer questions about governance, finance, transportation and membership. As more and more new and potential families arrived, more and more chairs were set up! Various staff members spoke about the everyday happenings at WCS, and the bigger picture, who we are, what we strive for, and how we offer a different kind of education - a school that sees God in everything we do. Education that sees each other as people uniquely made and as image-bearers of God, sinful - yes - but forgiven and forgiving as we experience God's tremendous grace. It is exciting to be able to share who we are, our mission and vision and our school’s distinctive perspective with a brand new crew of parents. A WCS parent told the story of the nurture her children have experienced here and the growth and learning she has seen. She knows that God is in this place. It made me wonder about the story each of us is telling. We are partners. WCS is our school and we are on this educational journey together. How has your family been blessed? What’s your story?
Gates of Praise https://www.dpmuk.org/article/devotional-gates-of-praise
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
How important it is for each of us to know the way into God's presence! How do we enter His gates? How do we come into His courts? The psalmist points out the way that God has ordained: We enter His gates with thanksgiving, His courts with praise. It is only as we come to God with thanksgiving and with praise that we have access into His presence.
The prophet Isaiah likens the presence of God among His people to a city, concerning which he says: "You will call your walls Salvation and your gates Praise" (Isaiah 60:18). The only way through those walls of Salvation is by the gates of Praise. Unless we learn to approach God with praise, we have no access into His presence.
Confronted with this requirement, we are sometimes tempted to look around us at our situation and ask: "But what do I have to thank God for? What do I have to praise Him for?" There may be nothing in our immediate circumstances that appears to give us cause to thank or praise God.
It is just here that the psalmist comes to our help. He gives us three reasons to thank and praise that are not affected by our circumstances: first, the Lord is good; second, His love endures forever; third, His faithfulness continues through all generations. All three are eternal, unchanging facts. If we truly believe them, then we have no alternative but to praise God for them-continually!
Mrs. Karen Poort
Growing in Faith
One of our guiding documents at Woodstock Christian School is the Student Character Profile. In developing this document a few years ago, our desire was to articulate more fully the words in our tagline - FAITH, LEARNING, COMMUNITY. As we partner with you in your child's education, join us in praying for and and working together to cultivate, and to model for our children/ students these key characteristics and skills. While GROWING IN FAITH, students will:
• live their lives in thankfulness to God, praising and serving him
• think critically, test the spirits of this age, and show thoughtful discernment
• share their conviction that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the world and that God the Father is the creator and keeper of all
• have a sense of wonder for the fallen but beautiful creation
• show basic Biblical literacy, cultivate a Christian worldview that combines intellectual understanding of God's call on their life with the awareness of the need for action through the prompting of the Holy Spirit
• possess a deep understanding of God's grace and a sense of humility about self
• articulate that God created them uniquely as his image-bearers, that God loves them, and has called them serve in this world
C. Verbeek, Principal
We are all aware of the distraction and distance our cell phones can or have created with others and the impact they can have on relationships. In November, I was reminded of the blessings that can come when devices are absent from a gathering.
During Parent/Teacher conferences we (the staff) were blessed to have supper prepared for us. As a staff we gathered in the staff room to break bread together. We had an hour to look up and meet each other face to face. During that time the room was filled with much conversation, laughter, support and really, over all, peace. It was lovely.
It wasn't until I returned to my classroom and checked my phone (that I had left on my desk) that I realized the blessing and the presence of God that existed. It hit me that NO ONE, I repeat NO ONE was on their phone or even had it out. We were truly in community. We were truly breaking bread together. We were truly in relationship with each other. We were doing what God has intended for each of His children- being in and building relationships.
God has put that deep sense of desire to connect, to belong and be face to face with others in each of us. Next time you are at home, out with family or friends, watching your kids play a sport; etc; Look Up! Don't miss the blessings God has waiting to pour out on you and those you are with.
It’s a brand new year! Welcome back to WCS in 2020. Wishing you God’s blessings, strength and grace as you journey through this year. Whether you are about to walk through the greatest year of your life, or the most challenging, know that God’s word and promises hold true. It’s a new year and as we plan how we will live our lives this year, perhaps make some changes and resolve to do things better, be guided by these words from Psalm 119 in which the psalmist recognizes God as a God who makes and keeps promises, who is strong, generous, wise, and loving. Teach me lessons for living, give me insight, guide me down the road of your commandments, give me a bent for your words of wisdom, divert my eyes from toys and trinkets, invigorate me on the pilgrim way, affirm your promises to me Let your love, God, shape my life with salvation, exactly as you promised (vs 33-41, The Message. Reframe: Today) Be confident that God will use you and build you this year. Trust that he will provide and that his grace and love will continue to flow over and through you.
Blessings for 2020.
Christmas season is here! It’s a great time of celebrating and showing good will to others. At WCS we have the blessing of keeping Christmas all year! Enjoy the words of this song:
Let’s keep Christmas the whole year through;
Think of all the good we’d do
Light the spirit of love anew
So that all the world might see.
We’d be patient and kind and good;
Understand and nee understood,
Treat each other the way we should
So, we’d live in charity.
Christmas time is a time to care,
Full of love that you want to share,
Christmas time is a time to give,
It’s a whole new way to live!
Let’s bring Christmas to every heart;
Love and joy that will ne’er depart,
Each one wanting to have a part,
What a difference that would be!
Emmanuel - God with Us
It seems everywhere we go at this time of year, Christmas carols are playing. To drive to appointments or to shop for groceries to the strains of "Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel" seems out of place. But on second thought, no, actually, it's quite appropriate.
As Christ-followers, we believe that God created and is sustaining everything in all creation. In the large decisions of life, and in the nitty-gritty of the daily routines, we understand "God with us". Matthew, in his Gospel, stresses the fulfilment of the prophecies of the Old Testament and begins and ends the book (see Matthew 28:20) with promises that God is with us. Emmanuel - One of the most comforting of all the names and titles of Jesus. God with us. Emmanuel indicates Jesus' role, bringing God's presence to man. God is gracious to His people by sending the Messiah. When our sins made it impossible for us to come to Him, God took the outrageous step of coming to us, of making Himself susceptible to sorrow, familiar with temptation, and vulnerable to sin and pain and the messiness of life, in order to cancel sin's claim. Take comfort. God is with us. (Source: blueletterbible.org, faithgateway.com)
C. Verbeek, Principal
Advent is about faith and waiting. What are you waiting on God for this year? Remember the years of silence as God's people waited for the Messiah. Take time today, right now, to reflect on the fact that God's timing is quite different from ours.
The story of Jesus' birth gives us assurance and joy because even though the waiting lingered for decades, God broke through at just the right time.
Most of us try to grow a forest in one day. Jesus, however, invites you to begin with a tiny seed. Watch it grow and wait for it to become all that you dreamed it would be.
Are you willing to plant faith and wait upon God? Nothing seems to be appearing on the horizon today, but just wait! God always keeps his promises, even to those who have little faith. Just wait.
E. Martin (From Lifeway Devotions for Advent)
At WCS, we regularly get healthy living updates from our Public Health Nurse. This month’s focus is on sleep habits for children. Sleep is essential for everyone, especially for children who are actively growing. When we sleep, the body has time to repair itself from the wear and tear of daily living. Getting good quality sleep each day is important for children because it helps improve their:
● attention, learning and memory
● mental and physical health
● overall well-being
● growth and development
Sleep needs differ for different ages and for different kids. Pay attention to what works best for your child. General recommendations for kids based on their age are:
● Preschoolers (3-4 years) need 10-13 hours of good quality sleep with consistent bedtimes and wake up times. This might include a nap.
● Elementary school kids (5-13 years) need 9-11 hours of uninterrupted sleep with consistent bedtimes and wake up times.
● Teens (14-17) need 8-10 hours
Telltale signs indicating lack of sleep include, complaining of being tired, irritability, increased forgetfulness, difficulty learning, and lack of interest in what is happening around them. Here are some tips for bedtime routines that can help with sleep:
● Set a specific bedtime.
● No screen time one hour before bedtime.
● Avoid heavy meals and energetic play prior to bedtime.
● Routines like the three B's - bath, brush and book - are great for kids.
● Bedroom should be quiet, cool and comfortable for sleeping.
● Make use of night lights.
● Set a specific wake up time.
For more information on sleep habits, plans, and needs, see sleepfoundation.org.
For students and parents alike, even the words “report cards” can evoke feelings. A child's report card can bring feelings of joy, excitement, and pride; it can also cause concern, frustration, and uncertainty. In either case, the reporting period marks a new beginning to set goals as well as reflect on past work habits, achievements, and hardships. (“Talking to Your Child about Report Cards.” Family Education, 15 May 2019, www.familyeducation.com)
This article continues in its advice to parents that when talking to your child, to focus on the positive aspects of the report card; a child’s strengths. Then, one should be asking the right questions. For example, “Is the pace of a class too fast or too slow?” “Does your child ask questions when they don’t understand?” “Are all of the assignments getting completed?” And lastly, create realistic and attainable goals for the next reporting period.
At Woodstock Christian School it is evident that parents, as a whole, are highly interested and engaged in their child’s learning. We, as educators, look forward to discussing your child and how, together, we can make a plan for future academic success and personal growth.