Our school’s mission is to glorify our covenant God by assisting parents in:
If we are going to be intentional about shaping heads, hearts, and hands for Christ, then we need to be designing formational learning experiences for that purpose. Nicholas Wolterstorff challenged Christian schools, saying: “It is nothing but a pious wish and a grossly unwarranted hope that students trained to be passive and non-creative in school will suddenly, upon graduation, actively contribute to the formation of Christian culture.”
One way that we are trying to tackle the challenge of our mission statement is by designing Bridge Days – a full day for each course that is designed to engage our students in real and meaningful work, and to shape head, hearts, and hands. We would like our students to be engaging with real people and real needs. We want to bridge the chasm that sometimes exists between our classroom and the world outside our school walls.
This is a new initiative for the teachers at Providence, and we have been learning lots through the first two Bridge Days. It’s a significant organizational challenge. It’s also a challenge to come up with authentic bridging experiences that connect our curriculum with real work. We’re “yetting”… we’re not yet there. But it is our hope that these Bridge Days become an important part of the learning and practicing at Providence, and that through these Bridge Days, we nurture in our students a great desire to be a peculiar person and empower them for life-long service in the Kingdom of God as ambassadors of Christ in this world.
Below are some blurbs from teachers about the Bridge Days we've had so far. Enjoy. MVD
English 11 University – Mr. de Visser: As part of our Short Story unit, the goal of this bridge day was to develop our ability to use descriptive writing – “show, don’t tell.” Students took a bus to Covent Garden Market in London for the morning. The goal was to soak up as many sights, sounds, smells, flavours, and other sensations as possible. It was nice to enjoy coffee, eat cheesy bureks, and look at all the interesting people. We returned to Providence for lunch and spent the afternoon writing short stories based on our morning experiences. Students are currently using these skills as they write their short stories.
Business/Computers – Mrs. Pieterman: Last Friday, our Computers class boarded the bus and headed downtown London. Our destination: Start.ca. Our mission: find out how the Internet works, and how it gets into our homes. Start.ca is a local Internet Service Provider (ISP). They actually host part of the Internet right in their building downtown! At Start.ca we learned that the Internet was originally invented as a defense strategy. During the 1960’s during the Cuban missile crisis, the US Department of Defense needed a way to communicate with their nuclear missiles that did not involve a vulnerable physical connection. Scientists from four universities developed the first network – and the first thing that was sent on the network was a cat video! We got to see and handle both copper cable and fibre optic. Most Internet infrastructure is being transitioned to fibre optic because it is much faster and more reliable. One strand of fibre optic cable is much thinner than a human hair and can transport unlimited amounts of data. We toured their offices and learned about the various departments that are involved in their company and the services they provide. We also noticed that the Start.ca offices are very ergonomic! After lunch, we spent some time discussing Microsoft Office and the different applications that it involves. Many of them are used at Start.ca in order to keep their company running smoothly, and it’s important for our students to have a basic knowledge of them as well. It was an informative day of learning and information! I think we all learned something new, and the students appreciated being out of the classroom and learning how an ISP works.
Family Studies 12U – Mr. Pennings: Since this was the first ever Bridge Day at PRC the students and I were understandably nervous as we headed out the door into London to conduct survey field work. The students had worked hard at preparing their surveys by following the fundamentals of conducting survey work in the Social Sciences. Their surveys have a silent research question which they will be able to prove or disprove when they present their results to the class. So, off we went into London to have the surveys filled in. Some groups went to Western campus, other groups went to North London at Masonville mall, and other groups went to Victoria Park in downtown London. All the groups were done gathering results earlier in the afternoon, when we started to head back to school.
Generally, this Bridge Day was a valuable learning experience. The exercise of formulating a survey was challenging for the students, but it really forced them to think creatively about how to analysis the perspectives of individuals within our society. It was also valuable because it forced the class to actually interact with others who have different values, views, and positions on many different topics. Lastly, it was a very effective way to gather real data from the community so that the students can begin to write up their results from the surveys into a report which will be presented to the class.
Leadership 12M – Mr. Pennings: This course promotes recreational leadership within all segments of society. For the Bridge Day we went to Standing Stone Elementary School in Oneida Nation of the Thames. The students in the Leadership class had prepared a simple lesson plan to be able to lead gym classes for the elementary students. The class was broken into groups and assigned a grade level to help them prepare their lesson plans. Some groups taught basketball to the older Indigenous students, while others led simple little children's games for the younger students. The most popular game was a number of variations of dodge balls games which all students love to play.
This Bridge Day helped our students to make a connection with others outside of our community. That in and of itself was a very valuable experience. It was a good learning experience for both our students and the students at Standing Stone to break down some of the superficial barriers between Indigenous and non-Indigenous groups. The medium of play/recreational activities is a good way to begin to build connections/relationships with others.
English 11C – Miss Schilthuis: We are studying the novel The Cellist of Sarajevo, which is set in war-time Bosnia, so our class met with four Bosnian immigrants at the London Bosnian-Canadian Islamic Centre. The students prepared interview questions on various topics, looking to gain first-hand information on the setting and plot. Before the interviews, we discussed having empathy towards different cultures and life experiences, and we practiced interview skills such as rephrasing and clarifying questions, the use of effective non-verbal communication, etc. The students worked in partners for the interviews and were able to hear first-hand from people who lived through the war, who had family living in Sarajevo during the siege, who served in the military, and who had experienced great loss and growth as a result of this experience. The students were also able to learn more about Bosnia and Sarajevo today, as some of the interviewees travel back and/or still have family in Bosnia. The interviews added so much depth to our book study and made the historical setting of the novel come alive for us. It created gratitude for peace, a deeper understanding of our novel, and a sense of empathy toward people who have experienced hardships. We are grateful for this experience; the students are in the process of creating summary report posters to display some of what they learned.
Bible 9 – Mr. MacKenzie: Bible 9 participated as a class in creating two poster illustrations of the Psalms, one made by the students for Trillium Village retirement home in Strathroy, ON, and one made with the Trillium residents for PRC. As part of our unit on the Poetic books of the Old Testament, Bible 9 spent our Bridge Day delving into the Psalms. We started with sharing our own prepared reflections on our favourite Psalms with each other in a variety of different ways. Students discussed the poetic nature of the Psalms, their various uses--i,.e. history, doctrine, supplication, teaching and admonishing, and corporate singing. We spent the rest of the morning still at school, progressing through a drafting process toward creating a poster of Bible 9's favourite Psalms with contributions from each student. In the afternoon, we visited Trillium Village and discussed with the seniors their own favourite Psalms and what they have meant in their lives. Between discussing, reading, and singing the Psalms as a class and with the seniors, students grew in familiarity with and appreciation for this unique portion of God's Word.
Chemistry 12U – Ms. Xu: Our chemistry 12 students went to visit London Wastewater Treatment Plant on our second Bridge Day. We toured the whole plant station by station and were shown the details how each station works. We learned how important it is to the community. Students came back with deep understanding of chemical processes and uses of chemicals. Extensive research was done for the societal and environmental impact by the plant.