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Read Aloud to Children of All Ages

Some of my earliest memories as a child centre on books. I remember looking at picture books, going to the library, and listening to my mother read aloud to my siblings and me. Our children’s Bible story books enthralled me with their wonderful illustrations and the colourful language brought the stories of God into my heart. Fast forward several years, and you would find me seated on our sofa, reading aloud to our children – all at various stages, some snuggled up close, others doodling or playing with Lego as I read  I started when they were infants and continued for as long as they let me – around Grade 7 or 8.

Reading aloud to your child is perhaps one of the most important activities you can do with your child to start him or her on a path of success in learning. Many of us spend a good deal of time reading to our very young children but stop as soon as our children begin to read for themselves. A strong case can be made for reading aloud to children, even when they are fluent readers. Most children love being read aloud to – it is a time of quiet bonding with parents, and creates a love for the written word, a love for story that can last for a lifetime. When we read aloud, we are exposing our children to ideas, places, times that they would perhaps not experience otherwise. Whereas movies provide ready-made images, books allow children to create their own visual images of what is happening, a skill which transfers into the classroom. When you read aloud, you are able to read material at a higher reading level than the child would himself be able to read – thereby, expanding his vocabulary and exposing him to new materials which in turn better prepares him for more learning. Listening to a story being read also teaches children to pay attention and to hold their focus; this skill develops as they mature and leads to success at school. As Christian parents, we also have the opportunity to choose books which will enrich our children’s spiritual growth. Whether a book is overtly Christian or not, the opportunity to discuss and evaluate presents itself in a natural way. 

If you are already reading aloud to your child, continue doing so. And if you are not, can I encourage you to make a start? I realize that some of us are more natural readers than others, but there is much to be gained in this endeavour. Ask friends or teachers or librarians for good book lists. Think back to some of the books you enjoyed as a child – chances are strong that your child will love them too. Start with reading age appropriate versions of the Bible. I promise you will never regret the effort!

Written by Jen Antonides, Muskoka Christian School’s Kindergarten teacher and mother of 5 children.

 

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Heart Treasure - Compassion

Learning about the Heart Treasure of compassion, I thought about the times in my life when I worked specifically with those in need. Working with people in need brought much joy to my heart and had lasting effects on my life and the way I choose to live. No matter how busy life gets, serving others remains a priority for me as I seek to follow Jesus with my life. I am overwhelmed by the compassion that I see throughout Jesus’ life here on earth and I can’t help but be compelled to want to imitate that.

I shared with students about how compassion means love in action and how when we see others in need, showing compassion means reaching out to help fill those needs as we are able. It seems like a simple definition, but the ramifications of that can have such lasting effects.  It blows my mind to think how God showed the ultimate compassion on humankind when he sent his only son Jesus down to earth to live a perfect life and die in our place to save us from our sin.  He saw our need for a saviour and knew that we could not attain freedom from our sins without his help. He graciously looked down on humanity and was so moved by our desperate need of him that he chose to show compassion on us even though it cost him greatly. May we never lose the awe and wonder of our saviour's love for us. I will never be the same because of the compassion that God showed us through sacrificing His only son and my prayer is that out of a heart filled with gratitude I am able to live my life in a way that seeks to show compassion to others. 

My prayer for our students is that they too would begin to grasp and embrace this motivation for showing compassion to others, whether in the class, in the community, or with their families. 

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”  1 John 3:16

Written by Lisa Spence, a teacher at MCS who taught about the Heart Treasure of compassion during weekly assemblies.

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The Reformation

The 500th anniversary of the Reformation is past but its truths endure. Here, a grade 8 student discusses its historicity and its relevance for today. The student ends with a searching question that we all must answer.

Not only is October 31st remembered as Halloween, but it is also remembered for the Reformation. Martin Luther, a monk of the middle Ages, boldly pointed out the errors in the beliefs and teachings of the Catholic Church. By briefly looking at these beliefs and what the Bible has to say about them, we will discover the basis of his concerns.

Many of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses concern salvation. In the early Catholic Church, it was taught that to be accepted into heaven, you must have accomplished good works to cover your sin. In addition, to skip a time between death and heaven, it was taught that you must pay money to the church. Also known as penance, to be forgiven from any sin, you were required to perform good works for the church. Only the priests had access to Bibles, so teachings like these were believed true.

Although the priests read the Bible, their teachings did not reflect biblical truths. Scripture is clear that we are saved through Jesus, and Jesus alone. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If we are required to pay for our salvation, then Jesus died for nothing! Isn’t that a disheartening thought? Our salvation was bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ and is given to us as a free gift. Let us not throw that gift way!

Considering such foundational errors, it is understandable why Martin Luther contradicted the Catholic Church. The church leaders taught many false doctrines regarding salvation, which revealed their lack of understanding of the Scriptures. God calls us to read the Bible in order to store it up in our hearts. Only in this way can we stand up against the devil and false teachings. Martin Luther stood up to what was false. How will you stand up against the false teachings of this world?

Written by McKinley

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Thoughts From Our 2017 Graduates

It is hard to believe that another group of graduates are ready to finish their time here at MCS. We truly delight is witnessing each of our graduates grow and mature in so many ways over the course of the years as students at MCS. We wish them God's blessings in high school and beyond, knowing that God goes with them and has prepared them for every situation and journey life offers.

Here are their thoughts on their time as students at MCS.

I think my time at M.C.S has prepared me for high school in a way most schools couldn’t.  This is most likely because it is a Christian school.  I don’t know why, but some of the most vivid memories of MCS are of pain, physical or mental.  Grade 5 and 6 were probably the hardest years for me because I wasn’t as confident as I am now.  I kept comparing myself to others and I always got angry when I lost.  I thank the Lord I am more mature and confident in myself now. I believe MCS is a fun and wonderful place full of learning and I hope I will also have as much fun at high school.    - Angus C.

As a grade eight graduate, I have many things to say about MCS. Mainly, I am very happy with how much this school has prepared me for high school. I feel as though I will be able to handle the change from a Christian school to a secular high school much better than I would have without having so much Christian influence in my life.
Everything I have learned since kindergarten and specifically in grades seven and eight has helped me grow in my faith and my wisdom about God. And having fun doing it! I have had many great years at MCS and am grateful to have had the opportunity to come here.    - Carlie M.

I made friends and I made memories. This community helped to change me and turned me into the young woman I am today. This school gave me confidence, and I’ve learned to love myself. In the past, I’ve made some mistakes. I was lonely and now I have God. Ahead, I see a bright future. My name is Hailey and I’m proud to say MCS is my school. Muskoka Christian School is my home and my family and I’ll never forget that!    - Hailey S.

I’ve been coming to MCS for ten years now and it’s great! People ask me if I’m excited for high school and my answer is, “I have mixed feelings about it.” MCS is such a small school and BMLSS is such a big school, the change will be a hard and trying one for me in many ways. I know though, that the teachers here have prepared me for almost everything about what’s waiting for me at high school. They’ve also helped me to realise that my faith and trust in Jesus is important through both the good times and bad. I’m very thankful to my parents for sending me to MCS and I know that I’ll remember my years here for a long time.    - Erin V.

I came to MCS when I was in grade 7. I now finish my second and last year here. Grade 9 doesn’t seem very intimidating, mostly because I have other siblings that go to high school and tell me what’s going on. Overall, I think I had a good time at this school. We had many jokes, and I had a little group of friends called “The Crew.” I created many memories here, and most of them were good! We made small jokes in class, and we talked about random stuff. This school may be small, but there are many nice people here. It’s a great school to go to! As a person who has experienced many different schools, this is definitely one of the most exciting. I look to the LORD to continue to guide me to make good and godly choices in the future. As the Bible says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)    - Mike V.

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Fidget Spinners: Is It What My Child Needs?

Your child might be asking for the latest of toys, a small hand held spinner. These are fascinating to operate and to watch, but does your child need one to keep their hands busy while learning in the classroom. Here is an article written by an occupational therapist who encounters thousands of children and adults with varying levels of needs. Please read as you will be enlightened on the effects of allowing spinners for fidgety fingers.

Fidget Spinners: Is It Really What Your Child Needs?

Here at MCS, most students do not need anything to occupy their hands while learning. We do allow stress balls for those that a teacher has identified as requiring fidgets. We want our students focused on their learning as we develop their intellect, self-regulation and creativity.

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The Joy Buddies Bring

Buddies bring tremendous joy to our students. Students at Muskoka Christian School have a wonderful opportunity to be partnered with an older or younger student for a time called Buddies. Buddies meet each Friday afternoon for a time of reading and partnering for fun activities. Buddies develop a sense of community among students, leadership skills being developed in our older buddies and mentorships for younger students to look up to the older ones. The connection and love that the older students show is an amazing testament to their character and the lights they are becoming of sharing God’s love!

 

The Kindergarten students get so excited….I mean THRILLED when it’s Friday and their buddies are about to join them in class. Sometimes they hide to be found. Sometimes they wait and peak out of our classroom door. They enjoy reading to their older buddy as well as listening to the stories they have read to them. After a time of reading, older and younger buddies in the Kindergarten room look through discovery bins, work on puzzles, create crafts, build train tracks, play in the kitchen and create letters in the post office dramatic play area. 

 

In the Kindergarten classroom, we end the day with a time of prayer. Buddies have joined us a few times for this wonderful time of prayer together. Some prayer requests were:

  • “Thank you God for my buddy. Thank you that he can come and play with me and teach me.” -Myles
  • “I love my buddy.” - Lukas
  • “I pray for my buddy. I wish he could come everyday to read to me!” -Hunter

Proverbs 22:6 states, “ Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” The excitement these children have in spending quality, God-honouring time together is a constant reminder for me as a teacher that these moments and memories they are making will stay with them for a lifetime. 

 

I asked the parents of the Kindergarten students if there were stories that their children came home telling about an older buddy and these are a few of the responses I received:

  • “Buddies are so fun because they are big kids and they read to me and they have playtime with us too.”
  • “ Hiding on my buddy is so fun. When my buddy finds me I jump out and give him a big bear hug.”
  • “My favourite thing to do with my buddy is to build Lego creations.”
  • “I like building with blocks when my buddy is here.”

It is a pleasure, as a first year teacher here at Muskoka Christian School, to be part of the staff community and see students come together as a community of their own. I love every moment at the school so far and I am excited to see what God has in store for the future of the school!

 

Written by the newest member of the MCS teaching staff, Mrs. Alyxandra Brown.

 
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Students as Coders

I would like to take this opportunity to share with you one part of the computer technology curriculum that I have been teaching for many years and I feel is becoming more and more important as technology becomes increasingly prevalent. Coding (or programming) is a vital skill for students to learn. In fact, so much so, that there are concerted efforts to aid in the promotion of coding to students, parents and teachers. One such initiative is the “Hour of Code” (https://code.org/learn) aimed to develop interest in a fun and collaborative way.

Why should kids learn to code? There are many reasons. It is becoming a much-needed skill in the current job market today. Currently, there is a demand for skilled programmers in many companies. They are offering a sizeable income to employees along with meal, fitness and recreational facilities – quite an offering for a young, hard-working person. However, this is not the only reason, after all God has made us all unique and not all will be led in this way. Computers are so prevalent in our world that it only makes sense for students to learn the basics in order to use them in their daily lives. As an article published on CBC parents explains, “If grade-schoolers are taught biology and mathematics in order to understand the world around them, then knowing the basics of how computers communicate—and how to engage with them—should be a given.” (found at http://www.cbc.ca/parents/learning/view/why-kids-should-learn-to-code-and-how-to-get-them-started)

Additionally, coding is a great way to develop skills in problem solving and logical thinking. Students who learn programming skills increase proficiencies in Math and Science. Let us also not forget that coding is fun! Making a computer perform the tasks you want it to is quite rewarding. As a teacher, many times I have seen the thrill of a student watching the computer execute their first program.

What ages should students be? Any age! I have taught students from grade 1 to grade 8 and all have been able to grasp fundamental concepts. A great introduction to coding is using “block” stacking. Students build programs by stacking together short blocks of code by dragging and dropping. At MCS we use a technology called Scratch (http://scratch.mit.edu) which uses this technique. Younger students can build programs to make a character move around the screen and respond to simple events. Older students can use Scratch to make full-fledged programs using variables and sophisticated logic.

For the grade 6-8 students, they are ready to begin looking at more traditional forms of coding. At MCS we look at creating web pages with HTML and CSS and this year we are going to look at a prevalent language often used to teach beginners to code, Python.

What can parents do to help supplement the learning in the classroom? There are many books and websites dedicated to helping the student learn to code. The Huntsville Public Library has quite a few books written, for students ages 10 and up, to learn in a fun and exciting way. A great list can be found at the end of the CBC article (http://www.cbc.ca/parents/learning/view/why-kids-should-learn-to-code-and-how-to-get-them-started) including some aimed at girls using the “Frozen” characters (http://studio.code.org/s/frozen/stage/1/puzzle/1).

Written by Roger King who teaches technology to many of our students and who oversees our technology department at MCS.

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Back to Basics

Basic Training or Boot Camp is an intense time for new army recruits to learn the basic procedures and behaviours required to be good soldiers. Your child may have come home these past couple of days with a similar comment like, “school feels like Boot Camp.” While the first few weeks of school are tenderly coined “Boot Camp” by teachers as they teach routines and appropriate behaviours at the start of the new school year, the past few days may also seem like “Boot Camp” to your child as teachers reflect back to re-establish routines and behaviours that were taught at the beginning of the school year. As educators, we desire that our students know and display the appropriate behaviours to be good students and respectful citizens of God’s kingdom.

It was the consensus of our teaching staff that the expectation of respect for others was not evident in our students’ behaviours within the school and on the playground, thus a focus back on re-establishing this expectation can be witnessed throughout the school.

The expectation of demonstrating respect to others is a command from God. 1 Peter 2:17 tells us to show proper respect to everyone; Luke 6:31 says we are to do to others what we would have them do to us; Romans 13:7 states we are to give everyone what is owed to them, including respect and honour, and finally; Philippians 2:3 explains that we are to do nothing out of selfish ambition, rather to consider others better than oneself. These verses clearly implore us to conduct ourselves in ways that put others first. We do this by showing respect in word, deed and comportment.

What does respect look like at MCS? Respect must be shown to the other learners and people in the school. Showing proper respect means being quiet and courteous so others can learn and work. Precisely, the expectations during specific times are described below:

Whole Class

Sitting in one spot on bottom

Participating in activity

Looking at speaker

Following protocol for asking questions i.e.: raise hand

Empty hands except for what is needed for learning

Sitting on floor if class is on floor

Immediate silence when signal given

No call-outs

No side conversations

No eye conversations

 

Independent

Sustained focus on quality work

Whispered voices if asking for help

Stay in designated area

Follow time set for “give it a try”

Grit, Grapple, Persevere

Follow protocols for what to do when finished

Follow protocols for getting materials during work time

 

Small Group Work

Participating in activity

Looking at speaker

Follow protocol for listening and asking questions

Empty hands except for what is needed for learning

Sitting on floor if class is on floor

Immediate silence when signal given

No call-outs

No side conversations

           No eye conversations

Teachers and students use 12-inch voices

 

Large Group Work

All engaged/involved on task/on topic

Follow assigned roles

Individual accountability

Stay in designated area

Keep working

Interdependent

One voice at a time

Respectful conversations

 

Transitions in Classroom

Timely/efficient i.e.: on spot by end of signal

No detours

No clumping

Materials ready

Stay in personal space

 

Transitions Out of Classroom

Quiet talking during morning arrival and dismissal periods

Silence during all other movements in halls

Walking

Single file/stay on the right

One step at a time on the stairs

Push quietly on doors

Hold door for the person behind you

Hands to yourself

 

Assembly

Sit in your spot

Sing and participate in activities

No bathroom usage

No side conversations

Can talk quietly using 12-inch voices until opening

Immediate silence when signal given

 

Bathroom

Yes, before class begins, during recess, lunch and assigned times

Yes during independent work

Never during direct instruction

Not during Assembly, musical rehearsal, and special presentations etc.

 

Lunch

Stay in your spot

Converse with others near you

No trading food

Appropriately compost and recycle when possible

Take uneaten food home

We respectfully ask our school families support these expectations for the benefit of all learners. We look to our Lord for strength as we strive toward our calling to be respectful citizens within God’s world.

Written by the Principal/COO of Muskoka Christian School, Mrs. Lauralynn Mercer

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Google Docs in the Classroom

Recently our senior students began using a technology called "Google Docs". What is it and why is it important for Muskoka Christian School?

Google Docs (and Google Drive) is one of many ways to access a relatively new technology called "The Cloud". Whenever technology writers have wanted to show an illustration involving the Internet, a cloud was used, hence the name "The Cloud". Instead of storing our documents and media on CDs, thumb-drives or memory cards, it is now possible to store them on the Internet, i.e. cloud. This allows us access to our documents from any device (computer, tablet, smartphone, etc.) that is connected to the Internet. 

There are many benefits to anyone using this technology, but some specific to education and us at Muskoka Christian School. One obvious benefit is that is it no longer necessary to carry around any physical media to store our files, eliminating the student nightmare of "I forgot my thumbdrive with my project at home!” Students can begin a document at school and continue at home needing nothing more than a web browser. 

In the classroom, other benefits present themselves that were not possible prior to using the Internet. Students can collaborate on a document at the same time - even in different physical locations! Documents can be shared (with other students and the teacher) and printed. A revision history is kept for each document to monitor student progress. Writing and reference tools are integrated into the environment and files are compatible with most major office software such as Microsoft or LibreOffice. Documents can be freed from the traditional 2D paper environment and include media (such as sound or video) and can become truly interactive if desired.

There are many other benefits, but even with this short list, it is clear to see why this is a technology we are embracing at MCS and guiding students in the use of these helpful tools. Below are links to articles detailing more information about using this technology for education.

http://blog.vingapp.com/corporate/benefits-google-apps-classroom-home/

http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/work_in_progress/2014/10/why_schools_need_google_drive.html

http://www.cultofpedagogy.com/google-drive-for-students/

 

This article is written by our resident computer technologist, Roger King. Among teaching technology, Roger teaches many subjects and grade levels at MCS.

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Teachers Say the Darndest Things

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Kids say the darndest things”. Art Linklater ran a TV show for many years with this theme. But do you know that teachers also say things that are memorable? I recently came across this blog. These comments make me chuckle as I remember similar things I have said or heard in the classroom. Now I wish I had written them down.

35 Things Teachers Thought They Would Never Say

Bonnie Kathryn

BLOG • JANUARY 12, 2016

Every so often some of the conversations on my Facebook page become quite comical. Recently I posted a question that left me in stitches. I compiled the answers for you to spend a few moments laughing as well. Enjoy this compilation of quotes from teachers all over the world!

What are some things you thought you would never say as a teacher?

  1. “Please do not drink the watercolors.” – Jennifer
  2. “Your echolocation is not broken, you are not a bat you don’t have echolocation. Stop running into the wall and yelling ‘my echolocation is broken.’” – Danielle
  3. “No, I cannot marry you.” – Kay
  4. “Please take your head out from under my dress…” – Meghan
  5. “Stop licking the window.” – Jennifer
  6.  “Ew! Don’t lick the potty!” – Christina
  7. “We don’t pick our friends’ noses for them, even if they told you to do it!” – Tricia
  8. “No, I’m sorry you cannot be an octopus today.” – Chelsea
  9. “That is not Chapstick. That is our glue. Please stop putting it on your lips.” – Holli
  10. “Your string cheese is not a light saber.” – Melissa
  11. “What do you mean you have a tiny NFL football stuck up your nose?” – Lee
  12. “We don’t chew on scissors.” – Jennifer
  13. “Please keep your tongue out of your nose.” – Cathy
  14. “Do not eat the Crayons. Yes, they are nontoxic but let’s not test the theory.” – Julie
  15. “Stop sucking on the wall.” – Jenny
  16. “You brought a real live ‘dead’ fish?” – Chelsie
  17. “Please stop drinking from the toilet!” – Christina
  18.  “I’m so proud of you for buckling your belt…but now go back in the bathroom and put your pants on!” – Madison
  19. “We are not making valentines for the vegetarians, it’s the Veterans we are making them for.” – Jennifer
  20. “Your teeth itch? Hmmm, ok just get a drink.” – Nikkee
  21.  “I am not a tree; you are not a woodpecker, so please stop tapping on me.” – Katy
  22. “Please, do not come out of the bathroom licking your hands.” – Laura
  23. “Are you gluing your hair back on your head with a glue stick?” – Lee
  24. “We do not growl in school. We are human beings not animals and we do not growl.” – Jessi
  25. “Do not glue paper to your body! That includes your skin, your clothes, and your shoes!” – Amy
  26. “Did you really just put glue in your dear teacher’s hair?!” Student response: “Well a couple of hairs were sticking out! I fixed it for you…aren’t you so happy?” – Jill
  27.  “Well if it wasn’t your underwear you flushed down the toilet, whose was it?!” – Dana
  28. “Please go back to the bathroom and give each other back your pants. You need to leave school in the same pair of pants you showed up in.” – Melissa
  29. “No, your last name is not ‘Lil Daddy.’” – Ashley
  30. “No, you cannot wrap string around your finger to make it turn purple; that is not cool.” – Kay
  31. “Stay calm and evacuate the room. I’ll get Mr. Weeks to find the snake.” – Carol
  32. “If you try to stick your finger in the fan again and it comes off we get to call you ‘Stumpy’ the rest of the year.” Problem solved. – Carissa
  33. Back in the day when we had a dramatic play area in the classroom: “Please get down off of the table in the kitchen. No one will ‘give birth’ in our dramatic play area or anywhere here at school.” – Shelley
  34. “Everyone move to the other side of the room while I catch the snake with this trash can.”  ~Kellie S.  
  35. Did you really put glue on your eyelids?”  ~Teresa M.

This entry was submitted by Mrs. Kathi Cooper. With over 32 years of teaching experience, Mrs. Kathi Cooper heard many things from her students and said many things to her students. We thank her for serving the MCS community these past 17 years and tenderly guiding and teaching our Kindergarten students. We wish her God's best in her retirement!

 

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Graduates Reflect on Years At MCS

My nine years at Muskoka Christian School have been great! A school with Christ at the center of its education really helps one start his or her walk with the LORD. The teachers are amazing and I’ve learned a lot, academically and spiritually. Soon, I will start high school, where God’s word is not taught. But with this strong foundation I’ve built at MCS, I know that I’ll stand firmly in the next four years and beyond. I give thanks to God and everyone who has helped with this school for helping in my Christian education.“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”   Joshua 1:9    Written by Nathan P.

 

As grade nine quickly approaches, I will soon be leaving MCS and heading into a new school and a new environment. I will miss the friendly and uplifting surroundings that I have become so familiar with and appreciated so much for nine years. I have been so blessed to be able to come to MCS and have a Christian education to support me and help me grow in my academic studies, my faith and my relationship with God. I will not be attending a Christian high school and I know that after many years of great friends and caring teachers, I am ready to go into a secular environment. I will seek to honour and serve God in the place where he puts me. I have been taught to take deep root in God and trust that he will protect me in the situations he will put me in. MCS was the perfect place for me to learn and develop and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here. I will never forget the wisdom and guidance from all my time here at MCS.  Written by Luke M.

 

 

Ever since I was five years old, I have wanted to be a pastor and M.C.S. has helped me step closer toward that goal. With kind, caring teachers and a loving atmosphere, M.C.S. is the perfect school for Christian kids and families in this unchristian world. Sure, God calls us to go into the world, but we are to learn and grow in God first. Muskoka Christian School is a wonderful place to achieve our full potential, with God's word being taught to us in every subject. I thank M.C.S. for everything that it has done for me in the last eight years. I heartily recommend it to inquiring families. Thank you, M.C.S., for everything you have done for me! Written by Jason T.

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Starting Your Uniform Adventure!

If you’re looking to buy new school uniforms for the first time, or to buy bigger sizes for your child, you might get “sticker shock” when you see the prices from the school’s approved uniform supplier, Uniform Basics. MCS has been associated with Uniform Basics for more than 15 years, and throughout that time a few things have become clear. Clothing from Uniform Basics is extremely durable.  There are kids currently at the school wearing shirts labeled with the names of students who have graduated from high school!  What’s even better is that same high school graduate has two younger siblings who wore the same shirt, and the current MCS student has one older sibling who also wore the same shirt. How many other articles of clothing have gone through that many kids (and washes!) and still looks like other, newer shirts worn by kids in the same class? UB also offers sizes for the very young, very petite, and very husky – so all body types can find clothes and are comfortable and look good. Clothing, both tops and bottoms, are manufactured from a single, modern plant good that has no history, experience or association with sweatshops, where child labour can be a reality. As I live out my faith, I want my buying practices to be mindful of God’s people in other parts of the world, and I strive to put my “money where my mouth is” as much as possible. When you consider uniform purchases with those things in mind, the price is easier to understand. If you are looking to save money on uniforms, consider the school’s annual “Swap Shop” where you can purchase pre-loved uniforms, or resell items your children have outgrown. The “Swap Shop” can be an excellent way to save money, as can asking other families for their hand-me-down uniform items.

You may decide that you would like to buy your “navy clothes” somewhere other than Uniform Bascis. This option was introduced a few years ago as a way to help families with the cost of uniforms.  Having used this option, I can offer some insight into the pros and cons of different stores. Navy blue pants, skirts, skorts, jumpers, and shorts are available at Joe Fresh, Gap, The Children’s Place, Old Navy, Wal-Mart, and department stores. Prices vary, as does the quality.  Often, the saying “you get what you pay for” is true. Old Navy sells pants for a low price of $10 (sale price), but rarely do my kids outgrow the pants before the knee rips and the colour fades and the skort always looks like it needs to be ironed. Pants from Joe Fresh seem to hold their dark colour well, and the material is most similar to that of Uniform Basics. Pants from Wal-Mart are similar to those from Joe Fresh, but finding them in-store in the right size, or even online, is hit-or-miss for me. (The knee socks for girls are great!). My daughter’s skort from a department store falls nicely and holds up well to the wash, with no ironing needed. I have little experience with clothes from Gap, but regular prices there are almost the same as Uniform Basics.

I find my children need fewer clothes than if they did not wear uniforms, and the non-uniform clothes they have often do not wear out because they are less frequently worn.  Getting dressed for school is easy and straightforward.  As a parent and former teacher at three schools requiring uniforms, I appreciate that uniforms allow kids to focus more on school less on clothing.  If you have any questions about the uniform policy or saving money on uniforms, I encourage you to talk to the principal, or send me an email.

Submitted by Christine Tulloch, a current parent and former teacher here at MCS. Please submit your uniform questions to her at underwater79@hotmail.com or to the school.

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