Christian Curriculum Distinctives
Curriculum is designed for students. It is the program of studies that guides instructional activities used and implemented by the teacher. It reflects the school's mission and goals, articulates the program aims, and contains a basic description of the main themes, content, and skills taught in adherence to the Ontario Ministry of Education and Training guidelines. Christian curriculum permits the expression of a number of distinct characteristics:
- The course of studies will direct the students to the central message of the Scriptures. All the parts flow together to develop a worldview that confesses Jesus as Saviour and Lord and elicits a response to serve Him in obedience and joy.
- Responding to a distinctive course of studies will lead the student to a sense of wonder and amazement, acknowledging that this is my Father's world and he/she is an integral part of God's creation, intricately made and cared for. In addition, the child is led to the understanding of the impact of sin on the world and a longing for renewal.
- In the view that the child bears the image of God, a holistic approach determines a selection of worthwhile content that explores specific meaningful issues. As students experience their educational journey, opportunity is given to practice and apply skills and knowledge and develop personal meaning within a Christian worldview.
- The curriculum is developed and implemented by committed, professional, and qualified staff members who acknowledge God's presence in their lives and in the world. Their faith is expressed in their approach to curriculum and modelled daily within the school community.
Every child has the potential to be expressive in art. It is important that the Christian education system embrace the task of bringing out this creative potential. Thus children become aware of who they are, how great the works of God are and their creative responsibility in His world.
The visual arts program at OCS is one that promotes much variety and discovery, and results in celebration and sharing of our redemption in Jesus Christ. The countless techniques and uses of paint, paper, and ink that are found, recycled or discovered in objects provide rich experiences in classrooms of very creative and eager young students. However, the wide ranging truth of life, death, hope, fears, and beliefs that are safely, lovingly, and graphically shared give joy to all of us who take the time to see it in the art that is produced in our school.
The Christian school exists to train students for a life of discipleship to the triune God in the world, and the Bible crucial for that development. It is used in a devotional context, along with meditation and prayer, and also in a distinctly "academic" approach, as a subject among other subjects.
The school's Bible program, Walking With God, presents the Bible as the divinely inspired Word of God. In learning about God's people throughout history, students learn that through the high and the low points, God's continuing love for his people is evident. Despite doubt, rebellion, fear, or pressure to conform, each student (just like the people in the Bible) is on a spiritual journey under God's care. Students too, belong to the story. The Bible helps shape our sense of who we are, where we have come from, what we are living for, and where we are headed.
Language is seen as an important and vital gift that God has given us. Teaching French involves equipping students to understand and respect those who speak another language. Our purpose is to learn to speak and understand Canada's other official language and to learn to appreciate another culture. Learning French helps students discover and explore their ability to communicate and come to appreciate the underlying principles and structures of the language of another culture. French is taught formally to the students in grades 1 - 8, with regular exposure to the language already beginning in kindergarten. French is taught primarily through a conversational method in primary grades. In grades 4 – 8, vocabulary, pronunciation and grammatical structures are developed. Students have access to an on-line program for further practice and skills enhancement.
In health education, students learn how to fulfil their God-given responsibility in such areas of nutrition, cleanliness, personal safety, and disease prevention. Students learn how we are "fearfully and wonderfully made" in studying body systems. They also learn interpersonal skills necessary for getting along with others. The family strand of the Healthy Living series leads students to appreciate the blessings of family life. Working through family topics helps students to establish basic Christian patterns. The health curriculum seeks to guide students to experience healthy living through the examination of scripture. God designed humans as sexual beings and He established a healthy pattern for how humans interact in this area. Therefore human sexuality is taught in the classroom with attention paid to age appropriateness. The school desires the home to play a role in this teaching and has included both home and school objectives. The foundational curriculum for teaching Human Sexuality is the CSI series entitled Healthy Living. This curriculum presents healthy living in a Christ-centred manner and upholds God’s plan for the family and His plan that our bodies are the “temple of the Holy Spirit” as we strive to become His image bearers. Teachers, at each grade level, will inform the parents prior to the classroom instruction period in order for the parent to initiate and instruct their own children in the age appropriate topics.
Grade 7 & 8 students, in addition to the CSI curriculum, interact with James Dobson’s book titled Preparing for Adolescence.
Basic to the biblical approach in language arts is the recognition that God is the Creator of language and communication and He has given them to use as a gift. The curriculum provides a carefully designed balance of short stories, novels, poetry, media studies, writing, and skill development. Through the curriculum, a proficiency in the language arts contributes to the development of the students' relationship with God, knowledge of God's word and creation, effective communication skills, analysis and discernment skills with a Christian worldview, language skills, and an overall appreciation and enjoyment of written and spoken words.
The mathematics program enables students to increase their understanding of God's creation and prepare them to serve effectively in the world in which they live. Students learn about God's faithfulness and lawfulness in the numerical and spatial aspects of his created order. The study of mathematics gives students the ability to communicate ideas through the use of numbers, symbols, proofs, and graphs. Students engage and practise this foundational knowledge in novel problems and everyday applications. The Jump Math program provides the core of the school’s instruction.
Music is a significant vehicle through which believers worship God. It has a capacity to provide spiritual enrichment through aesthetic enjoyment, creative expression, and communal and individual worship.
At OCS we study the basic elements of music: melody, rhythm, harmony, form, and timbre. We experience music by: listening, singing, moving, playing various instruments, reading and writing music. At the various levels, students engage in vocal and instrumental music. Students in grades 5-6 begin to prepare for band by learning how to play the recorder. In grades 7-8, students participate in a school band. Instruments may be personally provided or rented through the school. Our goal is to teach the children to appreciate the gift of music and to seek opportunities to use this gift in God's world. The MusicPlay program provides the framework for the music curriculum.
Physical Education Curriculum
Human beings, created in God's image, function and respond through their bodies to fulfil the tasks to which they have been called. In physical education, we study the movement of the body and we practice skills to acquire and maintain physical fitness and co-ordination. A balanced approach that incorporates fitness, play, and skills is developed throughout the grades. We believe that physical activity brings enjoyment and awareness of how wonderfully our bodies are made. In addition, students have opportunities to grow in self-knowledge, self-respect, competition, and social skills. At various levels, students may choose to engage in extra-curricular athletic programs.
God is the Creator and Sustainer of the entire universe in which we live. All of creation witnesses to the mighty acts of the Creator and to His providential care. Through a well-developed science program the students will grow in their relationship to God, increase their understanding of the world they live in, and prepare them to serve stewardly and effectively in an increasingly scientific and technological world. Scientific inquiry into the natural and physical universe expands our knowledge of creation and is a significant tool to equip us to wisely care for the earth and its life. Science differs from other conventional subjects in that it is, by definition, an inquiry. Although students can absorb scientific facts, a sense of awe and wonder at God's majesty, revealed in his creation, is nurtured within them. A curious mind, thinking skills such as analysis and abstraction, as well as laboratory skills are cultivated in the teaching of science.
At OCS this begins in the primary grades through the Creation Studies curriculum and continues to be developed throughout the grades where students are confronted with the opportunity to respond to a growing knowledge of God's creation.
Social Studies Curriculum
Social Studies focus on humans in relationship to God, to him/herself, to others and to the rest of creation. This is accomplished by studying these various interactions. Through the creation studies, students in the primary division experience their immediate environment and begin to explore the heritage of man. In the junior division, the students study the historical and geographical aspects of their own country, Canada. In addition, the study of other cultures and civilizations provides a contrast to their own experience.
In the intermediate division, students begin to think analytically, and are presented with the further division of the social studies content into the disciplines of geography and history.
The geography curriculum serves to remind students that all of life is associated with the natural environment. From an ecological perspective, students learn that each biome or ecosystem is a dynamic, unified creational structure and that people use the land depending on their value systems. Students are guided to form questions that will allow them to consider decisions about resource use and stewardship.
God calls Christians to be part of His plan for redeeming the world. Understanding the past can help students appreciate and direct their lives today into more obedient service to God and their neighbours. The study of history enables us not only to learn the knowledge and stories of the past, but assists us to understand our contemporary society better. History gives us the opportunity to hear God's pain and joy in the various human actions of the past and to become historical co-workers with God in bringing reconciliation and building communities that truly reflect his will. The history curriculum continues to expand the students' knowledge of Canadian history as well as the various aspects of the history of Christendom.
We live in a world where information technology is rapidly expanding and changing. It transforms – and sometime enhances - so much around us. It affects our communication, our lifestyle, our way thinking. IT also affects education.
We seek to teach discernment when learning more about IT (and how we use it) and the various programs, applications and experiences available to us.
IT is another tool, or medium, to add to an existing collection of educational supports. IT provides another way to present our teaching strategies as we explore God's creation.
Students in the primary and junior grades have access to an on-line keyboarding program in order to be able to effectively use the computers to publish assignments.
Should you require more specific information about the curriculum, feel free to e-mail the school at firstname.lastname@example.org.