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Presbyterian Church Schools' Resource Office Newsletter

July 2016

Kia ora tatou and welcome to the Resource Office newsletter for Term Three.
I am looking forward to seeing many of you at the Presbyterian Church Schools' conference on August 4 and 5.
With this year's theme being Flourishing in Faith | Te Puawaitanga i te Whakapono we are looking forward to exploring Wellbeing in a Presbyterian School context with the help of a wonderful range of presenters along with input from our Hawkes Bay schools.
A reminder that, if you haven't already done so, registrations close on Friday July 22nd. You can find the conference information and a link for registration here. The Conference tab on the top right-hand corner of the web-site gives more information about the programme, presenters and logistics.

Ka kite ano
Sharon Ross Ensor

News from schools

St Oran's Year 13 students outside the Habitat for Humanity  'transitional shelter' they built for a family in Nadi, Fiji at the end of last term. 
During the last week of Term Two I travelled to Nadi, Fiji with a group of students from St Oran's College to take part in a Habitat for Humanity build. It was hot, hard work but a real joy to be able to hand over our 'transitional shelter', built for Henry and Margarita, at the end of the week. The shelter is built to withstand a category 5 cyclone and will provide a real boost for the family's future well-being.
I appreciated the opportunity to lead evening prayer and a reflective time with our group at the end of each day. It enabled the students (and staff...and me!) to process their experience and to think about 'what now' as we prepared to travel back to the comfort of home, school, friends and family after such a challenging and eye-opening experience. 
It was great to see a group from St Cuthbert's in Nadi for a Habitat build as well and to swap notes about our service/mission trip experience with their group's leaders.

The Presbyterian church's magazine Spanz has run a number of interesting articles over the last nine months featuring our Presbyterian schools.
You can read them here:
Rev Roxy Gahegan, Chaplain at St Cuthbert's College on Choosing Chaplaincy from Summer 2015
A New Side to Fiji Saint Kentigern Boys' and Girls' Schools trip to Fiji from Autumn 2016
Much to Learn from School Chaplaincy on chaplaincy in our schools from Winter 2016

Curriculum News

CC - Christian Contemplation: Those of you who were able to be at the 2015 Presbyterian Church Schools' conference might remember a question being raised at the Annual Meeting about whether Mindfulness curriculum and resources from within a Christian framework were available.
That question has since prompted many conversations and enquiries on my part!
The Christian tradition has ancient and very rich contemplative practices brought to us from the Desert Fathers and Mothers, the monastics, the mystics and contemporary contemplatives. These practices help to develop stillness and silence, gratitude, awe and wonder, being present to the moment and so on. Sadly, they seem to have been largely overlooked today in favour of Mindfulness practices drawn from  the Buddhist tradition and more recent secular developments.
In keeping with our Special Character of Christian ethos within the Presbyterian and Anglican traditions, our two Resource Offices have agreed to partner in developing CC - a Christian Contemplation curriculum.
The curriculum for years 1-13 will provide resources for teaching about Christian Contemplation and the benefits it offers for mind, body and soul in our fast-paced, pressured school and community environments, along with ideas for regular contemplative practices in the chapel and classroom. 
This curriculum and resources will be available by the end of the year.

Useful resources for Christian Education classes and chapel.

Justice and Action Resource Book

Anne Overton from Presbyterian Support Northern writes: 'Church schools, churches and other groups are called to be an agent of change in our communities.  PCANZ and Presbyterian Support NZ developed the Justice & Action resource to raise awareness of the impact that two social issues, family violence and child poverty are having on our communities.   Working together with the Church Schools, we have the heart, the mind and the willing hands to bring about social transformation to vulnerable families'.

Kids Friendly and Presbyterian Support Northern have also joined forces to promote Praying for Children @ Risk week. While this project has officially ended, you might find the downloadable prayer resource a helpful one to explore the issues with your students.

Please contact Anne Overton, Community Advocate for Presbyterian Support Northern if you would like to be sent a copy of the Justice and Action booklet or would like to discuss these resources further with her.
Kids Friendly and Family Works' (Presbyterian Support) Love Reaches Out art competition
 The annual Love Reaches Out art and writing competition is running from Monday May 2 to Friday August 26. The theme for this year is 'Love in Action', challenging children to consider how we can tangibly show love to others in our daily lives. The competition is an annual joint project of Kids Friendly and Presbyterian Support and comes with prizes! The competition is open to children in pre-school through to year 8. Entries may be visual arts or writing and will be judged within age groups.
Art may be submitted as an individual or group project. 
This year Kids Friendly have written a curriculum to accompany the competition with each topic focussing on scripture to support the 'cause' that is being explored, then a New Zealand charity that does work in that area (each has Christian foundations if not a current Christian ethos). There is then a challenge time to plan something that the children might do on their own with community, school or family-based activities suggested as a springboard.
Lesson themes and highlighted 'causes':
-Caring for God’s Creation (A Rocha)
-Caring for God’s Creatures  (SPCA)
-Caring for “Outsiders”  (Salvation Army)
-Caring for the Differently-Abled (Elevate)
-An intergenerational celebration of “Love in Action”  (where the entire school can benefit from what classes have been learning.)  
The curriculum comes with suggestions for exploring these topics in both Chapel and the classroom and has a wealth of resources in the Appendices for each topic.
Highly recommended!

Kids Friendly have many resources on their web-site which will be of use for those of you working with Year 0-8 students. Have a look at their Favourite Finds page. There are some great ideas there, 'Storyline Online' and 'Picture Book Theology' are two of the most recent finds which are well worth a look.
A brand new resource which could be of use for those of you who celebrate communion in your schools is a communion resource for children which explains the meaning and symbolism of the sacrament within the Reformed tradition. The link will take you to a Word version of the booklet which you can adjust to fit your own context.

And on a completely different note....check out The Philosophy Man

Jason Buckley's web-site and resources are based around Philosophy for Children (P4C). You can also sign up for regular resource emails with suggestions for activities which can be used in your CE/RE classroom to engage students' imagination, energy and critical thinking as they have fun exploring the big questions of life. 

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