Spotlight Series: Preschool Music & Worship
This blog is part of a new series for the 2022-23 school year to ILLUMINATE how God is at work at San Jose Christian School. Each post will spotlight a specific grade level and/or program. The first post in this series is a spotlight on the Preschool Music & Worship program, and features interviews from: Ms. Monique Nicoleau (Preschool Director), Ms. Cat Miller (Worship and Performing Arts Teacher), and Mrs. Cat Vo (Preschool Lead Teacher, Dragonflies).
Monique Nicoleau came to San Jose Christian as a Preschool Teacher in 2016 and became the Preschool Director two years later. She said one thing that she enjoys about her current role is being able to advocate for the teachers, since she understands what it is like to be one. One of her goals as the Director is to align the Preschool with JK-8 in order to create greater unity across the campus.
In addition to unity, Ms. Nicoleau has also contributed to an evolution in what music and worship looks like in the Preschool. Since its opening in 2009, the Preschool has always had chapel and music. But the program developed significantly with the influence of Ms. Cat Miller.
Since her arrival in 2019, Ms. Miller has added new student opportunities such as Tigers Got Talent, grade-level-specific musicals, and daily Preschool Music that connects to and enhances the preschool curriculum. Ms. Nicoleau said, “We were so happy to onboard Cat because it took the weight off of other teachers trying to have to do [music]... And now having music incorporated into the weekly curriculum is even better.”
“I think music is just another language that God has given us, and it’s universal.”
“I believe it begins their day centered,” Ms. Nicoleau responded, explaining the benefits of teaching music and worship at a young age. She added that the program also enhances student listening skills, coordination, and self-expression. Moreover, teaching music gives students the vocabulary and the language to worship God in a way that is both universal and already intrinsic to us as humans. Ms. Miller put it this way: “I think music is just another language that God has given us, and it’s universal.”
In fact, everything anyone needs to worship is intrinsic; when students sing and dance during Preschool Music and Chapel, they come before God with their whole heart, mind, and body. Ms. Miller observes that, at this young age, students are not self-monitoring, but instead she sees, “so much exuberance in [their] worship. They’re just free to worship and they use their whole bodies and give all their hearts.”
Watching these children sing and dance is just fun. And while it is adorable to see, Ms. Miller reminds us that, “There’s no mini Holy Spirit.” Preschool students are not accessing only part of the Spirit because of their age or their size. Their worship is big, and it is pleasing to God. It is a reminder why Jesus taught us to come before God just like these children (Matthew 18:4).
Both Ms. Nicoleau and Mrs. Cat also reported seeing the Holy Spirit at work in their preschoolers when students offer prayer requests and praises. In this part of the daily routine, they expressed that students are “excited to pray,” and students and teachers alike use this time to focus their day. Incorporating prayer into the day also creates a community that relies on and trusts God. Mrs. Cat told how, throughout the day, if she, or a student, feels something tugging on their heart, they will stop and pray, often interceding on someone else’s behalf.
These opportunities teach young students that they are the ones in relationship with God. In these moments, preschoolers see that there is no one right way to worship. They can clap, jump, or stand still; they can pray for what’s on their heart aloud or silently. But in all these moments, they are growing in their faith and strengthening a foundation that can never be taken away.
“There’s no mini Holy Spirit… Everyone can use their gifts.”
Like every program at San Jose Christian, our Preschool develops the Whole Child. This means that teachers and staff not only teach students academically, but also socially, emotionally, and spiritually. Mrs. Cat stated how she treats music the same as any other subject such as math or Spanish. She uses songs to teach other subjects and has a center with musical instruments that students can use during Center Time. Putting it succinctly, Mrs. Cat added: “Everything ties in together. We're here to learn, we're here to teach, we're here to grow, we're here to engage in all these things.”
This approach to education at San Jose Christian School is the core of our mission. Describing the best part of working at the school, everyone pointed to the joy at seeing student growth over the year, or years. Referencing Proverbs 22:6, Ms. Nicoleau said we: “‘Raise up a child in the direction they will go.’ If we teach worship at a young age, I feel they will carry it as they get older.”
Part of teaching several different grade levels at once, is understanding each developmental stage and being able to create a program that builds as students move through it. In Preschool, Ms. Miller noted that this looks like both balancing movement and imagination and giving students plenty of opportunities for wonder. For example, when they experience a new instrument, it’s a hands-on experience where students hold and manipulate the new object to try it in several different ways. She said, “I love being in with kids as they're just discovering the world and it's kind of like I get to discover it with them.”
The consistency of Ms. Miller’s curriculum throughout the grade levels means students are more prepared for band and choir and have more confidence in performances and musicals. At San Jose Christian, there is an opportunity to perform and sing at every level, from Preschool to 8th Grade. “It just builds… It becomes familiar,” Ms. Miller said. Without consistency, students may not think they can sing or perform on stage. That is why Ms. Miller does put them on the stage and give them a microphone, even when they’re three. “I give them a chance to develop these skills, and their talents that God already put in them, and it gives them the confidence to use [a performance] to declare His name.”
“It honestly does not feel like work at all… It feels like you're going to where God is sending you today.”
Ultimately, we know, and proclaim, that it is God doing the work. Describing her favorite part of teaching Preschool, Mrs. Cat responded that she really loved reading and teaching Bible stories in her class. She said, “I take it very seriously, where it's like: ‘Wow, God’s using me to minister to them’… At first, I couldn't wrap my head around it.” Feeling God’s presence and the Holy Spirit working through her was a reminder that she isn’t just reading a Bible story; rather, she is “speaking the message that God put in me for that day.”
This is also how Mrs. Cat sees God’s Light at San Jose Christian. Speaking with true amazement, she expressed the feeling she gets when student growth and understanding is evident in the Preschool classroom. “When they speak up and they are retelling what we've learned throughout the day, or like their feedback, even… that's where it makes me feel good.” She also related how parents have observed this Light in their children as well. Parents tell her that their kids are going home singing, worshiping, and telling them everything they learned that day.
“I also see it in the teachers,” Ms. Miller replied, describing where she sees the Light. She said Chapel is one of the few places everyone is together, participating in the same event. Usually, teachers have prep time when Ms. Miller comes to their rooms for music class; but in Chapel, everyone is together, as one body. “The teachers are worshiping with the kids during Chapel, and we're like a family worshiping together. It's like all of us together, worshiping God. And that is – that is everything.”
“It honestly does not feel like work at all,” Mrs. Cat affirmed. “It's just like going to church every single day except you're at work, and that's the best part of it… It feels like you're going to where God is sending you today.”
San Jose Christian School will present The Preschool Mini Musical on April 21, 2023 at 9:30AM.
Rae Sterk is the Director of Community Development at San Jose Christian.
Monique Nicoleau is the Preschool Director at San Jose Christian School.
Cat Miller is the Music and Worship Teacher at San Jose Christian School.
Catherine Vo (Mrs. Cat) is the Lead Teacher in the Dragonflies classroom at San Jose Christian.
Light Shines Through: Teachings from the Biblical Narrative
The mission of San Jose Christian School is to advance the kingdom of God through exceptional teaching and curriculum fully integrated with a Biblical perspective. Within our Christian community, we seek to engage and transform culture for Jesus Christ.
From the opening pages of the Bible until the final pages, LIGHT weaves through the narratives, prophecies, and poetry, teaching us about who God is, who we are as God’s people, and what Light has to do with our purpose. Genesis 1 begins:
“When God began to create the heavens and the earth, the earth was complete chaos, and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.” Genesis 1:1-3
In between Genesis and Revelation, Light shows up again and again teaching us that:
God’s Light brings order to chaos.
God offers Light to all.
Jesus is the Light of the world.
Light reveals truth, so those who live in Light live in truth.
God’s Light shines unto eternity.
Our mission to advance the kingdom of God and transform culture for Jesus Christ aligns with biblical teaching on Light. Each and every day, we see examples of this teaching as the Light of God shines across grade levels, ages, and subjects.
God’s Light brings order to chaos. I recently saw this Biblical teaching on light in the 8 Bible course introduction. Students considered the biblical narrative from Genesis to Revelation and sought to name the “Top Ten Events.” Working through events such as Creation, the Fall, the prophets, the Silent Years, and Jesus’ life, students collaboratively articulated how God showed His desire for relationship with His people in that particular event. They then visually represented God’s presence in one Bible event. Albert created this watercolor piece which portrays God’s God’s relational presence with his people after the fall of Genesis 3.
Light reveals truth, so those who live in Light live in truth. Our Grade 6 students begin middle school history with the GRAPES acronym. After a brief introduction of each element of culture (Geography, Religion, Achievement, Politics, Economics, Social Structure), students created a circle book of the GRAPES of their lives and cultures. The journal prompt at the end of the circle book allowed students to consider why their particular life matters. Liam wrote, “My history matters because God has a special purpose for my life.”
God offers Light to all! SJCS parents can watch faith integration unfold throughout the year through the student Faith Journey portfolios. (If you do not yet have access to your child’s Preschool - 8th Grade Faith Journey portfolio, ask your child’s teacher.) Miss Blenda recently posted how math can be used to teach about God. She wrote in PJ’s Faith Journey post that even as little ones our life can feel stressful at times, but a clock reminds him that God loves us all the time.
These recent moments are part of the greater story of God’s Light at San Jose Christian. For over 60+ years God’s Light has shone through students, parents, staff, and our community across grade levels, content areas, and programs. This is our worship! We declare that Jesus is the Light of the world as we offer God the chaos of our lives in the midst of a broken world. We pray “God, shine your Light!” in confidence that God, as the Light of the World, brings order to our chaos, offers Light to all, and calls us to live as people of Light.
Although we cannot see what is ahead for San Jose Christian, our future is secure in Jesus Christ as God guides our steps with His Light. We walk in faith knowing that God’s Light shines unto eternity! Revelation 22 opens our imagination to what it is like to live in Light:
“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb … the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations…the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him…they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.” Revelation 22:1-5
Let’s live as people of Light!
Connecting the SJCS Mission with 2022 MAP Growth Results
The mission of San Jose Christian School is to advance the kingdom of God through exceptional teaching and curriculum fully integrated with Biblical perspective. Within our Christian community we seek to engage and transform culture for Jesus Christ.
The SJCS mission may seem unrelated to MAP testing, but perhaps I will open your imagination to how MAP testing and our mission intersect. For the past three years, SJCS Grades 2 - 8 students have taken MAP Growth tests in math, reading, and grammar in both the fall and spring. In all three years of offering NWEA MAP standardized testing at SJCS, class RIT averages in all grades and tests scored higher than the norm grade level mean RIT. (Click here or thumbnail below for Spring 2022 results)
Thanks to new data available from MAP Growth, we also know that SJCS students currently score equal to or higher than California Private Schools in ALL GRADES and SUBJECTS. This is an incredible achievement! (Click her or thumbnail below for table with CA Private school comparisons)
Small class sizes, commitment to excellence, credentialed teachers, engaging learning environment, commitment to 21st century learning, and faith-integrated lessons at SJCS all support these excellent scores. In the long term view, these excellent scores are part of impacting the world for Jesus Christ. Imagine the impact our students will have for years to come!
Keep spreading the word about our amazing school and community! With an excellent academic program we can increase enrollment, allowing for greater resources and student opportunities.
Our commitment to teach the whole child develops academically strong students who embody the SJCS Throughlines. Our students are GROWING BELIEVERS who can articulate their faith; they are EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATORS who speak, write, and listen purposely and skillfully; and they are WISE DECISION-MAKERS who understand creation, fall, redemption, and restoration in their lives as well as in the world around them. Our students score well on MAP testing in part because they experience school as integrated people who connect learning to life in a safe, dynamic environment.
As we look to the future of these students, strong academics allow our graduates to bring their faith, integrity, skills, and work ethic to careers in a vast arena of fields where the kingdom of God is lived out each and every day. For example, our alumni enter the medical field (Class of 2015), law (Class of 2015), engineering (Class of 2017), and music (Class of 2013). SJCS graduates attend excellent colleges such as Santa Clara University (Class of 2016), UC Davis (Class of 2015), Biola (Class of 2001), and UCLA (Class 2017).
One SJCS graduate commented, “Of all the schools I attended, SJCS was the most important in my educational career” (Jessie M, Class of 1998).
A current middle school parent wrote this year, “SJCS has helped [my son] become a better person. He is a true testament to the grace, love, and power of positive encouragement to guide a student who was being kicked out of the public school system in First Grade to a child of God who looks for opportunities to help others. He is now a positive role model and earns A/B [grades] in a school that teaches at an advanced pace and level. Our family is very grateful to be a part of the SJCS family!”
Be encouraged, SJCS Community - God is doing great work here in our community through our staff and students.
KABOOM! Playground Storybook - Commemorating A Special Gift
Kaboom! and Delta Air Lines partnered together to build a new play space for San Jose Christian School. Through the playground grant program, Kaboom! provides many kids a space to play and let their imaginations soar. We are so blessed to be a recipient of the Kaboom! Grant and our students have enjoyed their new space immensely. Recently Kaboom! provided San Jose Christian School this special digital storybook keepsake to commemorate the wonderful gift we received in December 2020.
Highlights from Our Teaching Principal
Recently during our SJCS Association Meeting, Jen Baham, Teaching Principal, highlighted some of the wonderful aspects of our community during the 2020-2021 school year. We are excited to share these highlights as we look forward to another year of faith integrated, exceptional teaching which makes a difference in this world.
SJCS Tigers are "streaking" their way to success!
You may have heard that a group of tigers is called a streak. Tigers are generally solitary animals but when grouped together, like we are at SJCS, we can do amazing things when we put our minds to it!
We began our year of physical education talking about our theme "Made to Thrive" and I shared the scripture from Psalm 139:14 with our students,
"I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well." (NIV)
We have many opportunities in our classes to glorify God as we move and create in our play and our exercise.
This year, as we emphasize our personal physical fitness we have focused in the area of cardiovascular endurance. This has been a new challenge for our students this year as we are all working toward a goal of running a marathon by the end of the school year to join the "Marathon Club." Our students are learning to challenge themselves, to push through the hard days of exercise, and to rejoice and be glad in the bodies we have been given by our Great Creator, God. All for His glory!
I'm proud to share with you that 33 of our students have reached their goal of a full marathon (26.2 miles) at the end 3rd quarter! We have several students who will reach their marathon goal within the next month. Overall, our students have run over 2,500 miles in the 2020-21 school year! Please celebrate their accomplishments with us.
Congratulations to our 5th grade class! They have the highest percent of students reaching their marathon goal for the year (33%) in our Elementary grades.
Congratulations to our 6th grade class as well. They have the highest percentage of students reaching marathon status in Middle School with 44% of the class reaching their goal.
Eleven of our Middle School students continued their running as members of our SJCS Cross Country team. Due to COVID restrictions, we were unable to have an official meet (race) with other schools as we had hoped, however we did have our own team race at Montgomery Hill Park on March 23rd. We are proud of our team and the hard work they put in training after school two days a week and once on weekends during January, February, and March. Thank you for supporting our Tigers and for getting your orange crush on for our race that day!
San Jose Christian School, Delta Air Lines and KABOOM! Work to End Playspace Inequity with a New Playground in Campbell, CA.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
San Jose Christian School, Delta Air Lines and KABOOM! Work to End Playspace Inequity with a New Playground in Campbell, CA
The new playspace brings joy to hundreds of kids after months of playground closures
(Campbell, CA – December 14, 2020) – Kids at San Jose Christian School (SJCS) in Campbell are celebrating today because they have a great new place to play. For months, representatives from San Jose Christian School, Delta and KABOOM! (the nonprofit organization focused on ending playspace inequity) have been working together to increase access to playspaces for local kids with the creation of a new, kid-designed playground that was installed on December 8, 2020. The playground will give kids an incredible place to play close to where they live and learn, an opportunity that is often hard to achieve.
Since 1959, San Jose Christian School has been partnering with Christian families to provide students with a strong foundation for life. SJCS started the school year with distance learning but remained hopeful Santa Clara County would accept their waiver application to have on-campus instruction. The County approved their waiver application and SJCS has been operating under this waiver since September 28th and continues to have on-campus instruction. Individual learning cohorts will begin using the playspace as an early Christmas present before the Christmas break.
Mr. Buddy Hucks, Head of School at San Jose Christian School said, “Considering the year we have had, San Jose Christian School is feeling blessed to have on-campus instruction and have a new playground. It is fantastic to hear the children learn and play on campus. The students love being on campus and have adjusted very well to the protocols put in place to be open. They are certainly excited to play on and explore the new playground.”.
Mr. Hucks added, “We are so grateful for this opportunity to create memories for our students that will last a lifetime. The playground we replaced was more than 20 years old. It was well used and created lasting memories for many generations. It is very exciting to think of the memories and friendships that will be created on this new playground provided by Delta Air Lines and KABOOM!.”
In October, kids from the SJCS community participated in a virtual Design Day where they creatively thought of ideas to create their dream playground. The new playground, which was designed with inspiration from their drawings, will provide hundreds of kids and their families with an incredible playspace that can spark hope and enable kids to reach their full potential.
While San Jose Christian School is currently operating with a closed campus due to the COVID-19 crisis, their team is looking forward to opening the playspace to their surrounding neighbors to enjoy when it is safe to do so.
KABOOM! knows that playspaces are essential to resilience, health and childhood. The communities that have been hit the hardest by COVID-19 are more likely to be communities of color that also often lack access to parks and playspaces due to historic disinvestment. The partners have teamed up to help end playspace inequity, creating a new place for kids to play that reflects the neighborhood’s unique needs and aspirations, and gives every kid the opportunity to experience the joys of childhood.
“We know disasters and crises often exacerbate the inequities that communities are already experiencing, and in many communities, kids won’t have a playground to go back to once the COVID-19 crisis is over,” says James Siegal, CEO of KABOOM!. “We must stop the playspace inequities from becoming even deeper after we get through this pandemic, giving every kid the chance to play and just enjoy being a kid.”
Through its partnership with Delta, KABOOM! is committed to ending playspace inequity for kids, for communities, for good.
To ensure that playgrounds are able to open safely in every community, KABOOM! has issued important playground guidance that all communities, playground owner/operators and caregivers can follow. The guidance can be viewed or downloaded at kaboom.org/reopen.
About San Jose Christian School
Since 1959, San Jose Christian School has been partnering with Christian families to provide students with a strong foundation for life. We prepare students for academic success in high school and beyond, and we care deeply about each child’s physical, social, and spiritual development. At San Jose Christian School, we teach students to develop a Biblical worldview where they are discerners and world-changers. We believe in teaching the Whole Child, recognizing that God created us all with different abilities and gifts. We hold every student to his or her level of Educational Excellence within a safe and loving environment.
About Delta Air Lines
Delta’s mission to connect the world starts with its commitment to being a strong partner to the communities where our employees live, work and serve. Giving back has been core to Delta and its culture for the past 90 years, demonstrated by its commitment to invest in charitable organizations each year. Delta, The Delta Air Lines Foundation and its employees contribute thousands of volunteer hours and millions of dollars to a host of causes across the globe.
Delta has also been named an honoree of The Civic 50 by Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service for the past three years in a row. In 2019, for a third straight year, Delta landed on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list, the only airline to do so. Delta has also been named Best Workplaces for Diversity, Women and Millennials by Fortune and Great Places to Work.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Delta has served as many as 200 million people a year, taking customers across an industry-leading global network of up to 300 destinations in over 50 countries. More about Delta can be found on Delta News Hub as well as delta.com, via @DeltaNewsHub on Twitter and Facebook.com/delta.
KABOOM! is the national non-profit that works to achieve playspace equity. Kids who don’t have access to play miss out on childhood and are denied critical opportunities to build physical, social and emotional health. And all too often, it more deeply affects communities of color. So we amplify the power of communities to build inspiring playspaces that spark unlimited opportunities for every kid, everywhere. KABOOM! has teamed up with partners to build or improve 17,000+ playspaces, engage more than 1.5 million community members and bring joy to more than 11 million kids. To learn about our goal to end playspace inequity for good, visit kaboom.org and join the conversation at twitter.com/kaboom, facebook.com/kaboom and instagram.com/kaboom.
San Jose Christian School: Christopher Pinkham | 408-371-7741 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Delta Air Lines: Delta Media | 404-715-2554 | email@example.com
KABOOM!: Tamara Grider | 202-464-6411 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Charles Spurgeon, a London pastor who lived in the 19th century, is known as the “Prince of Preachers” and for good reason. Spurgeon was renowned for his oratory skills and could preach sermons that would captivate his audience. Over the course of his 38 years as a pastor, thousands of people came to hear him preach and when he died, the whole of London mourned his passing. Spurgeon left a great legacy of stalwart faith in Christ and a treasury of writings still read and respected by theologians today.
One of his quotes which I came across the other day, challenged me as both a parent and an educator:
“You are as much serving God in looking after your own children, training them up in God’s fear. . .as you would be if you had been called to lead an army to battle for the Lord of Host.”
What a challenge for Christians! What an encouragement, also! While directed at parents, this quote applies just as well to Christian educators. Training Christian young people is serious business. We are working with parents to equip their children to be soldiers for Christ. Thank you, SJCS families, for trusting us with this awesome responsibility. Who knows? Maybe the world’s next Spurgeon will be one of your children. Thank you for helping us continue our legacy of offering a quality Christian education for almost 60 years.
Give Thanks in All Circumstances
First of all, I would like to say that our CityTeam food drive was a great success! Thank you to everyone who donated and those who helped organize the food drive. Not only did we fill up the ten barrels we had, but the overflow filled up an additional four barrels. Last week’s chapel speaker was a CityTeam success story. Scott spoke about how CityTeam provided food and shelter for him when he was homeless, but more importantly, he shared how CityTeam shared the gospel with him and changed his life forever. CityTeam is an excellent example of the gospel in action, and we are grateful for the opportunity to have a small part in assisting them with their ministry in our local community.
This week we celebrate Thanksgiving, a time we traditionally set aside to fellowship with family and friends, indulge in delicious food and to focus on what we are thankful for. While the country at large may focus on thankfulness one time a year, Christians recognize that a spirit of gratitude should pervade our daily lives all year long. As fallible humans, however, it is not always easy to keep a thankful heart when our circumstances seem to demand a negative response from us.
Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to “give thanks in all circumstances,” not some circumstances or most circumstances, but all circumstances. It would seem that God is asking of us the impossible. How does one give thanks in the worst possible circumstances? It is most definitely not easy, but it is possible. I am not suggesting that we have to be thankful for the bad things themselves, but we can be thankful for what God has done and will do in our lives despite the bad things. Our God heals broken people and redeems sinful situations and gives to those who mourn beauty for ashes (Isaiah 61:3).
We live in a fallen, broken world. Very bad and evil things happen to very good and righteous people, and it seems very unfair. Why do some seem to suffer so much and others hardly at all? I do not have an answer for that, and we will likely not know this side of heaven why God allows certain things to happen to certain people. One thing we rest assured of is that our Heavenly Father loves us with an everlasting love. He is working everything in our lives for our good and His glory, and His will for us is to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances” (Thessalonians 5:18).
As you enjoy the remaining days of holiday weekend, and while we celebrate the improved air quality in the bay area, please join me in continuing to pray for those devastated by the fire north of us. May each person see the Gospel lived out through our prayers and actions.
In Loco Parentis
Many years ago, when my wife and I were young new parents, we read a book by Ted Tripp called Shepherding Your Child’s Heart. (This is an excellent book, and I would highly recommend it.) The premise of the book is that Christian parents should not just focus on external behaviors although that is important. More importantly, however, Christian parents should focus on the internal heart attitudes in their children. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” Engaging our children’s hearts means reaching them with the gospel.
We as Christian school educators have the responsibility of doing the same thing while children are in our care. At San Jose Christian School we take that responsibility seriously. Our goal is not just a change in outward behavior, but a change of heart. We strive to reach each student with the truth of the gospel. It is much easier, of course, to deal with outward behavior because that is usually cut and dried; however, more often than not, outward behavior is an expression of the overflow of the heart. Luke 6:45 reminds us that “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” A permanent change in behavior comes from a change in the heart; therefore, we want to remove the “evil treasure” and replace it with “good treasure.” Reaching the heart of a child is harder and takes time, but this is the most important work of parents and educators.
How do we as parents and educators “shepherd” a child’s heart? Much like a shepherd who uses his staff to pull a wandering sheep back into the fold and away from danger, we must use the truth of the Bible to point out the sin in the child’s life and lovingly point them in the direction of the truth of the grace and mercy offered us by our heavenly Father. We must also be vigilant concerning the primary shaping influences in a child’s life which are the home, church and school. And, of course, we should pray for the Holy Spirit to work in our children’s hearts and for them to grow in their relationship with God.
Thank you, SJCS families, for letting us stand in loco parentis while your children are in our care. We do not take our responsibility lightly. SJCS has a long history of “shepherding” children, and our primary goal is to continue that tradition and for all of our students to grow in their relationship with the Savior.
Caelum et Terra
“The Heavens declare the glory of God,” as the Psalmist says. This is a truth that my wife and I wanted to instill in our children as they were growing up. Whenever we asked them who made the stars or the ocean or the flowers, they immediately answered with a resounding “God made it!” They took for granted that God made everything in creation. For them it was a given, as it should be for all Christians. God made everything in the universe and sustains it. Question 8 of the OPC Shorter Catechism asks, “How does God execute his decrees?” The answer is “God executes his decrees in the works of creation and providence.” Creation is the evidence of God’s providence, but sometimes even Christians take creation for granted. We forget that creation is evidence of God’s sustaining power not only in the universe but also in each of our lives. We may not always see clearly His hand at work, and sometimes it may seem that He has abandoned us altogether. Sometimes when I feel far from God, all I have to do is pause to reflect on the awesomeness of His creation. Matthew 6:26 reminds us that if God takes care of the sparrow, how much more will He take care of us. Question 9 of the Shorter Catechism asks, “What is the work of creation?” And the response is “The work of creation is God's making all things of nothing, by the word of his power, in the space of six days, and all very good.” If God can make all things of nothing, He is certainly able to work all things for good in our lives.
This past week a group of dads met for prayer (Dads in Prayer, aka DIPS). As we talked and prayed, we were reminded of how the hand of God is at work in each other’s lives. We kept coming back to the same conclusion—God has everything in His control. Even if we don’t understand all that is going on in the world and our lives, and even when things seem to be spiraling out of control, God is in perfect control. Part of what make the SJCS community so special is that we understand Who has ultimate control of everything. This truth should be a source of great comfort to us. We live in a fallen world full of broken and hurting people, but God is still in control and works all things for our good and His glory.
Dads, please consider joining us on the first and third Tuesday of the month at 8:30 AM in the auditorium for a time of prayer and fellowship. When believers gather together to go before God, it not only strengthens us, but it reminds us that God is in control.
This Tiger Tracks Latin phrase is Caelum et Terra. Have your child translate this passage by Friday and turn it in me. Please make sure their names are on the translation.
Do You Shop On Amazon?
If you are an Amazon shopper we encourage you to sign up for AmazonSmile. AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support SJCS every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to SJCS. Click here to learn more about using AmazonSmile
Leaving a Legacy
What does it mean to leave a legacy? I found numerous definitions/explanations of what leaving a legacy means. Webster’s Dictionary defined legacy as anything handed down from the past. An article in Huffington Post defined it as the need or the desire to be remembered for what you have contributed to the world.
To me, legacy means what did my character say about me, what did others learn from me, what will I be remembered for after I am gone and what positive impact did I have on others.
On August 28, 2018, Tina Vander Veen, a long time supporter of SJCS passed
away at the age of 94. She left a legacy! Tina had 12 grandchildren. All 12
grandchildren graduated from SJCS. For one year, all 12 attended SJCS at the
same time-the oldest in 8th grade and the youngest just starting kindergarten.
Tina and her husband Sid, until he passed away many years ago, were attendees to every event that their grandchildren participated in at SJCS. Even after Sid’s passing away, you would see Tina at every sporting event, musical event, fundraising event, special event, and of course, Grandfriend’s Day.
Numerous years ago, Tina and Sid were presented the gift of being named the ‘Official Grandparents of SJCS’ for their many years of dedication and commitment to SJCS. This plague was proudly displayed in their home. Anyone who came into the home was shown the plague and told about SJCS. This plague was also on display at Tina’s memorial service. She took great pride in being part of the SJCS family.
Tina not only attended events of her grandchildren, she modeled a life that they would remember in great detail. Tina was a godly woman, faithful in prayer, faithful in reading her Bible, faithful in trusting God, faithful in serving and loving others. As one grandchild shared, “‘Beppe" showed unconditional selfless love to every person she encountered.” She was not only Beppe to her grandchildren but to her grandchildren’s friends. And as her family grew, she invested that same unconditional love to her 22 great-grandchildren.
Tina is now enjoying her eternal reward with her heavenly Father, but her legacy lives on through her family and those of us at SJCS that knew her.
Ora et Labora
After I became a believer, I felt that God was moving me toward some type of full- time ministry. So I set off to Bible College to begin my training. I was nineteen and had about $300.00 to my name and hoped God would provide the rest (He did). I enrolled in a college in Florida designed to help train full-time Christian ministry workers.
As many of you know, the workload during the first year of college can be overwhelming, but you buckle down, study hard, and do your work. As I was getting ready the take my first major test, the professor led a prayer for all of us before he administered the test. I was expecting “God help everyone get an A’, “God, give these students the supernatural ability to do better than they should”, or something like that. But, he didn’t, he prayed “Lord, let this test be an accurate reflection on the amount of work that these students put forth.” In my head, I said “WHAT” that is not fair, I need a little supernatural help on this test.
That prayer shaped more of my life than the details I can remember from the class. I was reminded of that lesson again during my recent chat with our sixth grade life skills class. The topic was, “What have I had to overcome in my life.” My main point to them — God is faithful to His children, pray but work hard. We see this in Colossians 3:23-24
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
So what exactly is Ora et Labora. When I taught a beginning (very basic) Latin class to my students, this is one of the first phrases we learned. Without giving it away, have your child translate the phrase and put their names on the paper and turn it in to me. I will draw from all of the correct answers by this Friday, for a special prize.
Being part of the SJCS community requires an understanding of a variety of terms, expressions, and acronyms. Here are two:
CSI (Christian Schools International)
This is one of our accreditation organizations. Their mission is to advance Christian education, to support schools in their task of teaching students to know God and his world, and to glorify him through obedient service. They offer professional development and various curriculum resources to teachers. They hold accredited schools to standards of excellence in all areas of academics and faith integration. Click here for more information.
LOVE & LOGIC
Love and Logic provides parents and teachers with practical, proven tools for raising respectful, responsible, and happy kids! Through this program, parents and teachers learn techniques that:
Are simple and easy to learn.
Teach responsibility and character.
Lower your stress level.
Have immediate and positive effects.
Love and Logic resources are housed in the SJCS library and can be checked out by SJCS staff and community. More information can be found here.
Life Is Grand
On December 30, 2016, my family and I will be celebrating my grandmother’s 100th birthday. All five generations will gather, and she can’t wait. (Yes, she is a great, great grandmother to my grandson, Nolan.) If I had to name the greatest influencer in my life, it would be her. She continues to be a marvel, a true prayer warrior, and a blessing to all who know her.
Back when my son Matt was in high school, he wrote the following:
Now, almost 88 years old, my great grandmother is still thriving. She loves life, her family, and mostly, our Father in heaven. I believe that my children will also be able to have stories told and adventures to experience with Gigi, if not first hand, certainly through the memories we have made together. Looking at her life and how she has lived, through joys and sorrows, yet always relying on the Lord, motivates me to live my life to its fullest and never let opportunities pass me by. She will always have a special place in her heart for me, but I know in my heart that my love for her can overcome anything. She will inspire me and my family for years to come. After all, she is the one and only Gigi.
Come to GrandFriend’s Day on November 22 to celebrate family and friends, and the godly influencers in your life and in the lives of your children. Be that influencer in others’ lives. Enjoy and be grateful for God’s gift of family.
We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power, and the wonders he has done. Psalm 78:4
Pray Without Ceasing
San Jose Christian School is a praying community. God calls us to pray without ceasing (Colossians 4:2), and to pray for others (James 5:16) and we do that. Very few things bring me more joy than walking into a classroom and listening to the prayers of our students- for each other, for their families, and for their friends.
Last year, the faculty and the middle school began praying for a young man in South Africa. He was very ill with cancer, with what seemed little hope for recovery. Just a few days ago, Mrs. Coetsee informed the staf and students that God continues to be in the business of miracles. Rayno, who has been on a road of trials, is cancer free. Praise God! And that is exactly what the students did in shared emails. Words of praise and thanksgiving filled the inboxes.
Prayer connects us with God, but it also connects us in community and allows us to celebrate His faithfulness! Being able to share in answered prayer is God’s way of allowing us to see Him at work. Do our prayers alter God’s intentions? No. However, it is through prayer that we build our relationship with God.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Philippians 4:4