With God's leading, we strive to support the faith development of students at Sioux Center Christian School.
We believe that only God can form faith. It's only God that can truly touch and affect hearts. At Sioux Center Christian School, our goal is to nurture faith through several structures and activities, trusting in God to truly form faith in those who believe in Him.
We seek to connect our head, our heart, and our hands in a way that serves both God and others, in a way that nurtures faith in those doing the serving.
How do we do that at Sioux Center Christian School?
We work to be intentional about focusing on God and His Word throughout our day at Sioux Center Christian School. Whether it be studying birds or paragraphs, multiplying fractions or learning a new song, the faculty and staff strive to always bring it back to God, to use learning and the work that's done to glorify Him. Everything we do at Sioux Center Christian School comes from a Christian perspective, our belief that God owns it all and that He made everything.
Teaching for Transformation provides a framework for the development of authentic and integral Christian learning experiences that are grounded in a transformational worldview with a focus on seeing and living out God’s Story.
"There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is sovereign over all, does not cry, 'Mine!" Abraham Kuyper
The biblical truth that resounds in our Christian school’s curriculum is that all things in the world belong to God. It is important that we not presume that this truth is obvious or apparent to all. The task of a Christian school teacher is to help reveal God’s grand Story in all things. A teacher’s task is one of Christian-story telling, of seeking out and helping students to “See the Story” in all areas of study. We do this by teaching under the principle of all things. Teaching for Transformation binds together all subjects and activities, providing a framework for the education we provide and what we want graduates to be. It helps us live out our mission by providing definitions of what it means to be a disciple (head), why we have discipleship habits (heart), and how we practice being a disciple (hands).
God created all things. Even after the fall, which indeed affects and infects all things, creation remains good. Redemption impacts all things, redirecting them to their God-designated purposes. Someday, all things will be fully restored, but the work of renewal begins now, and we are privileged to be co-workers with God in this process. It is into this story that teachers are called to invite each student. Through TfT, teachers design learning experiences that help students discover God’s Story and His fingerprints in all things, with the hope that every learning experience will become truly transformational for every student.
Explore (Head) – Desire (Heart) – Practice (Hands)
While there is a high level of intentionality in the TfT framework that contains many unique core design practices and tools that all teachers are expected to use, the following three Core Practices serve as the foundation.
Core Practice # 1 – Storyline
Every Christian school classroom must have a powerful and compelling vision of the Kingdom that creates a longing and a desire within every student to play their part in God’s unfolding Story of creation-fall-redemption-restoration.
"And once you live a good story, you get a taste for that kind of meaning in life, and you can't go back to being normal; you can't go back to meaningless scenes stitched together by the forgetttable thread of wasted time. The more practiced stories I lived, the more I wanted an epic to climb inside of and see through to its end." Donald Miller
Every unit and every learning experience tells a story. The TfT framework tries, using the story discovered in each unit of study, to create a powerful and compelling image of God’s Story. The TfT framework invites students to imagine his or her place in God’s Story – now. TfT does this by connecting the story of each unit with opportunities to tangibly practice living in the grand narrative. Each student and teacher will begin to create a personal “storyline” and articulate how they see themselves living in God’s epic drama.
Core Practice # 2 – Biblical Throughlines
Every Christian school classroom must have an articulate and inspiring student profile that invites every student to imagine how to play their part in God’s Story.
“The primary goal of Christian education is the formation of a peculiar people, a people who desire the Kingdom of God and thus undertake their life’s expression of that desire.” James K.A. Smith
What a complex challenge to imagine what it is to be a “peculiar” person in God’s Story! SCCS has identified 11 biblical Throughlines to help us imagine who we are as peculiar people. When schools invite students to actively contribute to the formation of Christian culture, we need to challenge each student to develop Kingdom-building characteristics. These biblical characteristics help us all, teachers and students, to understand what our roles are and what our calling is. They provide us with chances to practice, opportunities to develop discipleship habits.
Teachers use Throughlines to connect each unit’s learning outcomes to God’s Story, as a type of “thematic Velcro”, carefully choosing, together with the students, one or two Throughlines they want to learn about as they explore the topic. This process shifts the learning focus away from “what” the student needs to know to “who” the student is called to be. These Throughlines characteristics weave through the Bible and describe a calling to “be”, not simply to “do”. They can also be considered “wholines” because they describe who we are. Interestingly, TfT teachers often find that the students absorb the “stuff” of the unit better because they have a meaningful context for the learning.
Throughlines are big picture ideas around which we can organize curriculum. Throughlines are qualities/characteristics that we desire students to develop as God is revealed to them in all things. They are discipleship concepts that guide our living. These characteristics describe how we can become part of the restoration of creation. They answer, “How NOW shall I live?” Throughlines weave the big ideas into a transformational worldview. A key component of the TfT framework is that teachers are challenged not simply to tell the students about the Throughlines but to provide actual opportunities for the students to “live” the chosen Throughlines in each unit.
And what does God call us to “be”? He calls us to be Servant Workers, to be Justice Seekers, to be Earth Keepers, to be Community Builders. He calls us to be Creation Enjoyers, Truth Finders, Order Discoverers, and Beauty Makers. And in all of these, He calls every disciple to be God Worshippers, Word Appliers, and Image Reflectors. Here we get a wider picture of the roles that God has called us to be as Christians.
Core Practice # 3 – FLEx – Formational Learning Experiences
Every Christian school classroom must provide authentic (real work, real people, real need) opportunities for students to practice living the Kingdom Story. This practice then becomes a habit, with habits shaping who we are and what we do.
"It is nothig but a pious wish and a grossly unwarranted hope that students trained to be passive and non-creative in school will suddenly, upon graduation, actively contribute to the formation of Christian culture." Nicholas Wolterstorff
"A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something that he can learn no other way." Mark Twain
Wolterstorff suggests, strongly, that students must be given the opportunity to do God’s work NOW – to be active and creative in God’s Story. Meaningful work creates a sense of purpose in their lives, and draws students more powerfully to God’s Story. As the name suggests, Formational Learning Experiences are designed to form the students’ hearts and actions as well as their minds, equipping students to become people who live and breathe God’s Story. Research and experience suggest that formational learning best emerges from experiences that get at our gut and touch our heart. James K. A. Smith writes in Desiring the Kingdom that “Education is not primarily . . . concerned with providing information; rather, education most fundamentally is a matter of formation, a task of shaping and creating a certain kind of people. These people are distinct because of what they love and desire – the Kingdom of God.”
We promise to design formational learning experiences that:
- Invite every student to explore their role in the Kingdom story
- Nurture every student to desire to be a peculiar people
- Empower every student to practice their life’s expression
To learn more about Teaching for Transformation (TfT), click here.
We try to permeate our day in prayer. Each teacher in each class starts the day with devotions focusing on a topic that is age-appropriate and targeted to the needs of the students. Teachers also make it a point to include prayer requests and prayer regularly into their day, whether it be in the morning, before lunch, when the teachable moment comes, or at the end of the day.
Each year, the students at Sioux Center Christian School learn from a school-wide storyline. These storylines are incorporated into the classroom and school life through chapels, special activities, small groups, and devotions. Students, faculty, and staff also receive a t-shirt to help them remember the storylines as we worship, work, and play throughout the year.
Our 2018-2019 storyline is Living God’s Story. Each month, we will focus on how to live out God’s Story using throughlines, which help us to identify and connect with ways we can live out our part in God’s story. *For more information on throughlines, please click on the Teaching for Transformation link on our website.
- Image reflector
- Creation enjoyer
- Truth finder
- Servant worker
- Order discoverer
- Justice seeker
Past storylines have included: Living God's Story (God worshiper, Community builder, Word applier, Beauty maker, Earth keeper), Blaze the Trail,Trust in the Name, BUILD (Blueprints and Plans, Unbreakable Foundation, Important Tools, Lasting Materials, Dedicated Workers); the Fruit of the Spirit; CSI (Christ's Stories Investigated); the Armor of God; iFollow; Ordinary People, Extraordinary God (heroes of the faith); and Among the Nations.
We have chapel at least once a month, with some chapels focusing on our school-wide storyline and some focusing on special holidays throughout the year. We also gather weekly for praise and worship, small group devotions, and other worship activities.
What are we trying to accomplish by having chapel at our school?
- GOD GLORIFYING: We seek to glorify God in all parts of chapel – brainstorming, planning, preparing, and worshiping.
- FAITH NURTURING: We want to provide students with an opportunity to continually nurture their faith.
- RELATIONSHIP STRENGTHENING: Chapels should be an opportunity for students and the school community to strengthen their relationship with the Lord.
- BODY BUILDING: We believe chapel should be intergenerational, with school supporters joining us to demonstrate the greater body of believers.
- TALENT USING: We want to worship God by having students use the talents and gifts with which they’ve been blessed. Student participation and leadership is important.
- RELEVANTLY WORSHIPING: Chapel should be relevant to the audience who is worshiping. Chapel is not a mini church service.
- FOCUSED WORSHIPING: Students are constantly reminded that we are worshiping an audience of One. It’s all about God, but other people get to experience the worship as well.
- TEAM BUILDING: Teachers, staff, and students will work as a team to plan, prepare, and worship.
- STORY SHARING: We see the Bible as an entire story, and we want to use drama as a way to tell the story. Because God created many different forms of drama, we will use the different forms as part of our worship.
- STUDENT LEADING: Our chapels will be student-led with staff and faculty empowering students to lead and participate. Students will be able to build leadership skills in this way, as we will be training future worship and church leaders.
Each connection group is made up of 2 homerooms from different grade levels. Students meet to discuss and live out the throughline of the month, to pray together, and to build relationships.
We know that learning Scripture is an important discipline in the Christian life. Learning Scripture provides guidance in our faith journey, gives comfort and assurance during difficult times, and prepares us to share our faith with others.
At SCCS, memorizing Scripture also compliments our distinctively Christian teaching. In order to assure that this is being done deliberately at all grade levels, our memory verse program includes the following goals:
- Students will understand the importance of memorizing Scripture for their personal lives and their faith development.
- Students will understand that we are being obedient to God by memorizing Scripture.
- Students will understand the meaning and context of selected memory verses.
- Students will be able to relate the memory verses to their lives.
- Students will be able to remember Bible verses beyond the required time they are tested on them.
- Students will be encouraged to read and memorize Scripture on a daily and weekly basis.
- Students will “write God’s Word on their hearts” through memorizing Scripture.
Our memory verse program includes the following elements:
- Students will learn well, understand, review, and be encouraged to live out the suggested six Scripture verses/passages at each grade level.
- Students will review all the verses/passages from the previous year, including what they mean and how they can be implemented into the daily lives of students.
- Teachers will assess whether or not students have learned the memory verses required at each grade level.
- Students will complete the pages in their personal memory verse folder, and teachers will pass the folders on to the next grade level at the end of each year.
- Teachers will integrate theme verses whenever appropriate.
- Some students may choose to challenge themselves to review all of the verses they have learned previously!
For a list of the memory verses included at each grade level, click here.
Sioux Center Christian School has decided to implement a Faith Formation Journal for the following reasons:
- Students need opportunities to reflect on their faith and what they believe throughout their life.
- Students need opportunities to express/articulate their faith in appropriate ways throughout their life.
- It is our hope that after reflecting on and articulating their faith, students will be more able and willing to apply their beliefs into their words and actions.
Details of the Faith Formation Journal:
- Teachers at each grade level have developed an age-appropriate writing prompt, question, or several questions for students to choose from as a way to reflect on and articulate their faith. These questions are tied to a Bible lesson/unit/theme, a devotional, a chapel, or a book read to the class.
- This writing activity is done throughout the year.
- It is not evaluated in any way.
- Students are encouraged to give sincere and thoughtful responses to the questions and/or writing prompts.
- These responses (at least one per year) are be collected and placed in a folder to follow students throughout their time at SCCS. The folders are given to students when they graduate or leave our school.
To see the prompts used at each grade level, click here.
In addition to integrating our Christian perspective in every subject and activity, we also provide students with a Bible class and curriculum.
With the goal of developing a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the role of teaching Bible in a Christian school is to equip students with Bible knowledge, to encourage students to apply these truths to their lives, and to actively serve God and others in His world.
The Bible is God’s story, and teaching the Bible helps us to see how we fit into His story. I Peter 3:15b reminds us about the importance of learning the truths outlined in Scripture: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
At Sioux Center Christian School, we desire to have our students develop a personal relationship with Christ and His people, with the help of the Holy Spirit. We want our students to know the Word, believe the Word, and live the Word. We want them to develop faith-nurturing habits to deepen their Christian lives, including personal devotions, daily prayer, and using Scripture to discern the cultural influences they encounter each day. We will encourage students to recognize God’s plan and to see His grace in their lives and in the world.
Curriculum Standards for K-8 CSI Bible Curriculum
- Students know key biblical passages, characters, and events.
- Students know the historical and cultural context of the Bible.
- Students understand various Christian and non-Christian religious views.
- Students understand how geography and culture impacted the biblical story.
- Students know how the Bible is organized, the types of literature the Bible includes, and how to read the Bible.
- Students use a variety of reference materials.
- Students understand what the Bible teaches about God.
- Students understand what the Bible teaches about truth.
- Students understand what the Bible teaches about God’s creation.
- Students understand what the Bible teaches about people.
- Students will be encouraged to apply biblical teaching to all of life and learning.
- To know Jesus
- To invite students into important conversations related to real-life issues
- To nurture students to understand their role in God's story related to these conversations
- To empower students to support themselves and others as they grow and develop as disciples