Year 4 is a vital time for the development of students’ work and study habits, ability to exercise self-control, and social skills. Invariably the children we see coming to us are very different people at the end of Year 4. It is with pleasure that we observe these changes and experience some of the potential that is gifted by God to all children.
In Christian Studies in Semester 1, the students will examine the relationships in their lives using a circle concept. God being at the centre, family and those closest to them in the next layer and then discovering where friends, teachers and others sit within their circle. They will also explore why it is so important that God is at the centre of all their relationships. This is done through the idea that we love because He first loved us. Students will then explore how to maintain healthy relationships through good communication, putting others first, resolving conflict well and accepting others’ differences. Students will also explore the purpose of the book of Acts and how the church began and that it is a gathering of people and not a building. They will discover what it means for them to be transformed into His image and how God used different people in the time of the early church to be witnesses and perform miracles. Students will gain an understanding of the purpose of the church today and what it means for them to be committed and involved in their local church and how this can benefit others.
Students are also challenged in History to consider what the impact of discovery had on the different people groups involved in Australian history. The inquiry focus of this unit revolves around establishing a way of helping the students understand their place in the world. Our History unit is all about their sense of understanding place in the past. First Nation people’s sense of place derives from culture – land, kinship, language, law and ceremony. Europeans on the other hand sense place through the idea of progress which is evidenced in their history of colonisation. The students get to understand that the conflict that can be seen between these two people groups throughout our early history comes from the breakdown of culture for the First Nation people due to colonisation or the perceived obstruction of progress for the Europeans.
All people past and present are valuable in God’s eyes. People inherently have a desire to understand their world and to make sense of where they came from. First Nation Australians had explored these big questions before the arrival of Europeans and developed a belief system to explain their place in time and country. European colonisation brought a different understanding of where we came from and why we are here. Understanding these viewpoints will better equip the students to share the gospel in ways that honour First Nation Australians and extend God’s love to them with respect.
For most of us, the profound memories we take from school are the social experiences, typically identified with excursions and incursions. A highlight of Semester 1 is the First Nations Australian Cultural Day incursion. The students gain valuable knowledge from this incursion as they learn the significance and purpose of some First Nation cultural activities. These activities are largely interactive so the students leave this experience with memories that will last them a lifetime.
One of the great rewards of teaching is seeing the students develop in so many ways and Semester 1 is a time of profound growth and character development in many of the students.