Vision, Mission and Beliefs of Reformed Education
Effective reformed schooling occurs where key participants and key processes of the reformed schooling process interact and come together under the blessing of Almighty God.
Reformed Education is when parents and members of reformed churches establish reformed schools and engage reformed teachers to provide instruction for the children of reformed churches.
At the reformed school key participants engage a variety of processes to bring about learning and growth, under the blessing of Almighty God.
In reformed schools we identify the key participants as being:
- Teachers / Education Assistants
- Parents / Carers
- School Community
The key processes of reformed schooling we identify as being:
- Reformed School Culture
- Reformed Teaching and Learning
- Reformed Curriculum
Reformed schooling is built on the foundation of the Word of God, the doctrine of which is summarised in the Three Forms of Unity. The Word of God in its entirety is seen as being authoritative in terms of the activity of the reformed school. Key points of doctrine and belief are summarised below:
God reveals Himself more fully in His word as contained in the Holy Bible. Believers accept the authority of Scripture and also its sufficiency.
Biblical References: 2 Timothy 3: 16, 17 ◆ 2 Peter 1: 20, 21
God created the world and everything in it. He reveals Himself in the creation. He created people, male and female, with differing strengths and abilities. He gave the mandate to explore and develop His creation to His honour and His glory. He calls for the best use of talents and gifts in relation to the mandate He has given.
Biblical References: Genesis 1: 28
The Image of God
Adam and Eve were created in the image of God. This means that they were endowed with a true understanding of His works, and a propensity to serve Him in obedience, in true righteousness, and holiness. This image was shattered when man fell into sin; only remnants remained, sufficient for life on earth to continue and also to render man inexcusable. God continues to hold people to account based on how He originally created them. Scripture urges respect for life and people, on the basis of the fact they were created in the image of God. In Christ, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, believers are being restored in the image of God. Reformed Education is focused on supporting that process of renewal by providing a scriptural understanding of God and His works, as revealed in His Word, and continual inducement to serve Him in obedience.
Biblical References: ◆ Genesis 1: 26, 27 ◆ Genesis 5: 1 – 3 ◆ Genesis 9: 6 ◆ Ephesians 4: 23, 24 ◆ Colossians 3: 9, 10 ◆ James 3: 9, 10
The Cultural Mandate
God created the world; He also created mankind and gave him the task to work in the world that He made, to fill it, to learn about it, to develop it, to use the resources within it, to His glory.
Biblical References: Genesis 1 ◆ Genesis 4:2 ◆ Genesis 5: 20 – 22 ◆ 1 Corinthians 10: 31
The Fall into Sin
The fall into sin impacted on the condition of people in such a way that they have become incapable, of themselves, to do any good and are inclined to all evil.
Biblical References: Genesis 3:6 ◆ Genesis 6:5 ◆ Jeremiah 2: 11 – 13 ◆ Romans 3: 9 - 18
Salvation / Regeneration
God established the way to salvation by establishing enmity between those who follow God in faithful obedience and those who follow Satan and by providing a Saviour, his own son, Jesus Christ. God’s people are called to live their lives, as prophets, priests and kings, in thankful obedience to His law of love. Through the Holy Spirit of God, God’s people are enabled to put off the old nature and put on the new nature and so be renewed in the image of God.
Biblical References: Genesis 3: 15 ◆ Isaiah 11: 1 – 5 ◆ Romans 8: 9 – 17 ◆ Colossians 3: 1 - 17
To establish His work of salvation and regeneration the LORD established a special covenant with believers and their children. In the covenant the LORD nurtures, teaches, and disciplines His children for their good and for the realisation of His purpose. He calls them to fight their sworn enemies and so to live in faithful obedience in accordance with His law and He calls them to show the works (fruit) of the Spirit.
Biblical References: Genesis 17: 7 ◆ Acts 2: 39 ◆ Exodus 20: 1 – 17 ◆ Galatians 5: 22 & 23
God's law reflects God himself; all the commandments reflect His character, outside of which there is no life. God gave and gives His law to show people their sin and point them to Jesus Christ who, not only saves them from their sin, but also sets them free from the devil's vice grip, enabling people to serve him again. It gives direction to how to live lives in thankfulness to God for the great salvation that He has wrought and to be restored in His image.
Biblical References: Exodus 20: 1 - 17 ◆ Deuteronomy 5 : 6 - 21 ◆ Psalm 19: 7,8◆ Psalm 119◆ Matthew 22: 34 - 40 ◆ Galatians 5: 19 - 24 ◆ Ephesians 4: 25 - 32; 5: 1 - 5 23
The church is God’s covenant community. In the church we identify and see God’s work of gathering, defending and preserving for Himself, a church, chosen to everlasting life. In the church believers (and their children) may richly experience the communion of saints. The church has office bearers charged to extend care as shepherds of the flock.
Biblical References: 1 Corinthians 12: 12 – 31 ◆ Ephesians 4: 11 – 16 ◆ Acts 20: 17, 28 – 31
The Kingdom of Heaven
In Christ, God is establishing his kingdom. The kingdom of heaven is about being ruled by God’s Word and Spirit, the preservation of God’s church, about the destruction and defeat of the devil, every power that raises itself against God and every conspiracy against God’s holy Word.
Biblical References: Daniel 2: 44 ◆ Matthew 3: 2 ◆ Matthew 4: 17 ◆ Revelation 21: 1 - 8
Prayer is the act of conversation with God. It is based on the belief and understanding that our activity depends in its entirety on God, His active involvement, His care, His guidance, His direction, and His blessing. It is an act of thankfulness for God's excellent gifts and an opportunity to express such thankfulness in the form of praise as well as to place before the Lord the many needs that exist as organisation and as individuals functioning within that organisation.
Biblical References: Psalm 116: 12 – 14 ◆ Matthew 6: 5 – 14 ◆ Matthew 7: 7 – 11 ◆ 1 Thessalonians 5: 16 – 18 ◆ James 1: 17
God has ordained government. Believers are called to honour those in authority and to be obedient to their ordinances unless they contradict God’s express command.
Biblical References: Romans 13: 1 - 5
…what the reformed school wants to be, and more and more become
The reformed school is a godly place for covenant children, to be educated for a life of love and service to God and their neighbour.
… what the reformed school does and for whom
The reformed school
- extends high nurture to the children of the covenant
- As God nurtures in the covenant, so the school is an institution where high nurture is first and foremost as a platform from which to launch its teaching.
- provides expert teaching to children of the covenant
- God extends teaching to His people and He calls parents and other adults to engage with His covenant children to teach them in the best manner possible.
- calls for faithful response from children of the covenant
- The covenant is about promise and obligation. Promises are fulfilled in nurture, teaching and discipline; obligation embodies a call to love and to serve God and the neighbour.
Activity at the reformed school is based on fundamental beliefs relating to participants and processes.
Participants in the reformed school:
- Is a child of God
- a. Originally created in the image of God
b. Conceived and born in sin
c. In the covenant subject of the promises of God to be restored in his image
- Is precious in the eyes of the LORD
- Is called to live his / her whole life in thankfulness to God and to engage in the spiritual battle against “the devil, the world and their own flesh”
- Is called to maintain positive interpersonal relationships with other students in the school
- Has received talents from the LORD for an eternal purpose
- Is called to use and develop those talents optimally, in a God honouring manner
- Is subject to God, his Word and the authority of his / her parents, and staff of the school.
Teachers and Education Assistants
Every teacher and education assistant
- Is a child of God, in the same way as students are
- Is a living member of (one of) the church(es) associated with the reformed school
- Recognises and respects that their students are precious in the eyes of the LORD
- Has a shared responsibility (as a member of a team) for the learning of all students in the school
- Is called to strive for excellence in his / her teaching, engaging in practice that will support the optimal learning of the student
- Is called to reflect the joy of faith that lives in them and exhibit in all their conduct, the fruit of the Spirit
- Is called to set high personal and professional standards for him / herself and will require that students meet the highest possible standard that they are capable of
- Is called to establish a positive relationship with students, parents and colleagues as a basis for promoting student learning and a positive school culture
- Is called to exercise authority, mindful of own dependence on grace, and mindful of the boundaries placed on the exercise of authority by Scripture
- Is called to engage in personal and professional activity leading to growth as a teacher, firmly grounded in the Word of God.
Parents of students at the school:
- Are responsible to God for the nurture and growth of their children in accordance with the baptism vows
- Are equally children of the LORD called to thankful obedience, subject to God and the authority of his Word
- Have the responsibility to engage with the school, to be aware of its activity
- Are called to be invested in the reformed school and in the education their child receives
- Have the task to support the staff generally and the teachers of their children specifically, speaking positively about them and holding them in the highest esteem and supporting them in their authority, as per the fifth commandment
- Have the task to communicate with the school and the teachers of their children in relation to their children’s schooling
- Are called to remember the school in their prayers before the LORD
- Are responsible for establishing a godly home culture in accordance with the teachings of Scripture.
Members of the school community
- Are called to support the reformed school, by way of prayer, by way of showing interest and involvement and by means of offering financial gifts.
The church as institution
- Is supported by the school in its ministry
- Is, in accordance with Article 53 of the Church Order, called to support the activity of the school towards common goals
- Has a responsibility to cooperate with the school in areas of common interest.
- The reformed school is active in upholding government legislation relating to the school and schooling in Australia
- The reformed school is conscious of its students finding their place in society and works to prepare them for that
- The reformed school respectfully and cautiously interacts with those elements of society that are meaningful in relation to its educational charter
- The reformed school filters or rejects those influences that arise out of society with a view to teaching discernment and understanding, within the context of the battle between Christ and His followers and the devil and those who follow him. (Genesis 3: 15; Ephesians 6: 10 – 12).
Processes of Schooling
The culture of the reformed school is marked by:
- A shared covenantal relationship where staff and students see each other as objects of God’s love and grace in Christ
- A spiritually, physically and emotionally safe environment for students to function within
- Positive and encouraging approaches, aimed at nurture towards a God centered goal
- Heartfelt godliness in conduct, relationships and response to teaching and learning requirements
- Discipline that is aimed at the heart and focused on repentance and correction.
The reformed school is mindful of developing a curriculum that:
- Encompasses God’s Word and God’s work
- Is developed, reviewed and delivered in a systematic way in accordance with recognised learning area divisions
- Incorporates a focus on the sovereignty of God and the authority of Scriptures in all areas of learning
- Adheres to and maintains the standards as set by recognised authorities
- Incorporates skills that promote the growth of students as learners
- Draws on resources, which are
- Engaging and supportive of learning, designed to interest students and stimulate their curiosity for deeper understanding
- As much as possible, reflective of scriptural positions and values and used to promote scriptural understandings and perspectives (where resources used do not positively reflect scriptural positions and understanding, teachers will need to make appropriate adjustments to the delivery of such content).
Teaching / Learning
The reformed school is mindful that its teaching and learning programs and practices must:
- Accord with the wider principles of the kingdom of God, as it is expressed in Christian classrooms
- Be delivered in accordance with year level syllabi and agreed lesson plan structures
- Be so delivered that all students are able to reasonably engage with and learn the content and make progress in learning
- Be mindful of differences between students and differentiate for students with varying abilities and dispositions
- Engage multiple approaches with an emphasis on sound communication and creative methods of delivery and production
- Be delivered with a view to stimulating interest and engagement with the topic and a desire to achieve high levels of mastery
- Enable students to achieve success in learning with a view to growing in knowledge, understanding and skills and developing a deeper appreciation of God’s sovereignty and the place of learning in life
- Give expression to sovereignty of God and the authority of Scriptures in all areas of learning.
The reformed school is mindful of the need for assessment practices to:
- Be conducted fairly and equitably and in accordance with the agreed arrangements surrounding assessment
- Incorporate processes surrounding self-evaluation and self-assessment
- Provide appropriate and helpful feedback to students and their parents in relation to their learning
- Assist teachers in gaining specific knowledge about the students and the classes, with a view to better targeting their teaching programmes to the needs of each student
- Be used to come to a summative grade of the student’s performance against a standard.