Faith & Learning Blog
Connecting Faith and Learning Blog
My 6th and 7th grade history classes recently completed a project that involved identifying and interpreting Pacific Northwest Coastal Native art forms and symbolism.
I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and in doing so was blessed with being exposed to a rich Native American culture, especially in terms of their powerful art images. Because I have always been intrigued by this unique type of art, I thought I would have my junior high students learn about the Pacific Northwest Native style, the specific symbolism that is a part of their imagery, and how that is a part of their larger worldview as a culture.
We first discussed and contrasted the pantheistic worldviews of the PNW tribes to that of a Christian biblical worldview, and looked to scripture to see where their beliefs were in contrast to biblical truth. Students then researched original PNW designs - identifying and using the appropriate colors used by the tribes. The final product becomes one that has redemptive value. In that, we are not only staying true to the beautiful style of the PNW tribes, but illustrating aspects of the one true God and his creation.
In a sense, there are two ways to approach artwork from a culture and peoples of a very different religious view than our own. We can look at artwork with a seasoning of “common grace”. Theologian Louis Berkhof describes common grace as, “...common because its benefits are experienced by, or intended for, the whole human race without distinction between one person and another. It is grace because it is undeserved and sovereignly bestowed by God.” Or, the artwork could be looked at through a biblical view; one that serves as a filter - showing what is praiseworthy and what might go against God and His creative order.
On its own, there is meaning and message that can be learned from looking at artwork; whether from within our own culture, or from different cultures like that of the native tribes of the Pacific Northwest. But it is my task as an educator to facilitate questions and discussion with my students when looking at art, and encourage them to respond according to a Christian perspective. No matter if I am looking at or talking about any type of art, I try to ask myself or pose to my students the following questions in some manner:
Does it relate to or bring out some aspect of our faith?
Does it give us an opportunity to discern?
Does it help us see the world and God’s people in unique or new ways?
Does it convey feelings of anger, doubt, forgiveness, reconciliation, love, or God’s grace?
Does it encourage and positively affect our hearts and minds?
Does it give opportunity to share the joy of knowing Christ?
As an educator and artist, I am excited to bring my students into a forum where we can view, discuss, create, and appreciate art - looking at its redemptive value as well as how it speaks to us as Christians. At Calvin Christian, we are helping our students look at the world through the “lenses” of scripture. It is truly an exciting venture.
By the way, the student artwork created was great! They were very thoughtful in their research, approach, and overall design. Soli Deo Gloria!
Ron Van Der Pol is Calvin Christian School's Art Instructor for grades 7-12 and teaches History for grades 6-7.
Here at Calvin, we take your child's safety seriously. We are always on the lookout for ways to help make the campus a safe and more secure learning environment.
Last month, all CCS employees were required to take active shooter training through the ALICE Training Institute. The ALICE Training Institute teaches proactive strategies to improve the chances of survival during an active shooter event.
In addition to the ALICE certification, our teachers and staff are CPR and First Aid certified. Our students review and rehearse emergency procedures for fire, earthquake and active shooter situations. Students also review procedures for stranger on campus situations.
Our administration meets at the start of each new school year to update emergency plans, assigning various roles and responsibilities to staff so we are best prepared to act swiftly in an emergency. Our safety procedures include a thorough plan for extra-curricular events, such as football, basketball and other after school activities.
In our preschool facility, all of the entry/exit doors have been fitted with “The Sleeve” by Fighting Chance Solutions. These devices ensure that the door can be quickly locked without a key and without going outside to lock the door. Over the past couple of years, we’ve added cameras across both campuses, installed locked entry gates to the elementary campus, and added phones with paging systems in each elementary classroom. This coming summer, 2018, the junior high and high school campus will receive new fencing and an entry way.
How can our parents/community best help if part or all of the school is in an emergency situation? First of all, please do not call us. As soon as it is safe, we will call you. Incoming calls take away from our ability to take care of our first priority - the safety of our students. As soon as we are able to, we will get updates to you through our website, email, and phone calls. Secondly, please don’t come to campus. Coming to school may put you or your child at great risk. Extra people coming to the school can distract first responders from their primary job – student safety. Instead, check our website, twitter feed, your email, or your phone for information and instructions.
The following is a message shared by Sra. Garcia during Calvin's annual Thanksgiving preschool - 12th grade chapel.
Mr. Kok asked me to speak briefly this morning about our purpose for being here today and the significance of giving to others. As most of you know, I am the Spanish teacher here at Calvin and I think that the Spanish language has a much better expression for today of why God cares about this Food Drive that we do each year. As beings created in the image of God, He truly cares about us in the depth of our being.
Many times as Christians we focus on our inner being, but God cares about our whole person and that is us as physical beings, as well. Spanish has two verbs that mean, "to be", ser and estar, something that we practice at length in Spanish classes. Ser refers more to who we truly are as person, the personality and characteristics that make us our own unique being (like being a generous and loving person, or rather being a selfish person that does not care about sharing with others). On the other hand, Estar refers to our physical and mental state or being at a particular time (like if we are hungry or cold).
It is easy to be caught up into thinking God cares more about our ser than our estar, but the truth is that He cares deeply about both our ser and estar beings at all times. In John 6, we read about the gathering of the 5,000 at the Sea of Galilee. Jesus asked his disciples where they would find bread for the people and the disciples responded that it would take a whole year’s wages to buy bread for the whole crowd.Then, Andrew suggests that there is a boy with 5 loaves of bread and 2 small fish, but they wondered what good that would do. As we know from having read this account many times, Jesus blessed the food and it was multiplied enough to feed the whole crowd with leftovers to spare. Jesus understood the importance of the people’s physical needs at that moment; they could not say, “Está bien.” when they were so hungry. They not only needed the food of Jesus’ teaching for their souls which addressed the ser of their being, but they needed their physical needs to be met, too. As we finish up our annual Food Drive, we are following Jesus’ example of contributing food for the physical and present needs of others less fortunate than ourselves. My prayer today for these gifts that we are giving is that Jesus will multiply them in the lives of others to bless them in both the ser and estar of who they are.
Many of you know that I grew up as a missionary kid in Panama. To close, I’m going to tell you a short story, related to me by my Mom, about one of the many times my family was in need of groceries in the lean months.
“During our first year in Panama we rented a house in Chame where we were in Spanish Study and near our school base where our kids went to school. During those years/decades it was not uncommon for missionaries to go to the field with less than 100% funding. We were at about 65%. This can be risky as we never knew what funds would be coming in from month to month. As we studied Spanish we spent most of our day getting to know our neighbors and practicing what little Spanish we knew with them while learning more from them. To the Panamanians we were very rich. We had a place to live which had a tile floor, windows and doors AND we had food to each three times a day. So it was not uncommon for those that visited us to ask us for some of our food. They particularly liked anything with sugar, meat, and vegetables. They always prefaced their request with, " You have so much, you can easily share a little with me." Which we always did. One month our voucher/check came in with only $30.00. It was our first time of truly trusting the Lord to provide. We had stashed enough for rent from previous months, but we did not have enough for groceries. We just prayed Lord let us trust you to provide.....and he did. It was harvest time for a lot of the gardens. In that month those neighbors to whom I had given food came with yuca, name, cabbage, fruits other than the ever abundant mangos, porotos (beans) and rice. We even got a couple of chicken and some shrimp. We did not starve physically or spiritually. God blessed us through that with great friendships that last until today.”
As a recipient of God’s blessings for my own physical needs being met in a time of need, I can personally attest to the importance of what we are doing today.
Our family has had the pleasure of attending Calvin Christian School for the last six years and feel so blessed! It is truly a wonderful thing when your children get to learn about the Lord in every aspect of education. God is incorporated in every subject and that is exactly why we chose to attend Calvin Christian! The love of the Lord is felt all through the school and the teachers emulate Christ in their love for the children and example every day.
All of the programs that Calvin Christian school offers, from music to sports, are centered around Christ. You can see that in the actions of the children from being a good sport and putting others first to the beautiful sound of their voices singing praises to God in the Christmas concert!
One thing that is very special about Calvin Christian School is they offer preschool all the way through 12th grade. What a blessing to have the opportunity for our children to have all their formative years in such a Christlike environment. Not to mention that the standard of education is extremely high and the majority of high school seniors go on to college and thrive!
We feel extremely blessed and happy that we are able to be a part of Calvin Christian School! Calvin Christian School is a shining light in the community of Escondido! Their outreach to the community is wonderful and a great example of the Lord's love, from food drives to work days in the community Calvin is well known! We feel very privileged to be a part of this wonderful school and we are excited to see your children blossom in the next years and all the way to graduation!