On Thursday October 29 and Friday October 30, the WCS staff will gather together for the annual Teacher’s Convention. While the event will look different this year, (live streaming into our gym) we anticipate that it will be a great time of learning and sharing together.
From the Edvance Christian Schools Association website: The theme of this year’s convention is called “Opening Doors”, “Christian schools play a fundamental role in shaping the values that inform how students encounter and contribute to the world locally and globally. We live in an age where both the importance and the risks of our local human connections are being scrutinized more than ever, and our communities feel vulnerable in the face of significant global tensions. How do we navigate issues such as health, race, and identity with a sense of shared purpose and honoured differences such that community and character blossom? How can we pursue the call to love our neighbour with local action and global awareness without feeling overwhelmed? What doors can the school open with students to encourage courageous encounters with and for the world?
Below are our speakers and study topics for the day:
"How Your Classroom Changes the World" featuring David Brooks "Another Torn Veil: Having the Courage to Boldly Go Through..." featuring Dr. Mary Ashun “Whose Education Counts? Who is my Neighbour” featuring Dr. Steve Sider "How To Really Know Your Students" featuring David Brooks We are thankful for this opportunity, for all the work that Edvance put into organizing the day and for providing Christian educators around the province with opportunity to grapple with these ‘big picture’ ideas and tensions. This will be a time of learning and inspiration for WCS staff. Please pray that they will use this knowledge to continue to lead students toward wisdom. Linda Westerveld, JK Teacher
Have you thanked a bus driver lately? Each year, in the third week of October, the Ontario Bus Safety Week highlights the importance of school bus safety across the province. Our classic yellow school buses travel hundreds of kilometres every day, transporting their precious cargo to and from school daily, in all kinds of weather and traffic conditions. We thank God for our regular drivers, our spare drivers, and all those who work behind the scenes to ensure that our student transportation services are safe, efficient and reliable. School Bus Safety Week provides an opportunity to talk about the overall importance of safety in the buses, in the community, and especially near school bus stops and school zones. Whether you have kids travelling on a school bus or are a driver in a school zone, everyone benefits from increased vigilance, obeying posted speed limits and being careful around school buses.
Help us celebrate School Bus Driver Appreciation Day on October 21st by greeting and celebrating our drivers and acknowledging the important and complex job they do. Thank a driver this week!
Carol Verbeek, Principal
One of the things I enjoy about Thanksgiving weekend is that it is one of our holiday’s that isn’t ‘over materialized’. It is simply an opportunity to hit the ‘pause’ button on our busy lives and truly ‘give thanks’ for all of the many blessings from God. On Friday in Grade 8, we took some time to create a ‘Thanksgiving Craft’. Initially, when I planned to do this activity, I did not know how the students would respond, but I was impressed with their engagement in the task. The grade 8 students were able to create “Thanksgiving Handprint Turkeys” to take home and share with their families.
As silly as a craft like this may be for a Grade 8 class, it also provided us with some very meaningful conversation about the many things we are thankful for. Each student wrote ‘I Am Thankful For…” on the belly of their turkey and then they listed all of the things they are thankful for on the ‘feathers’ of their turkey. Then everyone shared one thing they are thankful for and it turned out to be a very meaningful way for all of us to enter this past weekend of celebration with our families. I am reminded of Psalm 100 where it says: “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. 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.”
There is much discussion among educators around the world right now about teaching and learning in pandemic conditions and the importance of providing - along with academics - solid social-emotional learning (SEL) for our students. SEL is the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, feel and show empathy for others, and establish and maintain positive relationships. At WCS, we are committed to looking for ways to improve our teaching practice and have trained all of our teachers in Responsive Classroom practices. Responsive Classroom is a student-centred, social and emotional learning approach to teaching and discipline. It is grounded in research, and its evidence-based practices are designed to create safe, joyful, and engaging classrooms and school communities for both students and teachers. This approach blends beautifully with our understanding of Christian community and care for one another. Responsive Classroom focuses on four key domains: engaging academics, positive community, effective management, developmentally responsive teaching. We recognize that in order to be equipped and successful in and out of school, students need to be spiritually grounded and also learn a set of social and emotional competencies—cooperation, assertiveness, responsibility, empathy, and self-control. When they feel like they belong in their classroom community, they are more likely to engage in discussion, be willing to make mistakes, and try again. Belonging helps them grow. How can I learn more about the Responsive Classroom approach? Visit the Responsive Classroom website: www.responsiveclassroom.org or follow Responsive Classroom on Facebook or Twitter.
Carol Verbeek, Principal
Lunchtime in my classroom has changed. We now have lunch at a different time than our outdoor recess time. I have allotted time to eat and have an indoor playtime once finished. There is no rush to get outside, no rush for me to be somewhere, there is a peace. As I have sat at my desk eating my own lunch, observing my little ones eating and interacting with friends, the Lord has blessed me with seeing these times as sacred. They are breaking bread together; something they haven’t been able to do for sometime. They laugh and share stories. But the most important part is they are relaxed and enjoying this time. It is not just lunchtime, it is a sacred time of breaking bread with friends. Breaking bread together is a very sacred time between people and in our Christian faith and history. Jesus went to the homes of many and broke bread. He went to the house of the tax collector, the religious leaders, his close friends- Mary, Martha and Lazarus. The Last Supper Christ broke bread with his disciples and with each of us. Eating is indeed, an act of worship.
Miss Body, Senior Kindergarten Teacher