Parents and Guardians,
What a fabulous first day of elementary school it has been! Since this morning, I have sensed God’s presence through the Holy Spirit and witnessed the first day of school jitters calm, kids’ joy spread, and relationships form. If you were one of the 100 (or more!) parents at our Opening Convocation, you know what a meaningful time it was to open our school year in worship together. Students, staff, parents, and grandparents gathered outside together to worship God through song and receive a challenge from our head of school, Mr. McAboy, to remember that we were all uniquely Created for a Purpose (1 Pet. 4:10), which is our theme for this year. Like unique individual puzzle pieces which form a complete puzzle, God created us with gifts and talents to be used for his honor and glory. We will delve deeper into this theme throughout the year!
After chapel, the hallways were calm and quiet but the classrooms (both in indoor and outdoor spaces!) bustled as teachers engaged their students in relationship-building activities, modeled and instructed students through classroom procedures, and worked to ensure that all students know they belong at ZCS just the way God created them. I stopped by classrooms and saw students captivated by read-alouds, heard creative songs about class routines, and saw classmates giggle together as they played ice-breaker games. What joy to see relationships as a priority at ZCS from the very first day! I pray daily that the fruit of the spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) will flourish in our classrooms, the playground, and the hallways as we build community together. As middle school principal, Tim Paauw, preschool director, Nancy Pyle and I consistently remind teachers, when a student feels safe/known/loved, then s/he can learn. As Dr. Linda Jordan shared in our professional development day last week, “All learning is tied to relationships.”
The joy around school is contagious; my cheeks are honestly sore from smiling. Seeing the confident fifth graders sprinting down the hill to play soccer at recess to the wide-eyed young fives students exploring the playground with their new friends. I witnessed fourth-grade outdoor teamwork activities to the second graders sharing about their summers. There is so much energy in and around Zeeland Christian today.
I witnessed kindergarteners help each other open milk cartons, second graders make sure new students had friends to play with at recess, and fifth graders share their unique God-given talents in front of their classmates. Teachers introduced new literature styles, reviewed math concepts, and taught our youngest kids how to take turns sharing ideas. This has been a wonderful first day of school!
Today, I’m thankful for each and every one of our incredible kids, staff members, and parents. It is an honor to serve as elementary principal. This is going to be a great year together.
P.S. You may want to tuck your little ones in early tonight; tomorrow is going to be another exciting day at school!