In light of the important implications for Christian Schools surrounding reforms to anti-discrimination legislation, the Abraham Kuyper Christian Education Association Ltd will be hosting a special guest speaker prior to the business part of our EGM on Wednesday 23 November.
Vanessa Cheng is the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Association of Christian Schools and will speak on Partnering with Parents to Protect Christian Schools
Vanessa has extensive experience working in the education and government sector as a secondary Christian school teacher and a project manager in the Victorian Department of Education. She has also held senior policy roles within the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet and the Federal Department of Employment and Workplace Relations. She holds a Graduate Diploma in Education as well as a Bachelor of Economics/Arts from Monash University, majoring in History and Politics. She is a member of Holy Trinity Anglican Church and lives in Bendigo with her husband and their five teenage children.
State-level action to reform anti-discrimination and equal opportunity laws to restrict the ability of Christian schools to employ Christian staff is already having an impact. The current Bill before the NT Parliament will vastly change the landscape for Christian Schools in NT if it is passed. Find out more.
We encourage all Association Members and other interested parents to join us for this important discussion.
From 6:15pm, join Vanessa and our Board for a light meal.
Kuyper’s Pioneering parents, who established the school, wanted their children to know and love Jesus. This is the fundamental reason for the establishment of Kuyper Christian School 40 years ago. Kuyper’s Pioneers wanted their children to know God’s love, faithfulness and forgiveness and to understand the world through knowing the God who created it with purpose for all life and living. For them, the world belongs to God and learning is a gift from him. Our school motto, Learning in God’s World, was chosen because these are the most important lessons anyone can learn; to know Jesus, to love him, and to understand that it is his world where we learn and grow to full maturity when we learn and grow with him.
Kuyper’s Pioneers wanted the school to be a place where students would be blessed by the instruction and nurture of Christian teachers who would work in partnership with parents; a place where God’s story is told from the beginning to eternity. We know that from Creation to the fall of mankind into sin, God’s People in Israel, the arrival of the Saviour Jesus Christ, his life, death, resurrection, ascendancy back to heaven and the hope of his return has given understanding and meaning to the life of millions of Christian people around the world for thousands of years. They have lived and shared this same story with others for generations.
But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
Kuyper exists today only because of God’s faithfulness to his community. At this anniversary time, we corporately thank God for the people he has brought to us over many years and for his providence in sustaining the school over four decades. It is with deep gratitude we recognise those who undertook the work in the beginning to establish what we see here now. To the inaugural Kuyper Association and people like Sue Maguire, our first teacher, we say thank you. Your labour has not been in vain. The school continues, by God’s grace, to serve families in the Hawkesbury. Praise God for what he has done and what he will continue to do.
I hope this holiday period is one that families enjoy together. I pray for those who have been struggling with poor health; that sickness may be overcome. As a community, we are all looking forward to the School Musical (Seussical!) in early Term 3. We hope to see you there. It’s going to be amazing!
Life is hectic. It seems to go too fast, and we often miss the tiny things that God gives us to remind us of the wonder of his creativity and love.
Two weeks ago, I was walking the Prep class from the hall to our classroom. This is not a particularly long walk, but my mind was already busy thinking about our plans for afternoon lessons. As we hurried along, I heard one of the Preps say “Mrs McAlpine… look!” I heard the urgency in the voice and stopped in my tracks. I turned around, expecting something wrong.
“Look, it’s a beetle!” said the Prep Explorer. At first I couldn’t even see the insect; it was hidden on the other side of the handrail. Once I saw, I wondered how on earth I had missed it, as this was no ordinary beetle. The back and wings were the most amazing combination of metallic and iridescent colours! We were all in awe of its perfect miniature beauty. Despite its size, the Preps insisted I take a photo. It was difficult for my camera to focus, but I managed to get a couple of shots. When we got back to the classroom, we watched the photographs on the television so we could have a closer look. We counted the colours, spots, and legs as we zoomed in on this most beautiful and intriguing insect. We thanked God for creating such an amazing creature.
Life is hectic. It seems to go too fast, and we often miss the tiny things that God gives us to remind us of the wonder of his creativity and love.
My Preps are experts at noticing amazing things in God’s creation, everyday. Not only do they notice, they are desperate to share it with everyone around them! That is why I call them “God’s Little Explorers”; they see and seek God in all the little things, and they rejoice! It is natural for them to be in awe of everything God has made and done for us.
This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
I think we can learn a lot about our wonderful God by looking at life through the eyes of our youngest Kuyperians.
Last Sunday night, I was glued to the NRL Grand Final. Every year I tune in and cheer on whichever team takes my fancy. But this was different. This year was special. This year my own team, the Penrith Panthers, were in the Grand Final and I was eager to see them win. It was a thrilling match. I rode the roller coaster, with every Panthers fan, in every twist and turn of the game. And as the final siren sounded, as our battered and bruised boys finally held up the Provan-Summons Trophy, I was jubilant, along with the many other fans across Western Sydney. Yet, it was only a year ago that the Panthers faced the bitter disappointment of losing a Grand Final.
As much as I love sport, I don’t love how cut-throat it is. It’s great when you win, but in the words of Roy and HG “there are a million ways to lose”. Sometimes that comes down to millimetres or a thousandth of a second. The weak quickly fall away, while only the strongest are victorious.
Life can feel just as cut-throat. It doesn’t take much to show us how weak we really are. Just a tiny, microscopic virus can shut down an entire country. Things we consider certain can suddenly be whisked away and we realise that our world is like a dune where the sand shifts and changes all the time. A common question I got during our Year 3 Google Meets last term was “When are going back to school?” It broke my heart to respond with “I don’t know”. How uncertain our world can be, and how helpless it can make us feel.
Yet, the Bible reminds us that in our shifting, sand dune world, God is the rock on which we can stand. In our Year 3 devotions, we have been looking at Jesus’ parables. One parable in particular is called the Wise and Foolish Builders. It goes like this:
Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine (Jesus) and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.
Notice how the house that stands on the rock may not be the prettiest house, or the house that’s the most well-built. It’s the one that is built on the rock. When we build our lives on Jesus, even though the winds or rains of life batter us, we can still stand. We don’t stand because we are strong. We are actually weaker than we realise, and it doesn’t take a lot to expose that truth. No, we stand because Jesus is strong. When we put our trust in Jesus, we have secure salvation that cannot be changed no matter how many times life’s certainties are whisked away from us. It’s in the strength of the Lord Jesus that we can say:
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Praise God, that in Him we are not trapped in a cut-throat game where the fittest, fastest and strongest win the victory of life. When we put our trust in Jesus, we can be victorious in the end with Him, not because we are strong but because He is.
A recent study by the UNSW Gonski Institute for Education produced a summary report on technology and families. The data represented more than 5000 children and 2450 Australian parents and grandparents, between the ages of 25 & 65 years old. Here is a snapshot of what we learn about ourselves if the survey is representative of our lives. I have a sneaking suspicion that it is fairly accurate, even for Kuyper families.
More than 4 in 5 children own at least one screen-based device. The average is 3 devices per child.
Personal ownership of devices starts as young as 4 years old.
Parents are most worried about the negative impact of screen use on their child’s physical activity levels, attention span and time to play.
3 of 4 parents think it is harder to control their child’s digital habits since they have got their own screen-based device.
83% of parents felt their child was negatively distracted by digital technologies.
65% of families agreed that negotiating digital technology use causes conflict in the home.
72% of parents recognise that their own digital media and technology habits influence those of their children.
Over 90% of parents felt that they themselves were distracted, at least to some extent, by digital technologies.
More than half of parents primarily allow their children to use digital media and technology for entertainment. Comparatively, only 1 in 5 predominantly use it for learning purposes.
65% of parents felt that when their child is bored, using digital devices to distract them is their first choice.
37% of children and young people have been anxious or depressed because of their time online or because they were not allowed to use their device.
90% of parents felt that digital technologies make is easier to stay in touch with family and friends.
3 in 5 children who are struggling at school go to bed with their devices.
30% of families allow their children to use their devices in their bedroom after bedtime every single day.
Nearly half of Australian parents (47%) suggest that screen time has a negative impact on emotional health.
What can we learn from this? We would do well to heed the warning signs listed above and seek to guide our children with wisdom in this domain. By way of doing this, I would like to commend Mrs Stewart, one of our parents, who recently gave a presentation at the Kuyper Association Annual General Meeting. She discussed how she and her husband manage the screens in their home with 4 teenagers. The Stewarts use a program called Google Family Link which gives control to parents and helps them teach appropriate device use for their children at home. I have asked Mrs Stewart to repeat her presentation at the Not Even Once (Changing the Narrative) drug and alcohol workshop for parents on 9 June at 7 pm. I strongly encourage you to be present for both sessions. What these presenters have to say will be gold for families struggling with technology and other teenager issues.
So, are our smartphones hostile territory? Is it a cultural trinket or a legitimate tool? Just like belly buttons, we all have them, but we want students to understand that technology can be friend or foe. It is a gift from God, and like many other things, can be used for good or evil. As recorded in Genesis, Adam and Eve made the tragic mistake of ignoring God’s only request and we all live with the results of the breakdown of our relationship with God, and everyone, and everything.
With this history, let us seek to honour God with our technology. This starts with being conscious of our example and how technology is affecting us and our families. Let us seek to transform technology use in ways that foster goodness and community building.
One difficulty of living in a sinful world is that we come under the illusion that it is better to rely on oneself than be dependent on others.
Timothy Jennings in ‘The God Shaped Brain’ illustrates this point using the example of God’s creation. In any ecosystem, the survival of every being is dependent on another. He observed that for animals to survive, a plant or another animal must be ‘sacrificed’ and consumed. A plant’s survival depends on nutrients from the soil, rain, and sun; it cannot possibly grow on its own. There is not one member of creation that can be entirely independent.
For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.
We should expect God’s creation to reflect His nature. Timothy Jennings argues that the sacrificial nature of all creation reflects the love of God, because love is, by nature, sacrificial. From this perspective, love really does make the world go around. If an element of creation decides not to love and not to sacrifice, its community risks loss of life.
The same is true for humans! For some reason, we have decided that self-dependence is best, but actually, it halts the cycle of love and hurts families and communities. I think we know this to be true from our own experiences. When we live isolated lives, we tend to lack joy, but when we choose to love others by sacrificing our time/money/attention, we receive joy. Communities that help and rely on each other for their needs, tend to be relationally close, more joyous communities. Truly it is “better to give than receive” as the Bible says.
Last week, we spent time with Year 7 and 8 students at Galston Gorge camp. The students participated in bushwalking, archery, abseiling, and climbing, as well as other activities. At the end of every activity, Crusader staff gathered the students together to reflect on the importance of encouragement and teamwork. Many students recognised the importance of working as a team, particularly as they experienced failure when they did not practice effective teamwork!
I would like to encourage you to reflect on your need for Christ, and other people; we can’t live life in isolation. I also encourage you to be that help for others; sacrifice your time and resources for your neighbour and follow the greatest example of love, Jesus Christ.
If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact, God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
In response to student initiative, we will be holding a Colour Explosion Fun Run to raise money and awareness about bullying and cyber bullying in schools. We are looking forward to a fun event as we support an Australian charity, Dolly’s Dream.
The Colour Explosion Fun Run will be held after lunch, this Friday 14 May. To participate, students must wear non-uniform that includes a white t-shirt and bring a gold coin donation. During the fun run, students will be covered in non-toxic, biodegradable coloured powder from head to toe. If you do not wish your child to participate, you must submit a non-consent form (below). Your child would have already received a sponsorship form that explains the event and how they can fundraise.
If you have any questions at all, or would like another sponsorship or non-consent form, please contact the Office.
Over the past term, Primary and Infants students here at Kuyper have been looking at the amazing, and sometimes sad, last days of Jesus’ life. Here is a summary of the narrative we shared with the kids:
Jesus had his last meal with his disciples. He was taken by the priests and beaten. Pilate had the chance to free him and didn’t. Jesus was whipped, spat on and laughed at. He was forced to carry a heavy piece of wood up a hill, was nailed to it, and lifted up for everyone to look at. He cried out to God “Why have you forsaken me?” And there, the son of God died. Jesus’ body was taken down and placed in a tomb on the side of a hill with a giant rock in front of it. There were soldiers guarding the tomb…
The next part of the story is what makes it SO amazing!
Some women who were Jesus’ friends went to take care of his body by putting herbs and perfume on it. But when they got to the tomb, they saw that the giant rock had been moved. Then they looked inside the tomb and Jesus’ body was gone! They saw an angel sitting in the tomb instead, and they were terrified. The angel said “Do not be afraid. I know you are looking for Jesus. He isn’t here. HE IS RISEN.” The women were very confused. They left the tomb wondering what had happened to Jesus, and suddenly, there he was! When they saw him, they hugged him. Jesus is alive! The women went and told the disciples. At first, the disciples didn’t believe them, but then Jesus appeared to them too. He ate with them and said this:
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
“I am with you always, to the very end of the age” means that Jesus is with us right now, and he will continue to be with us forever. The Bible tells us, in Chapter 15 of 1 Corinthians, that 500 people saw Jesus before he was taken up to heaven. He is alive and he promised to be with us always. THIS is why Good Friday is so good. It’s the gospel; the good news of Jesus:
On the cross our sin was dealt with completely; he took our punishment, BUT
Jesus rose again! He defeated death.
This means that we too will be raised. Our sin has been taken, and we can be friends with God. If we understand and accept Jesus’ death for us we will live with him forever.
Good Friday is the day for us to reflect on Jesus’ death. On Easter Sunday we celebrate his resurrection. We need to remember the truth of Easter. Some people have forgotten it, and the world is constantly trying to tell us a different story.
The world has forgotten the wonder and horror of Easter. It has been drowned in a sea of bunnies and chocolate. Will you remember the REAL story? When you’re looking for eggs and eating chocolate, will you remember the sacrifice that Jesus made and his eternal love for us through his resurrection? Maybe, every time you open up an Easter egg, and crunch down on that delicious chocolate, look inside, remember that the tomb was EMPTY and that Jesus is risen!
Easter is all about redemption. We are redeemed through the work of Jesus on the cross and his resurrection. This is the truth of Easter, always.
Since 2009, and with the support of thousands of students across Australia and New Zealand, Bible League International have seen more than 340,000 students in South African public schools receive the Good News of Jesus Christ. Many of these students have their own history of pain, rejection and hurt. In 2009 God opened a door for Bible League to get Bibles into public schools. They are now able to minister directly to students, speak into their situations, open up possibilities for a future they may never have imagined, and invite them into the life that God wants them to live.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
2 Timothy 4:7
Bible League International invites you to join them in this “good fight” by raising money for Bibles to be donated in South African public schools. Collect your sponsorship form from your class or core teacher to begin raising money. We would love every student in the school to find at least 1 sponsor and be part of this great mission. $7 provides 1 bible for a student in a South African school.
Our Primary Cross Country event will be held on Wednesday 21 April.
Secondary students can continue to collect sponsorship. Sponsorship forms are due back on Tues 20 April.
I’ve always loved the first day of school better than the last day of school. Firsts are best because they are beginnings.
New beginnings are exciting; the beginning of the world in Genesis, the dove as a symbol of hope for Noah’s family, the first cry of a baby in a manger, Mary’s joy at the sight of a risen Saviour, Paul’s transformation at the acceptance of the grace of Christ. New beginnings provide opportunities for transformation and growth. However, new beginnings can also be fraught with worry and apprehension. Joseph’s new beginning started with slavery, the Israelites’ promised new beginning saw them wandering the desert for a generation. At the time, new beginnings can often seem unpleasant and scary as we wait for the full picture to be revealed.
With the benefit of hindsight, we see how God is always at work transforming each person distinctively through their story. God moulds and shapes us in the small daily battles. In the secular world, this is referred to as building resilience. Resilience is the ability to cope with adversity and spring back from significant life events. It is forged in the small every day repeated wins, and losses in between, that help to build confidence for the bigger knocks that life may bring. Resilience is also built through love and belonging.
When we don’t feel claimed, we feel unprotected and live in a heightened state of insecurity and fear, anticipating the worst.
Belonging is an essential human need. Feeling “claimed” brings security, confidence and self-worth. Babies do not survive without a caring adult. Children need nurture into adolescence and beyond. It is within a safe and loving context that children can be given small opportunities to fail and where they learn to view failure as “not the end of the world” but an opportunity to learn and grow.
A toddler misses a step and falls; the mother encourages them to get up and keep going…
A child gets the wrong answer to a maths problem; a teacher gets alongside them and explains the solution…
A teenager writes something on social media that is inappropriate; a father gently explains the consequences and guides them through the solutions…
In each of these scenarios, a child is “claimed”; they are building resilience as they walk alongside a loving adult. BUT how much more could we grow in the care of a loving God!
In Year 7 Core and Christian Studies classes this term we have been unpacking Two Ways to Live. We dearly hope that students will respond to God’s desire to “claim” them as one of His children. We want them to walk alongside a loving God, who is present in every joy and difficulty. God wants to be their Father and their King. Our Lord wants to build resilience in Him by moulding and transforming them. He also wants to share in their excitement and joy. If you read Joseph’s story in Genesis 37-50 you will see that his new beginning was fraught with challenges and hardship, but God worked through him to transform adversity into joy and salvation. Joseph may not have had a loving adult to nurture him but he did have a powerful, loving and purposeful God; a Lord who claimed him, moulded and transformed him, and ultimately saved an entire nation through him.
Beginning High School invites many mixed emotions. Excitement at the prospect of new adventures, new classes and new friends is swept up with apprehension about how each of these things may work out. It has been wonderful to witness the courage, resilience and transformations for our new Year 7 cohort as they face new challenges and expectations with passion, excitement and apprehension. While, as teachers and parents, we walk lovingly beside our kids, my deep hope is that they will accept God’s “claim” on them and allow Him to transform them by His love and purposes too.
Here’s a quick look at what High School new beginnings at Kuyper look like from our kids’ perspective:
What has been your favourite part about starting High School?
That everybody welcomed me, and made sure I was never alone. They showed me around the school, introduced me to people and helped me learn the teachers’ names and stuff.
Going to the swimming carnival.
My favourite part is the different things we do that we did not do in primary school like Food Tech and Science experiments. I also like that we know what subject we are going to do, at what time.
Learning science and geography.
PDHPE is fun because it is good exercise and it is fun as well.
My favourite part of starting high school is going from classroom to classroom. It gets you outside when you move to a different classroom and I love it.
My favourite thing at high school is Maths and Music.
I’ve enjoyed meeting new people.
Having so many new people start at Kuyper. Having timetables to be more organised.
What are you learning?
In English, Mrs Clarke & Miss Dixon are teaching us that God gave us a voice and that we should use it and that we deserve to use it to say what we believe in. The lesson is called ‘Have Your Say’.
In Christian Studies we are doing the Two Ways to Live project where we talk about how God created everything and how He wants us to live our lives.
How science can be used to make God’s world better and how He made us and science.
How God created intelligent humans to make maths.
In Core, we have been learning about Two Ways to Live – how everything was great then went wrong – but God had a plan.
We are learning about the stages of the water cycle and how it all works.
That God provides plants and food for us and water to make them grow. He wants us to grow too.
What is your most memorable moment?
My most memorable moment so far is: making the parfaits.
My most memorable moment is probably the jokes at recess and lunch.
The most memorable part of high school has been just hanging out with friends and having conversations with the teachers.
PE – Dodge Rush (DodgeBall + Bull Rush).
Using chemicals in the Science lab.
My most memorable moment has to be when I came on the first day and everyone was just so friendly and how I never felt left out.
So far my most memorable moment is the cooking. We do a new recipe every week.
What are you looking forward to?
I am looking forward to coding class and the handball tournament.
Every day, I bask in the beauty that surrounds me during my drive to work. There is something spectacular about the mountains and valleys, the green grass and blue skies, the soft flowers and rugged trees. The beauty of each of these elements is magnified by the contrast between them.
I am blessed to spend my day as part of a team of professionals who complement one another – those who work in classrooms, teaching and supporting our students, and those who work in the various roles in administration, keeping the school running. A school would not function properly without the eclectic passions of those who work there. Imagine if every teacher only wanted to teach History, or Maths, or Japanese! Imagine if we only had teachers who would teach students in Kindergarten, Year 4 or Year 10. A school like that would be incapable of providing the education needed in today’s society.
In the same way, our school would be lacking if we did not have all of our students as part of our community. Each one has been created in the image of our loving God (Genesis 1:27) and reveals something of His character. I am enjoying getting to know our students better and growing in my understanding of what makes them unique.
Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
1 Corinthians 12:12-20
What a privilege it is to help students discover their value as well as their gifts and talents, so that they can better understand the special contributions God has in store for them to make. When students are faced with the pressures of this world to ‘fit in’ or ‘measure up,’ my prayer is that they would have the strength to be the person that God created them to be.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.