Faith & Learning Blog

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Summer Safety: Tricky Strangers

June 12, 2017
By Heather Souders, Admissions & CCS mom

Well, here we are! It's officially summer break at Calvin Christian. Students have cleared out their desks, took home their piles of art projects, turned in Chromebooks and cleaned out their lockers.  As a mother of a 7, 10 and 13 year old, my mind often wonders about what I will do to keep my kids busy this summer. We'll make some plans for play dates, beach trips, play dates at the park, riding bikes around the neighborhood and one of our favorites, a trip to Barnes & Noble to pick out some books for summer reading.

Another thing that will inevitably be on my mind is summer safety (the buddy system, stranger danger, body safety, etc). In our home, we have a list of safety rules posted on the refrigerator to help remind our kids. Recently, I read a blog post from a parent who taught her kids about "tricky people". Teaching children to recognize a good stranger vs. a person that could potentially be dangerous (a "tricky stranger") is critical. 

Here's an excerpt from that blog post - 

Have you heard of the tricky people concept?  Tricky people are the new strangers. Pattie Fitzgerald, the creator of Safely Ever After where the tricky people concept originated says, “Stop telling your kids not to talk to strangers. They might need to talk to a stranger one day. Instead, teach them which sorts of strangers are safe.”

One of her guidelines for knowing what people are unsafe is the rule CJ remembered in time of need: tricky people ask kids for help. If a safe adult needs help, they’ll ask another adult. Not a kid. Pattie includes many other tips and rules for staying safe under her “prevention tips” tab on her Safely Ever After website. This website also does a great job of re-capping her life-saving information.

You can read more from this blog repost above by clicking HERE

Have a fun and safe summer! 

Tips to Stop the Summer Slide

June 02, 2017
By Jane Petro, Kindergarten Teacher

Ah! June, July, and August! Every year teachers look forward to those three months. We've worked hard and now it is time for a different schedule, some of the books that have been piling up, maybe a class or two, the beach, family!

Ugh! June, July and August!  Every year teachers dread those three months. So much can be lost. So many students go backwards. So much of our hard work just seems to dissipate.  

But it doesn't have to be that way. There are so many ways to make reading fun over the summer, especially for younger children. Put pillows in the bathtub, climb in and read books. Read books in the closet with a flashlight. Roll the windows down in the car while it's parked in the garage, climb in and read a book. Read a chapter book to them while they are eating breakfast. Be creative!  It will work!

Review each letter and sound throughout the summer. For the short U sound eat lunch under the table. Pick up hamburgers and take a hike to review the H sound. The possibilities are endless and you can find so many more ideas online. 

It's a little more challenging for older students. But consider bribing them! Or you can consider it motivating your student! Get them involved in the negotiations. How many books need to be read to earn a gift card? Or perhaps a new article of clothing from their favorite store. (It's something you'd buy anyway, right?). 

Yes! June July and August! A time to focus on your child and help them stay sharp. It's worth it. We will be praying for you. 

Prepared for the Future

May 22, 2017
By Shelli Cammenga, CCHS English

To me, watching my students walk across the stage at graduation is simultaneously the highlight and the hardest moment of the year. It is difficult to know that these young men and women of God with whom I have been able to spend the last years of high school are moving outside of my friendly, familiar classroom into a big, sometimes scary world. Even if they come back to visit, the relationship I have with them within my classroom walls was precious and I will miss it. However, the vision of the things God has in store for them is so encouraging. The education they have received at Calvin is not just to get them into a good college, it is to prepare them for a lifetime of serving God's Kingdom! I am so blessed to be a part of it.

After AP exams are over and the last few books of the semester are read and discussed, I usually spend a week with the seniors working on crafting a resume, practicing interviewing techniques, and discussing things they will need to know for their future in college and beyond. This year, I was thrilled to have two guest mock-interviewers, one of who had been an HR professional for years, give them pointers on how to stand out from the crowd by revealing their character and their gifts. It is so fun to see the shadows of who they are becoming and will be in their future careers.

The greatest comfort when I see them walk across that stage though, is not the confidence that this interviewing practice will land them their dream job. My comfort is not the hope that in a few years they will return saying, as many of my past students have, that their initial college essays were a breeze compared to my class and that they felt prepared. My greatest comfort is not even that they have learned how to properly think and view truth from a Christian perspective because of repeated classroom discussions determining the worldview of everything they read, watched, and came in contact with. My greatest comfort is that my students are not their own, but belong to God, and that each element of their education has worked together for their good in his sovereign design, preparing them for a kingdom of service. As the summer draws near, I am increasingly thankful that God uses me and my colleagues at Calvin as tools to prepare this children for the rest of eternity.

Not-So-Random Acts of Kindness

May 05, 2017
By Gina Sur, North Coast Church

In 2017, Calvin Christian School will share a blog from a local pastor every month. This month, we share a post titled "Not-So-Random Acts of Kindness" from children's pastor Gina Sur at North Coast Church Vista.


I recently attended a conference where one of my main take-aways was the simple truth that little things can turn into big things. Now I know what you’re thinking. That’s pretty simple, alright! But before you urge me to demand a refund, consider this:

The story of Jesus feeding 5,000 is recounted in all four gospels. We learn that the crowds followed Jesus as he attempted to find solitude, and because of his great compassion for the people, he taught them and healed those who were sick (Luke 9:10-11). Jesus was also concerned for the physical needs of the people, and did not want to send them away hungry (Matthew 15:32). As dusk approached, the disciples urged Jesus to dismiss the crowds so they could leave and get something to eat since they were gathered in a remote place. But Jesus answered, “You give them something to eat.” (Mark 6:37). John 6:6 says that Jesus already knew what he was going to do with the five small loaves and two small fish that were offered by a boy. Each of the gospels then describes the miracle that happened next: after giving thanks, Jesus fed the crowd, which numbered over 10,000 including women and children. After everyone had eaten their fill, twelve baskets were needed to collect the leftovers.

Did you notice the adjective used to describe the loaves and fish? How about where they came from? Do you think the boy had any idea of what was to come when he offered his food? Imagine his mother’s reaction when she learned what happened. And how does Jesus respond to the disciples’ suggestion to dismiss the crowd? Do you think the disciples understood Jesus was inviting them to participate in a miracle? In this Biblical illustration of how little things can turn into big things, we see how a small act of kindness can be miraculously transformed in God’s hands. What does this story reveal about God’s heart? I see a God who has compassion for those who seek Him and divine provision using…us! It’s hard to understand why our almighty and sovereign God, who could meet needs with a single command, just as He spoke the universe into existence, desires to work with and through us -- Creator in relationship with His creation --- unless He not only desires this, He actually delights in it!

God doesn’t need our help to pull off a miracle or meet the needs of His people, what could be better than to be used by God? So ask yourself, “What little act of kindness can I do today that God could potentially turn into something miraculously big?” Invite someone to church. Offer grace. Listen actively. Say something nice. Share your smile. Practice patience. Tell a joke. Give a hug. Your so-called random act of kindness may not be so random in God’s eyes. And it just may be the small beginning of something He plans to make really big.

Recent Posts

6/12/17 - By Heather Souders, Admissions & CCS mom
6/2/17 - By Jane Petro, Kindergarten Teacher
5/22/17 - By Shelli Cammenga, CCHS English
5/5/17 - By Gina Sur, North Coast Church
4/21/17 - By Heather Souders

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