Principal’s Message March 1, 2017

The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out.—Proverbs 18:15

Every school in the world professes itself to be learning-focused.

While NIS is a learning-focused school as well, what’s more important is that we are constantly reflecting on how we can continuously improve learning and offer the best education to our students and families.

Over the next few weeks in the school newsletter and also in a display in the hall, we will share with our community how NIS views learning and our shared vision of the kinds of students we want to develop. We want to begin with the end in mind when planning learning experiences and instilling character development in our students.

The International Primary Curriculum establishes a strong culture of learning in the school and we will explain the 9 criteria we follow to embed great learning at NIS.


Principal’s Message January 11, 2017

For I know the plans I have for you, “declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” —Jeremiah 29:11

The new year is always a time for a fresh start. We hear people talking about setting new years resolutions but after a few months, it may not always be easy (or possible) to stick to the plan even if their heart tells them it’s the best thing they can do for themselves this year. For children, writing resolutions teaches children to be reflective, how to set achievable goals, decide what steps they will take to reach those goals, and stick to what they say they will do. It is a wonderful way to start out the year with their family when they sit together and think about what they would like to change or do better in the new year. But again, it is likely even harder for children to keep up with their resolutions. However, there are steps that parents can take to encourage and support their child as they reflect and set goals for themselves.

Parents Magazine suggests eight ways to help children make new years resolutions. The following is a summary of their original article in their online site:

1. Be Resolution Role Models—Parents can share their own resolutions with their children so they can see how their parents would approach the task. Some of the children’s resolutions can actually be modelled by the parents themselves. Dr. Carter says, “If what you want is for your kids to be out the door earlier, you need to work on yourself. I saw that when I was consistently ready at the time I wanted to leave; it was possible to ask my kids to make changes. Let’s not ask them to do more than we are willing to do.”

2. Keep a Positive Approach to Resolutions—When you sit down with your chil-dren, begin by going over the positive things that they accomplished in the past year rather than pointing out their shortcomings. Have children brain-storm things that they are able to do now that they were not able to do last year. Help them to reflect what they did to make that possible. Afterwards, ask them what they want to improve for this coming year.

3. Suggest-Don’t Dictate Resolutions—Children need to feel responsibility and ownership for their choices. Listen to what your children tell you and help them to make sure it is age appropriate and achievable. You may come up with cate-gories for them such as—personal goals (NIS has eight—enquiry, morality, resilience, communication, adaptability, respect, thoughtfulness, cooperation), friendship goals, helping goals and school goals.

3. Narrow Down the Resolution List—Two to three goals are reasonable. Break each of the goals into smaller steps to plan how it can be achieved. These resolutions need to be concrete, specific and manageable. “I will behave better” is too general. Help students to focus on which particular behavior they can work on. For younger children, they can draw a picture to express themselves.

4. Take Turtle Steps Toward Big Resolutions—Dr. Carter says that turning good intentions into habits is an important skill to teach children. She suggests parents break down each resolution into small and slow steps to help children achieve their goal. Make it easy to do over a period of time. It can be weeks or even months. Check in with children weekly or periodically to acknowledge how they are doing and do not bribe them into doing the resolution.

5. Follow Up but Don’t Nag About Resolutions—Avoid nagging children when they experience a lapse; rather affirm how hard it is and ask them to reflect what is making it difficult for them to achieve their goal. If the plan in achieving the goal is not working, parents can always adjust with the children.

6. Make Family Resolutions Together—This brings families closer. Suggest to children that they set two personal goals and one or two family goals. This can be as simple as “visit grandma more often” or “plan a trip”.

7. Make Resolutions a Ritual—Make sure there are no distractions when you gather to talk about how the resolutions are going and pay attention to each other. Set a tradition of praying together first or having hot chocolate together every time you talk about it. Appealing to the senses and helping create a warm environment is important.


Principal’s Message December 15, 2016

Principal’s Message

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” – Luke 2:10-11

Christmas is such a special time of the year. It is a time to get away from the busyness of everyday life, to slow down, and be with family and loved ones. It is also a time to reflect on why we have Christmas at all—it is to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus. Every year NIS will put on a concert to remind everyone of this very special birth and this year the message is simple—the concert’s name is Super Star because it focuses on the “chosen star” to guide the shepherds and wisemen to the stable, but we all know who the real Super Star is…Jesus. We hope you enjoyed your child’s performance that night.

This is a special edition of the Principal’s Newsletter to celebrate Christmas. You will find photos from the Christmas Concert and videos of the last day of school’s festivities. From all of us at NIS and Generations, have a blessed Christmas and a happy new year!


Principal’s Message Vol.78 – Dec 2016

Dear Island Christian Academy,

Thank you very much for your support over the last term, and this year of 2016. So much has happened over this last year, and the school has grown a lot in this time, in more ways than one.

Thank you very much for supporting the students and staff in the fabulously successful whole school production of The Magical Christmas Jigsaw last week. We have received a huge amount of positive feedback about it —thank you, we are all so pleased and relieved that it was so successful. It is no easy task putting on a show that includes the whole school — all 360 students — not just the show, but all the logistics around it as well. All the staff were involved in some way; my thanks again to all the staff for going the extra mile—or two—or three! The DVD will be available in the new year, and some photos have been included further on in this newsletter.

IslandCA has started a tradition of presenting a major production every two years. The last time we did one was Christmas of 2014. We look forward to the next major production in the school year of 2018/19. We had positive feedback about this venue, so we will look at booking the same venue well in advance and we think that, although the auditorium has a capacity of about 640, we will need to present the next production twice, because this time around the auditorium was full, and there were more people who wanted to buy tickets than were available.

Thank you very much to all the parents and grandparents who supported our young carollers on Sunday in singing on Hollywood Road. Grana Fitting Room appreciated it so much they have given the IslandCA community a code to receive 10% discount until the 31st December; GranaxICS is the code.
Many students in the school went out carolling in the local parks over the last week during the lunch times. The public showed enjoyment in hearing them sing. Thank you very much to our music teachers for giving up so much of their time to make this happen. Please see photos of carollers further on in the news letter.

We farewell two families today who came through Small World to IslandCA when the school first started in 2012; the Holmes and Kanaley families. Oliver (Senior A) and his younger sister Ava (3A) are returning to England, their home country, to live. Our especial thanks to Sam (their Mum) who has been the most vocal and active supporter of IslandCA since its inception. You will be soooo missed! Scarlett (Senior B) will be returning to Australia, her home country, to live. Thank you to you all for being such an established part of our school community we will miss you all. We wish you all Godspeed and blessings on your move and
settling in to a new phase of life.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Have a wonderful celebration and holiday; keep safe and healthy!

Debbie Middleton,


Principal’s Message Vol.77 – Dec 2016

Dear IslandCA Community, 你好!

Christmas Production – The Magical Christmas Jigsaw!
It is the countdown to the big night! Most families have their tickets; most children have their costumes, words and actions. Staff are all trusting it will be ‘right on the night’! We look forward to seeing you at Youth Square on Tuesday night. If you are unable to get a ticket for Tuesday night, or if you have young children, it is possible to come to the final dress rehearsal. See details further on in the newsletter.

ICEC Asia Conference
It is commonly known in our community that IslandCA is a member of the Council of International Schools and an IPC accredited school. What is not commonly known is that IslandCA is a member of ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International). It was a great experience for our teachers and leaders to attend the four day ACSI International Christian Educator Conference last week from Wednesday to Saturday.
The education conferences available to leaders and teachers in the past have not been specifically Christian schools conferences, so we have come back feeling inspired and affirmed! We networked with educators in similar positions in other Christian schools, attended a range of workshops, and listened to high calibre keynote speakers.
The theme was ‘Teaching with Wisdom’ based on the verse in Colossians 1-28.
The conference ended with an uplifting keynote from Stuart Stemple – a permanent resident of Hong Kong, now living and working in Thailand. He credits his school years at an international Christian school for preparing him to make an impact on the world at the the highest levels. Four areas he mentioned for which he felt particularly well prepared were:
(1) Self awareness, (2) Awareness of others, (3) Learning agility (transferring experiences to guide him now), (4) Love for God and for His world.

God bless you,
Debbie Middleton


Principal’s Message November 30, 2016

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.—Philippians 4:6

Thanksgiving is a special time for families and friends to gather together to appreciate and reflect on all the wonderful things they have been blessed with. Although Hong Kong does not set a specific day for this like other countries, being thankful and reflective is something that we can do any day during the year.

I remember a while back, I saw some of my friends were challenged on Facebook to share something they were thankful for each day over a period of days. There were also other challenges where it was more specific like being thankful for their spouse. I enjoyed reading these because the things they were thankful for on a daily basis were not big things that happened that day, but in the little things that happened. It really makes one think to not take things for granted. A simple opportunity to enjoy a brief lunch with friends during a busy day is a blessing. Having your child give you a hug when you come home after a long and tiring day at work is a blessing. I am thankful for my parents and in-laws who are currently visiting. We may have less privacy, but when they came home late last night, it made me realise how much I enjoyed having them here. Their love and support shows through every time we get off work. We have good conversations about the day, there is laughter and then we eat dinner and watch television together.

I read in a book that one family had a tradition of having everyone write something they were thankful for during Thanksgiving and would string up the card at home. Over the years, the string would get longer and longer. The children could read it as they got older and it became part of their family’s story. Help children to be reflective and have a thankful heart.

But what happens when there are things that plague us and tug at our heart strings? Being thankful seems like the last thing we want to do. This is the reality for children as well. The Bible tells us that giving thanks when undergoing suffering is very difficult, but it is meant to strengthen our faith—”For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” – 2 Corinthians 17-18. God knows all that is happening. He is purposeful and not a random God.

Helping children to acknowledge those negative feelings and issues are important because they will always encounter ups and downs in life. Help them work through their feelings so that regardless of the outcome of the situation, the children become more thoughtful in difficult situations and can handle it better.

I encourage families to take up the ‘Thankfulness Challenge’ and do it for one week. Ten minutes of family time each day for one week to go around telling each other what they are thankful for and why. It is a wonderful way to start your evening together or right before bed, and then pray and praise God for those things.