Category Archives: Blog

6 Ways to Avoid the Summer Slide

Did you know that learners from preschool to college level suffer from something called “summer slide” according to research that dates back over 100 years? Summer slide, as it is called by teachers, administrators, and parents alike, refers to the loss of up to three months of academic progress over the summer months. This skill and content loss is due in part to slipping out of practice and/or forgetting what was learned. Thankfully there are steps that parents can take during those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer to help prevent this loss. Here are a few tips that can help your child avoid the summer slide.

 

  1. READ!  The number one way to help your child retain reading and comprehension skills is to read every day during the summer. Gather list of great books that your child could enjoy throughout the summer and create a goal of reading a certain amount daily. These books should be “just right” meaning not too easy but not too hard to read for his/her reading level.
  2. Incorporate reading everywhere! Make reading a part of your daily activities such as reading: a menu, a recipe, comic books, signs, magazines, directions, journals, and even audio books on long car rides. Every chance you get… read!
  3. Take fields trips. One of the best things about summer is that you have opportunities to go on fun adventures. Whether it is the park, beach, museum, library, bike trail, sports field, or tidal pools, there is always a learning moment if you look hard enough. Ask your child why they think something happens or pose questions such as: “What would happen if…?” You would be amazed at how much learning and exploration can go on in the nature that is all around us.
  4. Practice, Practice, Practice. Just like during the school year, children should practice some academic items. Use flashcards to give quick reminders of math facts, whether your child has mastered addition, subtraction, multiplication or division. Make it fun by challenging family members to get them faster than your child. Maybe provide prizes at the end of each competition.  
  5. Make math a part of your daily activities. Math can also be incorporated into daily activities such as using estimation, measuring when gardening, counting money and change at the store, budgeting when planning a meal, or fractions when following a recipe. Again make it fun and meaningful so they can use it before they lose it!
  6. Camps! Summer camps such as those dealing with STEM, robotics, or space camp can really help students keep up their love of exploration and experimentation. Consider finding a camp that can keep your child’s scientific brain active.

 

Get out there and enjoy the summer, but remember that learning is a part of your summer as well. We hope you all have a wonderful break and see you in the fall!

Learning through Volunteering

Over the past year, we have discussed the many ways that our students, staff, and families take part in volunteering all year. From helping serve food at Our Brother’s Table in Lynn, to creating Shoeboxes for Haiti, we try to remain witnesses to Jesus, not just during the holy season, but throughout the entire year. In addition to those activities, students at both our Beverly and Lynn campuses have visited local nursing homes, held “Baby Wipe” drives, donated to Puritan’s Purse, coordinated with Beverly Bootstraps, shared our love of Jesus with our pen pals in India, and raised funds with a local church to provide grocery store gift cards for families in need. The list could go on and on. With each volunteering experience, our students share a bit of themselves and God’s love. However, these volunteering activities are not a one-way-street so to speak; as our students take part in these giving and loving activities, they are also learning from this act of volunteering. Here are just a few of these skills that our students are practicing and fine tuning every time they lead or even take part in a volunteer event.

 

  • Leadership Skills – During each of these volunteer opportunities, our students have the chance to take the lead, use their ingenuity to plan and execute their ideas and make them come to life. That takes leadership and the skills associated with it. Organizing, stating a goal, and making it come to fruition is an amazing part of volunteering for a cause.
  • Teamwork – None of these volunteer activities happen without “many hands making light work”. Each experience allows our students to work with people from other classes who may have different ideas from their own. The skill of working as a team is an invaluable one that can be practiced over and over when in a volunteer situation. Plus, nothing gets people working as a unit more than working toward a common and worthwhile goal!
  • Self Management – While our teachers help guide and mentor our students during each activity, they also allow the children to self-manage in order to learn how to manage time, materials, and ideas.
  • Gratitude – Volunteering can help broaden a child’s perspective of the world and the challenges people may face.
  • Self-Worth – The United Way explains that when we give time toward a good cause, we are rewarded with the feeling of self-worth and increased self-esteem. The same goes for kids. Lending a hand is a great way to show kids that no matter who they are or how young they are, they have the power to change our community for the better.

 

Encourage your child to take part in a volunteering experience either at school, your church, or in your city or town. You will be amazed that not only will your child give of themself but also get so much back in return.

How Much Tech is Too Much Tech?

The world around us is changing so fast and technology is evolving faster than most of us can handle. For many parents, this means that our children’s experiences in school and during social time are far different than our experiences were as children. My children often laugh when I explain that my childhood did not include a smartphone, tablet, XBox, or even cable. In fact, my children probably couldn’t even identify a VHS tape! So how do we as parents then reconcile the advantages that these new pieces of tech provide while knowing when technology has become too much? While rules and expectations differ from home to home (as they should), here is what many child life experts are saying.

 

While it may be easy to allow children to get lost in a television show, an iPad game, or even some video games after school, pediatricians and researchers have seen a sharp increase in screen time for children since 2002 that should alarm parents. A study released last year by the World Health Organization (WHO) found “a continuous steep increase” in screen time between 2002 and 2014 in Europe, with about 65 percent of girls and nearly 75 percent of boys claiming they now use computers for two hours or more on weekdays. This contributes to kids spending more than 60 percent of their waking hours sitting. This particular study, which was focused on 27 countries, analyzed the scary health risks, including childhood obesity, that can occur when a child or adolescent is sedentary for large amounts of time due to excessive screen time. One of the first things parents should become aware of is just how much time is being spent on technology, whether it is social media, video games, tv, or computer time. Once you have a good sense of how much time is really spent in front a screen, you can start to help your child balance that time with other activities such as hanging out with friends, reading, going outside or playing games.

 

So when should parents require that their child “unplug” and get outside for a while, or at least move on to another activity? This question can be very difficult as these types of activities, especially screen time that allows children to connect to peers and learn something new, can be so advantageous. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping babies under 18 months away from screens unless they’re video chatting. Kids between the ages of 2 and 5 should be cut off at an hour a day, and others shouldn’t exceed two hours, according to the Academy. What’s most important as parents is to help your child begin to monitor themselves by mentoring and guiding them to choose a healthy balance between screen time and the rest of the world.

NSCS Beverly Spring Concert and Art Show

On May 14, 2018, the students of NSCS Beverly Campus blessed parents, grandparents, and guests during a special evening featuring our annual Spring Concert and Art Show. What an amazing night it was to listen to and watch such talented students! Students from preschool through sixth grade treated the audience to a variety of music which included songs of praise, string instruments, recorders, tone chimes, and piano solos. A dance performance by the Judah Dancers was also a delight. Following the concert in the Upper Parish Hall the Art Show dazzled guests as many forms of art creations were displayed.  Additionally, the Silent Auction began with items such as hand painted pottery by students and teacher services. A reception followed in the Lower Parish Hall to complete this wonderful evening.

Our Spring Concert began, as always, by giving praise with a Welcoming Prayer offered by the Fernandes Family. From there, the preschoolers stole the show (and our hearts) with their rendition of King of My Heart and No Longer Slaves. These children of God put smiles on everyone’s faces as they sang their hearts out. Ms. Leza, our dance instructor, then led the students in a beautiful dance to Reckless Love by Bethel Music. These young women danced gloriously, with such freedom and with love in their hearts.

After a short reset of the stage, the audience was treated to several string groups including two accomplished violinists who played Pachelbel’s Canon in D, a small chamber group who played Great Are You Lord and Build My Life, and a guitar ensemble who skillfully played Ode to Joy. In addition to some seriously accomplished string musicians, the audience also had an opportunity to hear some delightful piano solos. These young men and women were calm and collected as they played for a room of enthusiastic parents and friends.

Piano and string instruments were not the only instruments with which the students of NSCS dazzled the audience. The 1st and 2nd graders used bells to perform This My Father’s World, the 3rd and 4th graders showcased their recorder skills playing God is So Good, and the 5th and 6th graders used tone chimes to captivate the crowd with Every Time I Feel the Spirit.

Finishing off the music portion of the evening was a simply heavenly group performance to several of the songs the children love: The Mighty Name of Jesus, I Want Them to Know, Every Burning Brighter, and Seek and You Shall Find. These songs included some beautiful solos, duets, and percussion solos.

The second part of the evening was the Art Show and Silent Auction that featured the art that our students have working on all year, as well as auction items that were quickly being bid on. The 2D and 3D artwork was awesome and the students were so proud to show off all their pieces. The big highlight of the Art Show, however, was the Gratitude Wall where students wrote about and created art about someone they are grateful for. This project truly shows who we are as a community.

Thank you to all the parents, friends, and relatives who joined us for this special evening of music and art.

NSCS Lynn Campus – 5th Grade “Look Outside” by Stephanie Gourley

“Do not love the world or anything in the world. […] The world and its desires pass away but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” 1 John 2:15a, 17

 

This is a hard concept for fifth graders who are being bombarded with messages from the world that tell them what they need to do to be liked and happy. They are told the clothes they must wear, the music they must listen to, and the attitudes they must have. The pressure the world puts on young children to fit into a certain mold is weighty and this self focus is toxic. In contrast, the Bible tells us that these things that the world strives for will pass away, and that instead it is the men and women who do the will of God that will live forever. We are challenged to look outside ourselves to a great God to whom we owe our all and to the people around us and around the world who need Him.

To do this, the fifth graders at the Lynn campus started the year off by visiting the Compassion Experience. Compassion International puts on this experience to help us in the U.S. better understand the lives of children in other parts of the world. It opens our eyes to the challenges other children face and helped our class look outside ourselves to see how we could help. During this experience we found out that many children don’t hear the words “I love you” or “Jesus loves you” except in letters from their sponsors. It can be hard, however, for sponsors to be consistent in writing to their sponsor child, so in order to bridge that gap the fifth graders have been writing letters to sponsor children throughout the year.

Another way we work on looking outside ourselves is through gratitude. First Thessalonians 5 tells us to, “Rejoice always, pray continually, [and] give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Gratitude has been a focus for us in fifth grade this year. Before students even enter the classroom in the morning we talk about things for which we’re grateful. We also discuss how we can show gratitude and we write in gratitude journals to keep our minds on all the blessings we have been given. Gratitude turns our mind’s focus away from ourselves and towards our great God who is the giver of all good things.

Our world tells us to focus on ourselves to find happiness, but we know from God’s word that there is a better way – there is a way to everlasting life. These practices of serving others and practicing gratitude help us to see beyond ourselves and live a richer, more meaningful life that not only brings us more joy than this world can offer, but even more importantly, brings glory to God!

 

NSCS Beverly Welcomes “Back to Bach” Project

We had a special visit from three Harvard students on Tuesday, May 1st. Although these men are students in molecular science, math and literature they did not enlighten us with facts but with music. They called themselves the “Back to Bach” project. Michael, Jeffrey and Isaac introduced us to their instruments and then brought classical music to life.

We listened to them play on the violin, the cello and the piano. The students learned what chamber music sounds like. We were also introduced to musical terms such as dynamics and tempo. These three Master Musicians then asked the audience to make the music personal. They encouraged us to listen to each of their solos and try to hear the story. The kids closed their eyes and listened. It was fantastic to see these young kids experience classical music in a new way.

What a great program to have visit our school. Michael, Jeffrey and Isaac were engaging and well spoken. And of course they played their instruments beautifully. I hope this visit inspires our young students to pick up an instrument and create a story of their own.

by Mrs. Jill VanderWoude

Keeping Art in the Classroom

Remember art class when you were little? It was fun, creative and, dare I say, a little bit messy. Beyond the paint, clay, and art supplies, however, there was, and still is, a method and benefit to all of this enrichment. Research shows that learning art, music, and other creative skills can help children excel in ways beyond the basic ABCs. Considerable value is granted to children who participate in music, theater, art, and dance, alongside other learning activities. At North Shore Christian School we are proud of our offerings of dance, art, and various instrument lessons such as guitar, violin, and percussion. Taking part in these activities strengthens our students in many ways. Here are just a few…  

  • Cognitive Benefits of the Arts – According to a report by Americans for the Arts, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills are strengthened by arts education. These skills can transfer to other areas, leading to achievement outside of the arts. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education reported that children showed more motivation, paid closer attention, and more easily remembered what they had learned when the arts were integrated into the curriculum.
  • Emotional Benefits – The arts can connect people more deeply to and open them up to new ways of seeing the world. Art can provide a different type of “outlet” that traditional classroom lessons do not allow. Creative inquiry happens naturally when exploring art and music.
  • Academic Benefits – An additional report by Americans for the Arts states that young people who participate regularly in the arts (three hours a day, three days each week through one full year) are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, to participate in a math and science fair, or to win an award for writing an essay or poem than children who do not participate.
  • Motor Skills – There are many motor skills that are practiced naturally while drawing, painting, molding clay, or playing an instrument. According to the National Institutes of Health, developmental milestones can be met quickly for even the youngest learners because of the practice of fine and gross motor control that art and music provide.

Does your child show interest in art, dance, or exploring a musical instrument? Find out more about our arts program during classes and after school in arts enrichment by visiting our website or calling.

Rewards of Teaching 4th Grade NSCS by Miss Pasceri

As a first year teacher in 4th grade there are many expectations, ideas, goals, and emotions that you have while preparing for your first class. This past August, as I arranged my room, hung posters, created lessons etc. for my students I didn’t realize the many things there are that you cannot prepare for before your first students arrive in September.

For me, one of these things has been how to help my students develop themselves into people of good character and high moral values as followers of Christ and having conversations regularly about what this looks like in our day-to-day lives. By developing a comfortable and safe classroom space where my 4th grader students feel heard, cared for, and loved, I have been able to foster solid relationships with students and watch as they continue to better love and care for one another within the classroom, the school, at home, and in their communities.

Guiding my very first class of students to love and respect themselves, each other, and the world in a Christ-like manner was something that I couldn’t have planned for with worksheets or stories, and it definitely couldn’t have been arranged before I got to know each and every one of them. But seeing my students as they continue to grow into young men and women founded in Christ through their positive actions and speech has been more enriching, rewarding, and enjoyable than any standards based content I have been able to teach them along the way.

Written by  Miss Pasceri NSCS Lynn Campus

 

 

NSCS Annual Jog-a-Thon

On April 27, 2018 students, teachers, staff, grandparents, and siblings took part in our annual Jog-a-Thon to raise funds for a great cause, a rich and challenging education for all the students at NSCS. The Jog-a-Thon was held at both our Lynn and Beverly Campuses after a postponement due to snow on our original date! We were blessed today with mild weather and the rain held off till almost every group had a chance to run. Students chose to run, jog, walk, skip and some even danced their way around the course. Even our youngest learners took part in a shortened version of the 20 minute run. This years theme was “Running with Endurance” based on Scripture from Hebrew 12:1.

 

Hebrew 12:1 The Race of Faith

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

 

On the Lynn Campus the event began in the morning with our preschool students giving it their all as they ran laps around the school. They proudly wore their event shirts and started strong. Students in the upper grades cheered and encouraged them as they ran for “Their school, God and themselves,” as one student put it. In the afternoon the lower and upper elementary as well as our oldest students in middle school took their turn during their 20 minute time slot. What struck observers the most was the camaraderie and encouragement that each student had for the runners whether it was a pat on the back, a high five or an encouraging word to keep going. Some students walked with friends while others helped and urged on younger members of the school.

 

On the Beverly Campus the scene was similar in that the students donned their Jog-a-Thon shirts and different colored bandanas for each grade while they waited patiently for their turn to run. They enjoyed inspiring music while Ms. Grant, our physical education teacher, guided the group with stretches and warm ups so they could do their best. Again, as with the Lynn Campus, students encouraged each other with signs and posters for fellow runners. When a student looked like they were ready to give up there was always a high five or an encouraging word from other NSCS students. State Representative and fellow runner, Jerald Parisella not only cheered on the students but also used his Boston Marathon running skills to join in the event with the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders.

 

Thank you to all the volunteers who helped make this day amazing; from the moms and dads who handed our snacks and waters to the organizers of the post run festivities. Thank you to all who supported our school community.

1st Annual Math Bee at NSCS Lynn Campus

How fast can you accurately solve 50 math fact equations? For students at the NSCS Lynn Campus, the answer is not only “extraordinarily fast”, but also “uncannily accurate”! Teachers and students alike agree that the 1st Annual Math Bee was a resounding success and one that will be repeated in the coming years.

Starting in March, students in grades one through eight began training for the Math Facts Bee. Students studied and practiced in class and at home in order to compete against other students in their “division”. Each grade was broken into the following divisions and math equation types:

  • 1st and 2nd Grades- Addition and subtraction problems from 0-10 (30 problems)
  • 3rd and 4th Grades – Multiplication problems from 0-10 (40 problems)
  • 5th and 6th Grades – Multiplication and division problems from 0-10 (50 problems)
  • 7th and 8th Grades – Multiplication and division problems from 0-12 (50 problems)

The Math Bee kicked off at the classroom level where students in each grade completed math quizzes that were graded on accuracy and speed in order to move on to the Divisional Math Bee. To qualify for this next level, a student needed to score within the highest 10 scores for each classroom. Once the top ten were chosen, the competition was really on as the entire student body met in the MPR for the Divisional Math Bee on April 13th led by “Professor” Stutz. Those 10 semi finalists were whittled down to the top 4 or 5 in each division who answered the math equations the fastest and with the highest level of accuracy. In the end, there were four triumphant winners, one for each group: 1st/2nd grades – Ralph, 3rd/4th grades – Simon,  5th/6th grades – Nicholas, and for 7th/8th grades – Susie.

While this was a fun and good-natured competition meant to encourage each child to practice their facts, it was so heartwarming to see students cheer for each other and rejoice in the joy of others as the Bible tell us to do. Students encouraged each other with posters, well wishes, and shirts that had numbers and equations boldly displayed. The champions walked away with some fun prizes such as a participation certificate, a free NUT Day coupon (No Uniform Today), and a Friendly’s gift card. It is such a joy seeing our students celebrate each other’s strengths and coming together as a community for these educational and exciting events.