There are elements and approaches which can be used to build and embed a Christian distinctive throughout a school. CSA believes that there are six elements that should be central. These elements are not static, rather they can be applied and adapted to ensure a Christian Distinctive is established and embedded in schools.

Culture

Culture is essentially “the way we do things around here”. In a Christian School, this is about Kingdom Education – having Christ at the centre, holding all we do together and giving it purpose and reason. Culture is captured in our stories, our interactions, processes, mission and values. Clearly articulated, culture is an understanding of what Christian Education is about. The basic pattern of shared assumptions, values, beliefs and practices that govern the behaviours exhibited and approaches taken in a Christian School.

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Community

Based on the principles of Ecclesia (the body of the faithful) and Koinonia (fellowship), Christian schools recognise the place of calling, journeying and participation, as aspects of doing community together. Schools are able to work together as a body of believers in the pursuit of biblical truth, grace & shalom. Christian schools are not institutions they are communities. People doing life together. People who share the same faith and beliefs. People who submit all things under the lordship of Christ and follow His precepts and teachings.

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Biblical Literacy

To be able to live as Christians we need to know His Word. We need to be shaped and formed and transformed by His teaching. This starts first and foremost by knowing the Bible, the grand narrative, and by being developed and trained in His ways. Biblical literacy is about the ability and motivation of staff and students to read the Bible with sufficient understanding, so that they can discern it’s basic meaning and apply these spiritual truths to their lives (wisdom).

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Pedagogy

Pedagogy is the comprehension of how faith forms the actual process of teaching. Moving beyond perspectives on the teaching matter and thinking about the teaching itself as Christians. Teachers are not just presenting information, they are living out their faith: in the way they see the students as made in the image of God; in recognising the calling or vocation they have; in their desire to nurture and grow the talents and gifts of each child; and, in preparing these young people for their unique calling.

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Leadership

Leaders understand the calling and the commitment they are making to Christian education. Leaders can inspire others, develop people, plan and execute strategy and encourage both the heart and spirit of those they lead. CSA leaders are servant leaders. Leadership in a Christian school is not about prestige or positional authority. It is about seeing those around them thrive. It is about stewarding resources to see the mission fulfilled. It is about training up the next generation to take their place.

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Curriculum

Curriculum is about ensuring that what is in our lessons is shaped from an understanding that this is all part of God’s bigger narrative. We are revealing God in the story and showing how He shapes and guides the world we live in. It is the ability to identify the basic beliefs that impact the way curriculum matter is viewed from a biblical worldview. Curriculum from this perspective is an action - an ability to apply a biblical worldview approach to teaching and learning and to identify and exemplify the biblical themes and principles which underpin academic subjects.

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Sitting just outside our six elements is Service and Outreach. This service-learning approach is part of our partnership with ACSI Australia and embodies the desired community impact of Christian Schools.

Service and Outreach

CSA and ACSI Australia have taken a philosophical approach to service learning which affirms that all people are created for shalom—a sense of wholeness, delight in and flourishing of relationships that have been fully reconciled —with God, with our self, with others, and with creation. As Christ’s ambassadors and God’s fellow workers, we believe that Christ’s mission is our mission, and as such, followers of Jesus are called to participate in God’s redemptive plan of healing, renewing and restoring all things. Service that responds to our restored relationships with others enables our students to deeply know and be known by those they engage with, who often have remarkably different experiences from their own.

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