There is a new emphasis in education on social / emotional learning and understanding the connection to academic learning. WCS has invested significant time and funds in training our staff in Responsive Classroom methods so that more and more our classrooms feel like welcoming spaces where students know they belong and are an essential part of the community. Why? So that students can learn better. The keynote speaker at the Edvance Educators Conference was Dr. Robert Loe, who spoke on the Imperative of Love. The biblical framework for his research and his talk was Matthew 22:36-39 (NIV), where Jesus is asked, "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" And Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 'This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbour as yourself.' The command to love translates into the importance of building and maintaining strong healthy and happy relationships. Happiness is not found within us, noted Dr. Loe, but between us and among us. In Christian schools, we focus both on the vertical relationship, us and God, and in horizontal, us and others, as well. Consistently, research shows us that face-to-face relationships are key. Though we are hyper-connected across social media, digital matches are no substitute for face-to-face. As Christians, created in his image, we are to reflect the perfect relational nature of God. We are created for community. (for more information check relationalschools.org)
C. Verbeek, Principal
Many of us are perhaps tired of hearing about election news. It's been 40 days since the election has been called. We often hear the term "Forty Days" in the Bible too. It is an appropriate block of time. No more, no less! We know that having the privilege to vote is indeed a "privilege." However, sometimes we forget what a privilege it is. I heard two inspiring stories in the last week that spoke of two people taking their right to vote very seriously. Inspiring Story #1: A Syrian immigrant in Toronto became a formal Canadian citizen last week and the next day he went to get his voter's card to ensure he was on the voters' list. Inspiring Story #2: I heard an interview with a very young adult, fighting a serious terminal illness, being the first one to vote in her local Advance Poll to make sure she got her privilege to vote. Beyond all the "political blather" stories like this shine brightly! Parents and anyone reading this, have you voted yet? You have until 9:30 PM this evening!
Mrs. Dieleman - Teacher/Librarian
This month, our Leadership Team program is up and running again! Teams are meeting, determining goals for the year, and beginning to serve our WCS community. Students are excited for the many ways in which they get to lead and serve. Kindergarten helpers, snow removers, facilities experts, library workers, office supporters, bus safety patrollers, praise leaders… so many ways to serve! New this year is the gardening team which has been formed in response to the Sustainability Project our seventh and eighth grade students conducted this past spring. Several years ago, Woodstock Christian School moved away from student leadership in the form of the Students’ Council model towards our current Leadership Teams model. The former model involved a large workload for a handful of leaders in the senior grades. We know that God has created each student with the capacity to lead and serve in some way. We considered how best to develop servant leadership... to provide opportunites for them as whole beings - their body, mind, heart and spirit. Students have studied the job descriptions for team membership, identified their own strengths and interests, applied - and in some cases - interviewed or auditioned for positions, and received their assignments. We are excited to see students form new partnerships within their multi-grade teams, to develop talents and character, and to serve with glad and thankful hearts.
(Related reading: The Leader in Me by Stephen Covey)
Carol Verbeek, Principal
“Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” (John 4:29) On Friday September 20th the eighth grade class travelled to Camp Bimini for our annual Grade Eight Retreat day.
We started our day in devotions which were led by Pastor John Moelker from Covenant CRC in Woodstock. The focus of our devotion was on the theme of testimony, he led us through the story of Jesus talking with the Samaritan woman at the well from John 4. As we worked through the story we came to the realization that after the Samaritan women spent time face-to-face with Jesus she immediately went and invited others from town to come, see who Jesus was. After some discussion we came to the conclusion that we have a responsibility as followers of Jesus to share our story with others. It is our responsibility to simply invite others to come and see. We are not expected to make followers of Jesus that work is left for the Holy Spirit to accomplish in their lives. Our role is to simply share our own personal experience with Jesus. Our story does not always have to be a complex, planned out testimony; it can be a simple statement much like what we read in John 4:29. The Samaritan woman simply gave an invitation for the people from town to come and see.
At Woodstock Christian School, we spend countless hours with our students teaching, leading and guiding them with the hope that they will each come and see who Jesus is. In our classroom this year, we of course spend time learning about all of the things we need to learn in eighth grade. However, one aspect of my job as a teacher that I appreciate is the ability I have to invite students to come and see. Please pray with me that as we teach our children about who Jesus is, that they may all come and see who Jesus is in their lives.
Mr. Tony Schaafsma, Grade 8 Teacher