All posts by Mike Sperling

NSCS Beverly Campus Launches New Program of Giving – New Missions in Haiti

 

During a special chapel on Friday, November 30th, the 3rd and 4th grade class at the North Shore Christian School, Beverly Campus proudly announced that “Change is Coming.” The students presented the school and parents with a new program of giving. For the past 9 years, NSCS Beverly Campus has taken part in the Shoeboxes for Haiti program where they filled boxes with school supplies, socks, toys, and goodies. This year, the students and families of NSCS will be sponsoring a child through the same New Missions program in Haiti. We were lucky enough to have one of the founders of this program, Jeanne DeTellis, with us to kick off this mission.

 

Meet Wasley, a 9-year-old 3rd grader in Haiti’s New Mission school who could use access to clean water, food, education, healthcare, and the Gospel. For $33 a month, our community can provide schooling and other needs for him. Our 3rd and 4th graders here at NSCS, with the help of their teachers, have decided to make a huge difference in the life of this child by working together collecting pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters each week to sponsor Wasley for a year! Your child has received a pouch with their name on it.  Collect small change over the course of your day that you find or earn. Every little bit, no matter how big or small, will help us get to our goal.

 

 

A Little About New Missions

For over 30 years, New Missions has been establishing local churches and Christian schools in Haiti and the Dominican Republic – providing children with education, food, and medical care so they can grow strong and make an impact in their community. New Missions provides the keys to long-term change such as local church help, medical treatment, food, and educational needs. This program began in 1983 when George and Jeanne DeTellis left the United States and went to Haiti with whatever they could carry on the plane. Since that time, this program has evolved and expanded. It now includes over 30 churches and elementary schools, high schools, medical clinics, a Bible college, as well as a professional trade school. To find out more visit their website here.

 

Ask your child about this program and what it means to them. We encourage our students to take part if they can, as well as to carry this spirit of giving all year long. Happy Holidays to your family from the NSCS family.

Thanksgiving Feast 2018 – NSCS Beverly Campus

For almost 400 years, Thanksgiving has been a beloved tradition in the United States. In colonial times it was primarily a celebration of a good harvest and a successful growing season. In modern America, Thanksgiving is still honored by gathering with friends and family while sharing a bountiful meal. Every fourth Thursday in November, after the tradition of the Pilgrims and Native Americans, we gather to observe this religious and time-honored event. The day has also become a symbolic time to show our gratitude for the blessings that surround us daily. North Shore Christian School – Beverly Campus just recently marked this holiday with a Grandparents Thanksgiving Feast in our lower hall. We are so thankful to have had such a wonderful time with our families and friends!

 

Our feast began, as we begin all of our events, by giving thanks to the Lord for all his blessings and, most especially, for allowing us to share the day with our most special guests – our grandparents. The room was adorned in the colors of the season and the tables were set for a bounty of food to be enjoyed by all. So many wonderful dishes were made with love by our students and their families. Grandparents joined their grandchildren in sharing the meal and spending some wonderful time together learning about what they are most grateful for during this season of plenty.

 

 

 

Some of our students shared their gratitude as they chatted with friends and grandparents at each table.

I am thankful for …

  • God
  • My family
  • My grandparents
  • My brother who was just born
  • My teachers
  • My friends who love me
  • My best friend
  • The food we are about to eat
  • Sports
  • Gymnastics
  • Tom Brady
  • Our government
  • Our United States

Key Benefits of Early Childhood Education

Did you know that Ninety percent of a child’s brain development occurs in the first five years of their life? Young children are like learning sponges, they are absorbing everything around them at a rapid pace, especially during those critical early years. According to the Department of Education, current research shows that children who participate in quality preschool programs and early childhood education programs are more likely to arrive at school equipped with the social, cognitive and emotional skills they need to engage in learning. North Shore Christian School is proud to be a part of this learning on all three of our campuses from Lynn, to Beverly and our newest campus in Hamilton. Here are a few of the findings of the key benefits of an early childhood education.

Social Skills – Preschool and pre-kindergarten classes allow for many activities where children can acquire and practice vital skills that allow them to listen to others and express their own ideas, make friends, share, cooperate, and become accountable for their actions. Even the simple act of playing with a classmate can encourage all of these skills that will be fine tuned during the remainder of the early education years.

Exposure to Diversity – Early childhood programs may be a child’s first chance to meet someone of a different culture, religion or ethnicity. Learning about these other groups is an important part of learning that there is a big world out there. Early childhood education serves to guide children to appreciate and accept differences and become well-rounded contributors to society.

Building Self Esteem – Through activities where children can see their growth and success, self esteem is developed. Positive interactions with other children and teachers promote a positive and healthy view of themselves. This self esteem is critical as the years progress and children are faced with situations that they need to face with confidence.

Skill Building – Think of all the important skills that we all need to master in life that begin in the early childhood years. Patience, resilience, teamwork, concentration and respect are just a few of the skills that will carry us all through life. Simple things like taking turns, sharing toys, listening during circle time, respecting personal space, raising hands, having empathy for others all begin during these important early childhood experiences.

A Love of Learning – While many of us probably don’t remember what activities we took part in during preschool, you may remember that feeling of loving school and loving learning. Fostering that feeling is so very important when it comes to loving to learn and question the environment around us as we grow older.

Are you considering placing your child in an early childhood education class? Talk to our principals about a tour or a visit to our warm and inviting classrooms. Visit our website or call one of our three campuses around the north shore. Lynn Campus Main: (781) 599-2040, Beverly Campus Main: (978) 921-2888, and Hamilton Campus Main: (978) 921-2888.

Finding a Just Right Book

Reading can be such an enjoyable activity for young children, especially when it is coupled with snuggle time with mom and/or dad, or possibly spending time with a friend. Reading can take a child to new places, fantasy worlds, or events set in a different time and place. Reading can be chock full of the facts and details that children love adding to their “list of things they know.” Who doesn’t love to recite the name and size of every dinosaur known to man?! Unfortunately, for some children, reading is a struggle and a frustration. That is why it is important to understand how to help your child find a “Just Right Book” for their reading enjoyment. Here are a few suggestions of how to find books that match your child’s personality and reading level.

Read What You Love

Is your child hooked on collecting facts and information about their favorite topic? Then perhaps non-fiction books are the way to go. Or maybe your child loves animals or insects? Then find a series that incorporates them. Whatever interests your child has is what you should seek in reading material, even if it is not your type of book. Any reading is good reading, even if it is a graphic novel or a topic you as a parent don’t particularly enjoy. Remember to help them choose what they love, be it about outer space, horses, fantasy, history, travel, or any other topic that interests them. If they are reading about something they love, they will be more invested and stay with it longer.

Is it Too Easy or Too Hard ?

Once you have found a series or a stack of books that are sure to interest your child, try it out for difficulty level. The best way to do this is to open the book and have your child start reading it. Here are some things to consider:

  • 5 Finger Rule – Hold up a finger for each word your child has difficulty with. If you get to five fingers for a page then the book may be too difficult. No fingers may mean that the book is far too easy. Use your judgement on that.
  • Comprehension – After your child has read a page, ask him/her about what happened. Does there seem to be a level of comprehension appropriate to your child’s age? If so, then continue on.
  • Fluency – Listen to how smoothly your child reads the passage. Is there a struggle to sound out certain words, or does it flow well? If the reading sounds choppy or slow, then maybe the reading level is a little too hard for your reader.

 

Reading Together

Let’s say you have found a series that your child is dying to read, but the reading and/or comprehension level is a bit too hard. What do you do then? We suggest that you read with your child to help with sounding out and comprehension of what is going on. Reading with and to your child is just as productive. In fact, many educators believe that the positive feelings of reading with a child can be lifelong and help them gain a love of reading for years. If the passages are a little too difficult, share pages to give your little one a break. While reading, be sure to talk about vocabulary, cause and effect, and the flow of the story, including the climax and solution. Happy reading!

 

Fully Rely on God – F.R.O.G. – Kindergarten Theme – Lynn Campus NSCS

Our theme in kindergarten is “Fully Rely On God.”  Our class verse is Proverbs 3:5,6

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.”

 

We began the year talking about how God created the world and that it demonstrates his power and glory.  We learned that inside each apple and pumpkin is the potential for many more apples and pumpkins. We also have been focusing on the animals that God created such as the sometimes upside-down winged mammal- the bat, the unusual but fascinating duck-billed platypus, the powerful many toothed alligator, the ink squirting octopus, and the tail regenerating iguana.  

 

 

In math we are learning that numbers, shapes, sizes, and patterns are an important part of learning about God’s world, because they are all around us.   In literacy we are learning the letter sounds, blending sounds into words, and learning to write words and sentences. Then we can read and write about God’s wonderful creation.  

Terry Moore,

Kindergarten NSCS Lynn Campus

Helping Your Child Become a Better Writer

Is your child naturally a good writer or does s/he struggle with putting their thoughts down on paper? It is fairly common for young writers to lack the confidence and skills to write something coherent, especially on the first try. There are things that parents and teachers can do to help their students become better, stronger, and more confident writers. Let’s take a look at some of the suggestions from educators, professional writers, and business people that will help nurture the writer in your child.

Answer the Question – When Will I Use this Skill?

It is a common mantra with students who question the usefulness of a skill as they journey through their educational experience: “When will I ever use this skill?” While writing is a sought after and very useful skill in a huge number of fields, many students do not understand the value beyond the assignment at hand. Practically every field of business uses writing, be it a business proposal, a contract, emails, social media, or handbooks. Writing is not something that any of us can avoid. It may be helpful to explain to your student how writing is a part of your life so they begin to see the future value in the activity.

Give Writing a Purpose

Whenever a student begins a writing assignment, ask them what the purpose is? Is the assignment to persuade the reader, give a plot summary, explain a point of view, or maybe compare and contrast characters or situations? Knowing the purpose will help focus the writing.

Organize Thoughts

Even adults can benefit by organizing their thoughts before writing. Organizing can mean many things such as: writing in chronological order, using general terms and building to more specific statements, or using evidence from the text to prove a point. Some students find it helpful to create a visual organizer to plot out what they want to say, while others use bullet points or sticky notes to help. Whatever method works for you, use it!

Teachers and students alike support brainstorming as a way to get organized. This may include writing down quick blurbs of ideas and grouping them together in order to get thoughts to paper. Then, rearrange those thoughts and place them in whatever order seems most viable. Start by breaking thoughts into major paragraphs and then see what order makes the most sense to the purpose of the writing.

Give Evidence

Many writing assignments ask for evidence either from research or from a text. Have your child go back and underline specific evidence, whether it is a quote from the text or a specific reference, to be sure they are giving evidence that will help make their point.

Read Aloud

Most writers practice reading their work aloud so they can hear mistakes or gaps in the content. Practice reading the assignment out loud to your child so they can hear what they have written. Many times when the writer reads their own work, it is hard for them to pick up on mistakes because they know what they meant. Having someone else read it, whether it is a parent or classmate, can make mistakes in content and grammar become apparent.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Even Nobel-Laureates don’t get it right on the first try when they write. Practice writing whenever you can, even for fun. Give your child positive feedback on the aspects s/he is doing well on and help them see the areas where they are struggling.

 

S.T.E.M.  Saturday – October 2018

School on a Saturday? Yes! We love our S.T.E.M. Saturdays where we get the chance to try out some amazing science, technology, engineering, and math experiments. We had another successful S.T.E.M. Saturday at our Lynn Campus on October 20, 2018. Two groups, one from our lower elementary and one from our middle school, spent a few hours working on our KNOW Atom S.T.E.M. program. Here is a quick recap of the fun morning.

 

Our middle schoolers, along with Mrs. Stutz, a former teacher and self-professed math-lover, built seismographs and looked at the way scientists measure the more than 1.3 million earthquakes our planet has every year. They began by discussing the causes and types of earthquakes along with the method of measuring these events. The Richter Scale was discussed including the amplitude, seismic waves, and common directions of those waves: transverse and longitudinal.

 

Once the students understood the function and purpose of a seismograph, they set to work designing, building and then, finally testing their own seismographs with a list of materials allowed. Given craft sticks, rubber bands, washers, dowels, paper clips, straws, card stock binder clips, markers, and a cup, each group began their work in what is known as the engineering design process. The students loved designing, testing, and redesigning their projects. It was both fun and educational, as teams worked together to be able to register movement on a “shake table”. In the end, the students reviewed their processes, discussed what could make their designs better, and what they would do differently next time.

 

Our second and third graders did their own experiments looking at the guiding question: What are the properties that make an object sink or float in water? Before beginning their experiments they took some time to learn about the properties of matter such as size, color, texture, weight, and shape. They discussed how some items are dense and some are not. They used aluminum foil floating on the water’s surface to test “surface area” and its effects on items to be able to float or sink.

 

Students were then given materials such as a penny, popsicle stick, a cup, clay, and marbles that they would be testing in their own container filled with water. Before they began collecting data on their charts, the students made predictions about which items would float or sink. Finally, the students used each item in their own experiment to find out if they were accurate in their hypotheses. The students learned some valuable lessons about particles, matter and density, and its impact on buoyancy. What a fantastic S.T.E.M. Saturday!

 

Athletic Update

We have 18 students in grades 5-8 participating on the middle school soccer team this fall! Our season has been fun and challenging. We are a mix of veteran players and relative newcomers to the sport. The players have experienced practicing in the rain, having games cancelled due to rain, playing students their own size and playing students who are, at times, taller and faster.
Before the players even ran a step on the field or touched a ball with their cleat, we met in the classroom and talked about certain “agreements” we would have as a team. Each player was given a copy of some choice phrases to hang in his or her locker and refer to throughout the season, and hopefully even beyond. Here is a sample below.

Be a pro.
Act like a champion.
Respond to adversity; don’t react.
Be on time.
Being late means either it’s not important to you or you can’t be relied upon. Execute. Do what you’re supposed to do when you’re supposed to do it. Not almost. All the way. Not most of the time. All of the time.
Take ownership. Whatever it takes. No excuses, no explanations.

Tony Dungy
Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices & Priorities of a Winning Life

 
Although this was written by a former NFL player and NFL head coach, these principles can be applied to any walk of life. These words set the bar high and circumstances are not always going to be easy, but acting like a “professional” means aiming mentally to bring your best to whatever you’re participating in. It addresses how one responds to being fouled hard or to having unkind words said by another team. Mental preparation and practice is certainly important before someone speaks or acts. This is important in sports and for all of life.
The soccer team has made progress throughout the course of the season and we look forward to the practices and few games we have left during late October and early November.

Visit the Athletics Calendar to find out more.
Written By
Athletic Director,
Todd McMillan

Great Bedtime Routines

What is bedtime like in your home? Is it a peaceful wind down to a busy day or a little more on the chaotic side? Having a bedtime routine isn’t just ideal for children but for adults too!  Last week we examined creating a Morning Routine to Start Your Day Off Right; this week we are looking at how families can create a great bedtime routine for the other end of their day. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Decide on a Bedtime – When creating an evening routine it is important to decide what is an appropriate time to go to bed. Harvard Medical School reports that each age requires a varying amount of sleep. Based upon the time that your child needs to arrive at school and the amount their body needs, families can make an informed decision on what is an appropriate time for bedtime. Parents should take into consideration things like activities, lessons, playdates, sports and homework when deciding on a time. Here are the recommended amounts:

  • Infants: 12 to 16 hours (including naps)
  • Toddlers: 11 to 14 hours (including naps)
  • Preschoolers: 10 to 13 hours (including naps)
  • Grade school-aged children: 9 to 12 hours
  • Teens: 8 to 10 hours

Have a Power Down Time – Right before bed is not a good time to be playing video games, or using technology. Give your brain a chance to disconnect and relax before it is time for sleep. During this time children might enjoy reading with or to their parents or a sibling, packing up their backpack or deciding what to wear the next day. These simple routines can give your body a chance to prepare for sleep. Researchers have found that the blue light emitted from screens can wake up the brain and make it harder to fall asleep. This is particularly true for “small screens” such as phones or tablets that are held closer to the face. In addition to shutting down at least an hour before bed, it is advisable to have children and teens plug their devices in away from their room so they are not tempted to hop on to check something or answer a text they hear come in.

A Bedtime List – Just like a list can help in the morning, a list of items that should be completed nightly can be helpful to even for the youngest school age children. Create a visual that marks off all the things you would like your child to complete before lights out including: brushing teeth, going to the bathroom, putting on pjs, putting laundry in the basket and so on. Knowing what is expected is half the battle.

Have an Evening Ritual – This last part of a good bedtime routine may be different for every family. Choose an evening ritual that signals that now is the time for bed whether it is “tucking in,” reading a story or two, saying prayers or just snuggling and talking about the day. This ritual signals the body that sleep is near.

What is your bedtime routine in your home? Share these ideas with your child and design an evening that will be conducive to a good night’s sleep. Good night!

Importance of a Morning Routine to Start the Day Right

How do you start your day? Do you sluggishly hit snooze a few times or hop up ready to greet whatever the day will bring? No matter whether you are a night owl or a morning person, we all have to face the day at some point. For school children, a good morning routine can set them on a productive path for the entire day. Let’s take a look at what some of the experts say about creating a routine before school that can start your day (and your child’s day) on the right foot.

  • Give Yourself Enough Time – Starting your day feeling as though you are late or feeling rushed is a bad way to begin a work or school day. It raises your stress level and makes many feel like they are anxious for, at least, the first part of their day. Set your alarm so that you have enough time to ready yourself and still have a little extra time. Many parents find that packing the backpacks and reviewing the activities of the next day the night before helpful.
  • Eat a Healthy Breakfast – Fuel up on something healthy with a bit of protein to give you energy and get you going. Skipping breakfast can make adults and children alike feel sluggish and cause a lack of concentration. Even if breakfast is a protein shake or a granola bar, something is better than nothing.
  • Create a Morning Hygiene List – Many children need a little reminding to wash their face, brush their teeth, and when a little older, put on deodorant during their morning routine. Create a quick list that can discreetly remind your child about these tasks so you don’t need to nag every morning.
  • Have a “Today’s To-Do List” – Many families find it helpful to have a calendar or list of activities for each day that can be reviewed each morning. A quick review during breakfast can make sure that everyone has what they need, like their cleats for sports or instrument for lessons. It also allows for discussion of these activities such as who is picking up or dropping off for each event.
  • Stay Unplugged – While it may be tempting to catch up on social media or check out the news headlines, try to stay off your phone, tablet or laptop in the morning. Use this time to mentally ready yourself for the day and be sure that you have everything you need. Some students even use this time in the morning to review notes for a test or check their bags.
  • Take a Moment for Yourself – Take a few minutes to pray, meditate, or just have a moment of gratitude. This positive thinking can set you off on your day with an optimistic attitude.

 

What routine do you follow in the morning? Create a morning routine that is right for your family and starts you on a positive note each day. Good morning!