“Art is my passion! When I create, I experience the presence of God. It’s contagious when we express the passion God has given us. The ability to create Art is a gift God has given me. As a designer, I have visions on how to bring a space to life. I saw hot air balloons to define the entry area in room 16. The elementary art students brought this vision to life. They did it!”
Installing the Grades 1-4 hot air balloons in Room 16 has brought a lot of energy and excitement to campus tours. The students worked very hard, had fun making the project, and felt great pride in the end result. This 3D project required teamwork, persistence, and creative thinking--all important Habits of Mind! After the project completion each student prepared and presented verbally to express what they learned and what God taught them in the process. Students spoke of the patience, teamwork, and the time commitment required to create something. They also spoke of the end result that brings joy. Mrs. Hanquist noted that God was in the entire process--the colors, student choices, and the amazing outcome. Check out Room 16 to see these projects and many more on analogous and complementary colors, movement studies, and master artists.
When Kim Basl thinks about her work as Extended Care Director at SJCS, she bases plans and decisions from a belief that our faith journey is 24-7. “I want kids to be able to ask questions and have someone who can guide them toward wise and godly choices. Living for God is something that happens throughout the day, not just during school hours.”
Ms. Basl focuses on three SJCS Throughlines: GROWING BELIEVERS who understand who God is and what His will is for the world, WISE DECISION MAKERS who use discernment to guide their actions and choices, and ENGAGED CITIZENS who follow Christ by seeking to create peace and rectify injustice. Many parents, including myself, find daily blessing in the Scripture verses posted by the checkout. “I started writing the daily scripture when I noticed parents coming to pick up distracted and stressed from their day. I want them to look over and be touched by God in a way that only God knows they need. I believe these scriptures are a way for God to show them that He cares for their needs in a particular way.”
Extended Care is a time where many decisions are made as students play and do homework. Ms. Basl and her team practice a Love and Logic technique when problems arise. “When a student brings a problem to us, we give suggestions and then hand the problem back. Students practice making wise choices.” An important goal is for students to show respect through communication and action. The focus is on preparing students to live as Jesus Christ modeled for us.
Ms. Basl also oversees the Extended Care staff. Her leadership model fosters increased leadership skills in her staff as she models best practices. She knows the importance of a strong staff. “What a blessing it is to know that kids love being in the Extended Care program and parents have trust in the program offered here.” If your child attends the daycare program, be sure to ask about Miracle Monday, Serve Others Tuesday, and the group poster projects shown here.
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
Americans’ top three New Year’s resolutions circle around fitness: stay fit and healthy (37%), lose weight (32%), and enjoy life to the fullest (28%). Part of our calling as God’s people includes caring for the “temple” God gifted us in our physical bodies. “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” Two SJCS teachers and two SJCS parents recently focused on what it means to be a healthy person.
Jackie DenOuden invited SJCS parent and pediatrician, Dr. Charles Owyang, to talk to her class about the circulatory system. He shared some great health visuals to which one insightful 3rd grader queried, ““If I eat more carrots can I have more screen time?”
Middle school science teacher, Melissa Truong, led both 7th and 8th graders through a simulated engineering internship. Students studied body systems, energy, and cellular respiration. Then student pairs created nutrition bars for a post disaster emergency site. SJCS parent Michelle Kunde supported the creations with her knowledge of nutrition and cooking experience. Complex considerations included metabolism, varying needs (workers needed more carbs but the victims needed more protein), cost considerations, and taste. Mrs. Truong shared, “I was most impressed by the reactions the seventh graders had to their bars that didn't taste good. It's where this simulation came to life.” After the simulation Mrs. Truong led students to reflect on the awe and wonder of God in His design. “How can you see evidence of God's creation through the design of our metabolism?" Naomi responded, “God made each of the trillions of the cells in our body. Everything serves such a specific purpose, how elsecould anything have been created by anything/anyone BUT the one and only God? Each cell has a purpose and knows exactly what to do.” Calleigh wrote, “I think that God absolutely is incredible with how he put so much detail in everything around me, and inside me. I really enjoyed learning about cells, because at the same time we really were also learning about God's great creation. I always thought that I just had an average body ya know, but then this year we learned more and more about our bodies and how intricate God made us! I honestly can't wrap my head around how creative God really is. I really want to learn more about this, I am very curious.”
Janelle Hendricks frames her weekly K-5 computer lessons around three SJCS Throughlines: Wise Decision Makers, Efective Communicators, and Collaborative Workers. A recent Common Sense Media unit called “The Power of Words” explored these Throughlines on the topic of cyber-bullying. The unit opened with a simulation called “Across the Line” where students had to decide if a line of text was harmless or harmful communication. Each student had to physically decide whether or not to “cross the line” taped on the floor.
Cyber-bullying happens both intentionally and unintentionally. Through this unit Mrs. Hendricks set goals for students to identify cyber-bullying, grow an internal compass for wise-decision-making in their own cyberworld communication, and gain solutions to respond to possible cyber-bullying. Because written text carries no tone of voice or facial expression, cyberworld text requires a particular etiquette. One solution students learned in this unit was STOP: Step away; Tell a trusted adult; Okay sites with parents first; Pause and think online.
What can parents do? Regularly check your student’s accounts including sent mail and browsing history. Keep a current list of your student’s passwords for all accounts. Consider the screen time for members of your family. If you have not already done so, talk through and create a family media agreement and device contract. There are great resources available for parents such as Fuller Youth Institute, Dr. Powell’s Sticky Faith guide, and Circle parental controls (used by many of our SJCS teachers and parents).
As we teach, train and guide our young people to live in this beautiful, broken world, let’s be intentional on the power of our words both of and on line. How might our wise decision-making advance God’s kingdom as we engage and transform culture for Jesus Christ?
Teachers Arlet Veurink and Michelle Nibbelink believe in small changes that make a life-time impact. Over the past year they have lead students, parents and SJCS teachers through simulations to promote empathy for learning diferences. “We all learn, but we all learn diferently” shared Miss Veurink. Experiencing the various simulations gives perspective and promotes empathy. Students and teachers who complete the simulations discover new empathy, patience, and teamwork. Take a minute to try some of the "Understanding Your Child" simulations.
Another way to gain perspective is to put oneself in another’s shoes. Consider a task that is very difcult for you to do--maybe giving a public speech, catching spiders or driving in bumper to bumper trafc. What would it be like to complete that task every waking moment? For some students, school work feels that way. One parent realized, “I keep asking my child to try harder, but I realize that she has been trying hard all day.”
As our community gains understanding of learning diferences, we will gain empathy. Consider the lifetime impact of enjoying friends, teachers, and parents who show compassion for a child’s learning diferences. Little by little the atmosphere shifts. Over time, students are able to hold a loving self-image as well as a loving view of others, despite their diferences. We become a community who builds one another up as we focus on each other’s strengths. We demonstrate empathy when working through weaknesses. We consider others’ needs and willingly serve them. We heal brokenness and bring joy. SJCS is committed to helping students discover that God created each of of us as “fearfully and wonderfully made.”
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14
Miss Monique and Miss Tiffany any have done a wonderful job incorporating faith integration into this month's black history lessons. Each week, students in preschool focus on a theme/ character trait (this week it's music/joy) and memorize a verse that illustrates that theme (Psalm 100:1--Make a joyful noise unto the Lord.). The students then read stories and learn about famous African Americans who exemplify each theme (Ella Fitzgerald; Louis Armstrong).
What a fantastic way of integrating multiple subjects into each lesson! Educational excellence happens every day in our preschool, and we are truly blessed to have such amazing teachers.