One of my favourite things about my friends having babies and small children is watching, in amazement, as they grow and develop at a rapid pace. The changes that take place in these small children, and in such a short space of time, really blows me away. If I see a friend from a different city every three or four months it generally feels like life has carried on as usual for this person and they are still the same person I saw four months ago. The toddlers in my life are a completely different story – four months may be difference between sitting still all the time to walking, or saying the odd word to talking in full sentences and having conversations. I love to see this growth!
It is one of the real privileges of starting a brand new school too. Just like a small baby coming into the world, our school is also in a time of real growth and development.
In our western society it is easy to look at growth in relation to numbers – the higher the numbers the bigger and better we are. I wonder though if the verse “Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.” relates to organisations as well as to people? The outward appearance may be the numbers attending our school or the academic results that are produced, both of which we are seeing and want to continue seeing, but what I have been loving is the growth in the heart of the school. This heart is so important! I wonder if the verse “Guard your heart for it is the well-spring of your life” can be applied to an organisation too? I am going to propose that as a school we are a community of learners, and as a community is all about people, and these verses are about people, we can, therefore, apply them to our organisation.
Over the next few years we, as foundational members of the RCS community, have the great privilege and responsibility of developing and growing the heart of the school.
As a Christian school we desire to have God at the very centre of what we do as a school. It is quite beautiful at the moment seeing the students really growing in their understanding of who God is, and in their confidence to explore God’s ways and apply these to their own lives.
Developing vision and values for the school is at the very heart too. I love watching as a child will run diligently after a piece of Gladwrap that is flying across the playground. They will then come back and mention something about being kaitiaki, then carefully secure the piece of rubbish so it doesn’t fly away again. The children are also developing a sense of whanaungatanga in the ways they invite others to sit with them and look out for each other on the playground. Everywhere in our school life we are seeing these values grow and flourish.
The culture of our school will also be a real reflection of its heart. I see our culture growing week by week at the moment. I was particularly impressed on our forest planting day to see the culture in action. The way the students worked together so well, the perseverance they demonstrated in the cold, the encouragement they gave one another and the excitement for learning in action they showed; all of these are a reflection of the culture that we are developing.
We are still very much at the very beginning of our journey though and we still have so much growth to see. We have values and statements that are in their baby stages, and as a community we need to explore the values and culture that we want to see flourish. Over the remainder of the year we will deepen this exploration, so please pray and reflect, and be part of the discussion. What do we want to see grow at the ‘heart’ of our school? Because out of that we will see life.