It is a special time of year in our school. No, not the winter season; it’s report card season! Students have been busy completing term ending assessments and presentations, and teachers are busy grading those same assignments. It is a busy time of year for everyone in our school building. This week Friday teachers will spend the day finalizing their report cards.
Assessment is an important part of what we do as a school, and it happens throughout the year. But report cards are another way to help students and parents understand where they are in their learning, highlight areas of strength, and identify areas where students have room to improve. Report cards are also a chance for us to communicate what really makes your child special.
My prayer is that students feel affirmed that they are children of God, uniquely made and set apart for the tasks that God has given them.
Mike Vander Kooi, Principal
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend, with much needed rest, and a chance to reflect on the blessings God has given us. Paul reminds us in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” The Thanksgiving holiday gives us an intentional time to be thankful. Onn Friday October 7th, we were able to celebrate Thanksgiving as a school, as the Grade 1 class led us in a full school assembly. As part of the assembly, we collected donations, and then distributed them to Operation Sharing, a local charity. This was a great way for our school community to show thankfulness in a practical way. Thank you for giving generously to this cause, and blessing our Woodstock community.
Mike Vander Kooi
Creating Beautiful Work
One of the ideals that we strive for at WCS is for students to create beautiful work. Our theme verse this year shows us the character of God - his abundance, his power, his imagination and creativity. He is and provides more than we can ever imagine! Read these verses from The New International Reader’s version of Ephesians 3:20,21 “God is able to do far more than we could ever ask for or imagine. He does everything by his power that is working in us. Give him glory in the church and in Christ Jesus. Give him glory through all time and for ever and ever. Amen.”
As we teach and guide students in the area of visual art, dramatic arts, and music as art, we teach students to recognize the beauty of creation, the beauty of sound and things visual. God wants us to experience the power of observation and creation. Imagination is one of the most sacred things we have. It enables us to experience the joy and beauty of the creative process, in which God Himself delights as the Creator. The arts offer pathways for all students to deepen their understanding of God and to participate creatively in His beautiful, redemptive work in our world. (acsi.org)
Skill, craftsmanship, beauty, clarity, balance, and other timeless elements are to be studied and practiced to produce an almost endless variety of quality artistic works. Education in these active pursuits, like all faithful Christian education, should set our kids on a lifelong trajectory toward maturity and wisdom. As scripture instructs us, “...whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8).
Carol Verbeek, Principal
Community is so important to humanity. When we have family, friends, or any group of people in our lives showing us care and making us feel welcome, we are happier people and find more enjoyment. In fact, multiple research studies have proven the trend to be true: that people who are part of a strong and loving community, whether large or small, are happier than those who aren’t.
As Covid restrictions have been lifted, I’m sure we’re all enjoying the “normal” way of doing things, such as in-person interaction and larger community events like our recent Springfest breakfast (this past Saturday). It was heart-warming to see 100+ people in the gym, eating and chatting with one another, reconnecting with old friends or acquaintances, and supporting our school; something we perhaps took for granted prior to the pandemic.
I am thankful for the community I’m a part of; the larger and smaller communities. I pray that we, as Christians, would pour into our communities and into each relationship we have. Perhaps you have an opportunity to serve, welcome, or reach out to someone with a phone call or message; I encourage you to do so.
“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”
(Romans 12:4-5) Axel Hiemstra, Grade 5 Teacher
Some of the Psalms in the Bible provide wonderful opportunities to praise our Creator God for his creative power and for beauty in creation which we can see and enjoy. The wonder and awe is new again as we see the changing of the seasons. Imagine the psalmist looking at the night sky in wonder, as David must have done while he was tending sheep:
"When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor." (Psalm 8:3-5)
How can God even be bothered to know about or care for a mere human being with their flaws and faults? And assign humans care for creation and everything in it? The majesty and wonder of God is that he does care about us! The psalm closes with:
"O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!" (8:9)
God’s majesty is in the greatness of creation, on earth and extending to the farthest heavens. And yet he wants to know us and include us in his plan.
Carol Verbeek, Principal
At our staff PD day on Friday, during morning devotions, we dug deeper into our school theme. We marveled at how big and creative and powerful our God is, as is seen throughout the universe, the oceans, the weather systems Job 26:7-14 NIV .
We tried to wrap our thoughts around being children of and believers in this God who is immeasurable Eph.3.20-21.TPT . And we were provoked to think about the size and the ask in our prayers. How large are your prayers? How imaginative? The Bible tells us that God can and will do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. No matter how big we ask or how great our imagination, God offers more.
Not only do we have a God who is able, who can, we have a God who will.
Think about that difference. God can. God will.
And what do we, as believers and Jesus-followers, need to do?
Pray. Think. Imagine. Ask.
Carol Verbeek, Principal
“Children are a heritage from the Lord,
offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their opponents in court.”
This week we have a shortened week, as we have an extra day meant to spend with our families. Some families will be able to get away for a mid-winter mini-break. Others may just enjoy the rest from daily tasks and schedules at home. Regardless of how it is spent, the hope and idea is to give families a chance to check in with each other, and I hope, to enjoy each other.
As a parent, I see how God has given children as a gift and as a heritage; a joy, and a responsibility. God created families and the ties that bind them together. As a Christian, I also know that my children are His first and that their joy will ultimately be tied to Him. So as you take this moment in your February schedule to focus on your family, also take the time to bring your children before the Lord in prayer. Pray for protection - from sin in their lives and from the sin in the lives of their authorities. Pray for teachers and others to teach them what is good and right. Pray that God would guard against anyone who would plot evil against your children, including themselves. Pray for faith to be firmly planted so they are convinced, convicted, and converted to be children of God, knowing He loved them first. He loves them so much that He made a way for them to be His eternally and wants to be in a relationship with them.
Psalm 65:4-8 is about awe and wonder and God’s power.
Have a read: We shall be satisfied with the good things of your house… You answer us by giving us victory, and you do wonderful things to save us. You set the mountains in place by your strength, showing your mighty power. You calm the roar of the seas and the noise of the waves; you calm the uproar of the peoples. The whole world stands in awe of the great things that you have done.
Have you done any marvelling lately? The dictionary defines the word ‘marvel’ as
to be filled with wonder or astonishment
to become filled with surprise, wonder, or amazed curiosity
Have you been outside on a winter day and paid attention to the details around you? What an amazing world God made for us to explore: icicles, animal tracks, snow of various textures from powder to packing, trees with a variety of branching patterns and colours, migrating birds, and so much more. When we take the time to ‘marvel’, we are appreciating the beauty and detail in creation, developing our sense of wonder, which translates into thankfulness to God for his creative goodness. Take some time to marvel this week.
Carol Verbeek, Principal
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
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.
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
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