What Does Success Look Like in a Christian School?

This is a really good question to ask, particularly in light of NAPLAN testing, exams, ATAR scores, and career counselling, and especially when there is so much attention focused on ranking students, achievement at all costs, being the top of the class, and directing students into highly paid, university accredited professions. Even though we may not believe this is the be all and end all, to what extent has this worldview been absorbed into our thinking as parents and teachers?

I would suggest that success is more closely aligned with growing student’s character traits and attitudes:

  • being the best that you can be
  • perseverance
  • determination
  • diligence
  • resilience
  • and above all, trusting in God (Proverbs 3:5-6)

In a very real way, our success as a College is determined by the extent to which we fulfill our mission, which is, to partner with parents as a covenant community in order to support them in their task of nurturing and educating their children. We achieve this by developing structures that support dynamic 21st Century Learning, stimulating the God-given creativity and curiosity of lifelong learners, and immersion in a Christian worldview (Locus2019).

This refers to an ongoing process of learning how to learn, rather than the memorisation of factual information under time-pressured conditions. Memorisation may get you through a test or exam, but has a limited impact on the life skills needed after school.

Success is better measured by improvement, growth, solving real world problems, teamwork and collaboration, where the process is just as important as the outcome. That is why Project- or Problem-Based Learning (PBL) has become such an important strategy. This is about engaging students, developing their curiosity as we explore God’s world, and learning to express ourselves creatively.

21st Century Learning is about teachers listening to students, developing relationships with them and giving them choices, rather than just telling them what to do, what notes to write down, and making decisions for them. It recognises that students need to have a voice, and be extended in flexible learning spaces (like the LRC), where students are not dependent on the teacher alone for content-specific knowledge, and have access to an almost limitless number of online resources.

We need to accept that mistakes are okay, and are part of the learning process. Setbacks are often where we learn resilience, and learn the ability of overcoming. Children are fearfully and wonderfully made and God has made each of us uniquely, with different talents and giftings. In 1 Corinthians 12:14-26, Paul writes, “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’ On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable.”

Our problem is that we sometimes buy into a worldview which compares and ranks one against another.

Rehoboth’s aim is to provide a holistic education that promotes excellence in ALL areas of development. Academic, spiritual, cultural, emotional, and physical aspects should complement rather than compete with each other, so that all children are given the encouragement to succeed and enjoy aspects of their schooling.

That is why it is important to develop broad extra-curricular and strong pastoral care programs, through which a lot of learning can take place. The attributes listed above are great preparations for life and the challenges we face, and are better measures what real success looks like when we work to bring glory to God and not to ourselves.

Feature image by Caleb Dalais (Year 10 Visual Communications)

Christian Character and Worldview: When is the Right Time for My Kids?

I’d like my child to attend Rehoboth but I’ve heard that you have an “open to Christians only” policy. What does this mean?

We believe that, to partner fully with our parents, we need to understand and believe the same truths of the Bible. We need to share a Christian worldview so that our children learn to understand that this is God’s world and that He is sovereign over it.

When we start with the premise that God created a perfect world and man sinned and thus broke the perfect relationship we had with Him, we can begin to see that we are sinful and will do sinful things. We also know, however, that God sent His Son to redeem us and, knowing this, we begin to work together with parents to help children understand themselves as they grow.

When we are one in Christ, it becomes our shared desire to teach our children what it means to live for Jesus.

We want them to develop Christian character – not just good “morals” or “values” which are dictated by the world, but a perspective that helps them to respond to Jesus’ love in love and service to Him. We want them to see the world as God sees it and then to help them learn to engage with it and its people and eventually to become influencers of its culture.

I’ve heard it’s best to put my children into a Christian School for their Primary years education, to give them a good grounding. When is the best time to enrol them?

I think it is important to enrol them at Kindergarten level and to do this in good time as we often find our classes filling up quickly each year!

You have already started your child’s journey of learning about God and His world while they have been home with you.

You have begun to tell them Bible stories, taught them to pray before meals and bed, started to help them to understand who they are in Christ and what He has done for them.

As part of your responsibility towards your children you have taken them to your church community, perhaps in crèche or Sunday School or Kids Church or just with you as a family.

The next logical step is to ensure that the good work that has been started now continues as they spend over six hours a day at school.

From Kindy to Year 12 at Rehoboth, your child will build on the knowledge and principles that you have begun to teach them. From the very beginning, through to the end of the schooling, the way that they view the world will be through the lens of God’s Word – that Christian perspective that we talk about so much.

The lessons that they have learnt from you and at church will be consolidated and developed over the course of their education so that they begin to have a clear picture of their place in God’s world.

Having said that – it is never too late to invest in Christian Education at Rehoboth!

Success, Safety and “Real” Schools

With this issue, we begin an occasional series we’re calling “Be Distinct”. We ask Rehoboth’s leaders and senior staff to choose three of the frequently asked questions we receive, and to give us their views. We encourage you to read through their answers. They’ll help to explain some of characteristics that make Rehoboth distinct and will deepen your understanding of Christian Education. They’ll also provide useful information whenever you might be discussing Rehoboth with family and friends.

I want the best for my children – how will Rehoboth ensure they succeed?

I have four children with different gifts given by God. Some of those gifts are academic; however, most of the gifts I see in my children are those not necessarily “tested”, but which can be developed at school. Gifts such as hospitality or music are very much encouraged and many opportunities are available for our students to serve and glorify God.

I want my children to be servants in their churches and influencers for Christ in whatever career they choose. Whether they are hairdressers, pharmacists, dental technicians, or tradespeople is a secondary concern. Their eternity is much more important to my husband and I than what they do for the relatively short time they are on earth.

Is a Christian school like Rehoboth a “real” school?

If your definition of a real school is a school which complies with the State and Australian curricula, then yes.

If your definition of a real school is the public school down the road, then the short answer is no. The Rehoboth distinctive is to deliver Christ-centred education.

The teachers at Rehoboth take the assigned curriculum and pull it apart to use in their teaching and learning programs using the following questions:

  • How did God intend this subject or concept to be “in the beginning,” or prior to sin?
  • How did the Fall, or sin, affect this subject or concept?
  • How can we, as redeemed people, influence this subject or concept?
  • How can we help the student to “see Jesus” through this subject or concept?

We believe that without asking these questions, we would look exactly like the school down the road, and there would be little point to a school like Rehoboth.

I expect a Christian school to be a safe place, but is it an overly protective environment? What about the real world?

In the Primary setting, a place of protection is exactly what the parents I interview want for their children. The sad news is that, while we believe that Rehoboth does offer a high level of protection for children, we are a school that enrols sinners and employs sinners.

The difference at Rehoboth is that we are delivered sinners. We have Christ to redeem us and the Bible and the Holy Spirit to guide and transform us.
While our children are young, we do seek to protect them from worldly influences. We want our students to be challenged in their thinking at age-appropriate times rather than bombarded with images and ideals that are not in tune with the Bible when they are too young to understand. We believe that students need to be confronted with the cultural context they will one day be immersed in, but not until they are ready.

One way to look at it is that we are in the business of preparation, rather than protection. We hope to show students a Biblical framework to help them navigate difficult situations, rather than re-actively choosing an idea because it is popular. It is a huge task and part of the reason we endeavour to partner with parents.

Two passages of scriptures come to mind when contemplating this question:

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” – Proverbs 22:6

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I set aside childish ways. Now we see but a dim reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known…” – 1 Corinthians 13:11-12

  • Do you have any questions?

    We believe Christian education should be as affordable as possible, because we are a community of Christian families working together to provide a unique educational program for our children.