800 Juliana Drive, Woodstock, Ontario

Phone: 519-539-1492

     

Growing in Faith

You may have seen this part of the banner in our front hall. The words in this graphic are all taken from the Student Character Profile of WCS. 

As we developed this document at WCS several 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.

 

                                                                                                           Carol Verbeek, Principal

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A fresh start

 

After the disruptions of the past two years, many people feel stuck in a rut. Habit patterns shifted. Many people began watching church services online while sitting on their sofas at home. Small groups struggled to stay together. We began working from our kitchen tables. Many parents tended to their children all day, trying to help them with online learning. We wondered if we would ever feel normal again.

Joel 2:25 - “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten.”  The people in Joel’s day suffered a pestilence of locust, but God promised to restore them – and to restore the losses they had sustained. Ask Him to do the same for you. The Lord Jesus is a master at restoring and reviving His people. One pastor simply prayed, “Lord, I need a fresh anointing!”

Why not ask God for a fresh start in 2022?  Ask Him to restore your soul and to give you a fresh burden for the new year. Ask Him to make up for what’s been lost.

He can and will restore joy and productivity in your life!

Like a watch, the human spirit can just run down…God has the power and willingness to breathe a new breath of life into one who has lost.

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A New Year!

A New Year!  Lamentations 3:22-24 tells us: Because of the loving devotion of the LORD we are not consumed, for His mercies never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness! “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in Him.”

The New Year can often bring a mixed bag of emotions and memories. While some may have just experienced the best year ever and look forward to an even greater one ahead, others may have just trudged through one struggle after another. The fresh calendar year brings hope for things to be better. Whether you’ve just walked through a great year or are incredibly glad to see 2021 finally over, one truth still rings clear amidst it all. You are not alone. Not ever. Scripture is filled with prayers of men and women who reached out to God for a fresh start. Praying is the main source of connection to the one who created you and the one who wants you to experience blessings and promises in the future. Praying at the start of the New Year doesn't necessarily bring immediate change, but it begins the opening of our hearts to God's words of hope and peace. 

Our God is a “with us" God. On the heels of the celebration of the birth of our King, that reminder has the power to carry us right into a fresh, new start. He is Immanuel, God with us. 

(Resource: crosswalk.com)                                                        Carol Verbeek, Principal

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A Christmas Tree Blessing

At this time of year, the Christmas tree and lights of Christmas remind us of Jesus, the light of the world. God created the light, the prophets spoke of the coming of the Light, the Messiah. We praise God for the gift of Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, God-with-us. 

From Ezekiel 17:22-24:  “‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will take a shoot from the very top of a cedar and plant it; I will break off a tender sprig from its topmost shoots and plant it on a high and lofty mountain. On the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it; it will produce branches and bear fruit and become a splendid cedar. Birds of every kind will nest in it; they will find shelter in the shade of its branches. All the trees of the forest will know that I the LORD bring down the tall tree and make the low tree grow tall. I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish. “ ‘I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it.’” And from Psalm 96:  Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. Bring God glory as you celebrate Christmas this year.

Source: crosswalk.com                                              Carol Verbeek, Prinicpal

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Read With Them

   

One of the best ways to encourage your child in their learning is to read with them. It is amazing how much children know about language before they even learn to read. From the moment they are born, kids are exposed to all kinds of spoken language that helps them understand and make connections to written language years later. All that language—spoken to them, sung to them, read to them—becomes deposits in their language bank that they can use as they grow. Reading leads to language comprehension.

What is language comprehension?

Language comprehension is the ability to understand the different elements of spoken or written language, like the meaning of words and how words are put together to form sentences. Language comprehension is one of the building blocks of reading comprehension.

Why is language comprehension important for reading?

Imagine that a child’s language bank is full of vocabulary, knowledge of how words make sentences, and information about the world. When the child begins to read, they will be better able to connect the words on the page to all these things. 

When do kids start developing language comprehension?

From birth to about age 6, children are considered pre-readers. They are learning sounds, letters, words, phrases, and what all those things mean. They begin to learn about books, too: how to hold one the right way and how to turn the pages. They go places with adults and experience new things. Even commonplace things, such as shopping or taking the bus, provide new experiences for children, especially if the adults talk with the children about what is going on. For example, talking about what you have to do to take the bus, the colors of the packages at the store, or how you pay for something provides new information for children to deposit in their language bank.

Stay tuned for more ways you can support your child’s reading and learning. Carol Verbeek, Principal

Source: https://www.nwea.org/blog/2021/all-about-language-comprehension
 
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Cenotaph

Last week Thursday, November 11, the grade 4 and 7 class attended the Remembrance Day ceremony at Victoria Park in Woodstock. We were thankful that students were able to witness and learn about the ceremony held there. Students asked, "What is a Cenotaph?" Good question. It is a monument to someone buried elsewhere, especially one commemorating people who died in a war. It is important to educate our students about the history of Remembrance Day and why we need to commemorate each year. It was very moving to see a 99 year old sergeant from World War 2 lay a wreath at the cenotaph. Even though our students may never really be able to understand the sacrifice these men and women gave for our freedom, we will continue to teach our students through stories, chapels, and attending the Remembrance Day ceremony in the community. 

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Hospitality

NOVEMBER 1

Editorial

Thursday and Friday last week provided the annual late-October long weekend for our WCS families and provided spiritual and professional refreshment and growth for our staff team. The Edvance Annual Gathering was live-streamed to our staff gathered in the gym at WCS. The theme this year was Education as Hospitality. Thursday’s lecture and discussions began with looking at scripture in order to understand how hospitality is woven into the biblical command to love and care for one another. Hebrews 13:1-2 tells us: “Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!” A key concept communicated by Dr. David Smith was, “If a school is a hospitable space, it will serve as a home that introduces students to a tradition of knowledge, creates a safe space in which they are shaped by constructive practices, and makes room for students to move in new directions and begin to tell their own story.” 

As we see considerable tension and ‘taking sides’ in our world currently, it is more important than ever to find and share our common story, to bring people in, to build trust, to serve each other with justice and mercy. 

I wonder if we as parents and school partners are raising children/students who are aware of their stories and are committed to caring for others. Do your children know your family’s story? Do they know their faith story? How are they growing and expanding their circles of interest and contact? Are they demonstrating care for and interest in the stories of others? It starts with love for others. Galatians 5:22 “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.” My prayer is that WCS and our families reflect the abundance of love, honour and grace that God has given us, and that our lives and actions are characterized by generosity and hospitality.

                                                                                                                                 Carol Verbeek, Principal

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Autumn

The autumn season in Ontario is a great one, isn’t it?  I had the opportunity this weekend to visit a bustling place outside of London called “Apple Land Station”.  The trees have turned colours, the pumpkins are ready, the apples have been picked, and the corn is being harvested.  In Daniel we are reminded that God is the one who designed the seasons:

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,

    to whom belong wisdom and might.

21 

He changes times and seasons;

    he removes kings and sets up kings;

he gives wisdom to the wise

    and knowledge to those who have understanding;

22 

he reveals deep and hidden things;

    he knows what is in the darkness,

    and the light dwells with him.

 

What an imaginative Creator, God is.  Like our Creator God, He has created us with the ability to create as well (after all we are created in God’s image).   We cannot create things out of nothing as God has done, but we do have the ability to be creative with our own ideas, or create things with the materials around us, or shape our ideas into poems or stories.  Enjoy this lovely poem (see bottom) about the season of autumn by Joyce Rupp, an American author.  It is also found here.  And enjoy the long weekend enjoying His creation!

G. Hiemstra

 

Prayer for Autumn Days

God of the seasons, there is a time for everything;

there is a time for dying and a time for rising.

We need courage to enter into the transformation process.

 

God of autumn, the trees are saying goodbye

to their green, letting go of what has been.

We, too, have our moments of surrender, with all their insecurity and risk.

Help us to let go when we need to do so.

 

God of fallen leaves lying in colored patterns on

the ground, our lives have their own patterns.

As we see the patterns of our own growth, may we learn from them.

 

God of misty days and harvest moon nights, there is always

the dimension of mystery and wonder in our lives.

We always need to recognize your power-filled presence.

May we gain strength from this.

 

God of harvest wagons and fields of ripened grain, many gifts

of growth lie within the season of our surrender.

We must wait for harvest in faith and hope.

Grant us patience when we do not see the blessings.

 

God of geese going south for another season, your wisdom enables

us to know what needs to be left behind and what needs to be carried into the future.

We yearn for insight and vision.

 

God of flowers touched with frost and windows wearing white designs,

may your love keep our hearts from growing cold in the empty seasons.

 

God of life, you believe in us, you enrich us,

you entrust us with the freedom to choose life.

For all this, we are grateful. Amen

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Thanksgiving

We have just come out of a Thanksgiving weekend. What did you thank God for? 

For many it has been a difficult 18 months and many find it easier to grumble and complain about the world and circumstances around them . But Philipians 4:14-16 reminds us to “ do everything without grumbling or complaining...so you will shine like stars among them” 

Do you complain about all the laundry you have to do? Do you grumble when it is time to do dishes?  Do you gripe about being stuck in traffic? What if we took these as opportunities to see how God has blessed us and to  change our perspective and attitude.  

Instead of complaining about the laundry,  be grateful  you have clean clothes to wear each day.  When the dishes have piled up thank God you have plenty to eat each day. While sitting in traffic thank God for giving you the opportunity to slow down and spend some time in conversation with Him.

     What other ways can you “shine like stars” in the days, weeks and months to come?  

 

Marcia Horinga, Grade 1 Teacher

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Gulls, Geese, and Gratitude  

My family will tell you that I am somewhat of a bird nerd. Not quite a bird watcher (yet!) but a bird noticer. From my perch on the front step with my morning coffee, at daybreak each fall, winter, and spring morning I notice hundreds of gulls flying overhead to spend their day westward and returning to the east at dusk to rest at the lake. Gulls glide mostly quietly, high above with an occasional call. In the winter, the crows follow the gulls each morning and each evening, going west and returning east, loudly proclaiming their presence. Geese and ducks come and go in their seasons. This Thanksgiving week, as I consider with gratitude all that God provides, in every season, I am thankful for the rhythms and patterns that I see in creation. Birds do not go unnoticed in the Bible - have a read through the following verses and be encouraged about the care and detail God has created in our world. That care extends to each of us. God’s fingerprints are everywhere. He is Creator, Sustainer, God with us. Give him your praise and gratitude! 

Genesis 1:20  And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.”

Isaiah 40:31   but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Luke 12:24  Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!

Job 12:7-9  “But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this?

                                                                                               Carol Verbeek, Principal

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Legacy

Over the last while, I have been thinking a lot about the word 'legacy'.  One of the definitions found in Webster's dictionary for this word is as follows; "something that happened in the past or that comes from someone in the past." As I've been thinking about this word, I also came across a little devotional written by a person named John Grant from this website: https://thelife.com/devotionals/leaving-a-legacy. In the devotional he says; "Nobody who leaves a great legacy lived a selfish life. Jesus told us that it is more blessed to give than to receive. The world preaches a different message, but if you understand your eternal inheritance, you will be more generous with your earthly inheritance. Your life will be about serving others with your time, talents, and treasures. He wants us to invest in others for His and their sake." Last week the WCS gift survey was sent out to our families. Please prayerfully consider how you can be generous with your time, talents, and treasures.
 
Mr. Tony Schaafsma
Grade 2 Teacher
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Welcome

“God created us for expanding community and He calls us to live a life of welcome.”  - Amy Caroll
I came across this quote in my Facebook memories this past week.  I guess it struck a chord a few years ago and struck again now.  (While it may have shown up on social media, I did research the author and she is a legitimate Christian podcaster and writer.)  During the first two weeks of school, the Community Relations team offered a hot dog lunch to all our families, providing an opportunity to do just as she writes - expand our community.   We understand it can be overwhelming when you are in a new school or adjusting to just being WITH people again after such a long absence.   We hope you felt welcome and could place names to a few more faces.  As I stood back and watched it all unfold, I noticed welcome happening in many forms - families inviting children whose parents couldn’t make it to sit on their blanket,  parents reconnecting with others, students introducing their new friends and teachers to parents, or giving tours of their classrooms.  I saw grandparents and other family members filling in.  I saw staff greeting new and previous families, and treating a few bee stings in between. I saw parents volunteering to prepare and pass out the lunch, making sure everyone got one (or two or three hot dogs) - and then cleaning it all up again.    Thank you SO much to each of you!  Your time and effort were a blessing to so many.   As I drove home, my heart was full and I thanked God for these events - to be together, to offer a welcome regardless if it’s your first or your twentieth year at WCS.   As our theme verse says,   “God is able to do above and beyond anything we can ever ask, think, imagine.”  I look forward to how that will unfold over the next ten months.    May He show us in the most amazing ways!  

                                                                                Heather DeBoer- WCS Board

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