Heritage Christian Academy

Creating a
Culture of Kindness

by Growing the Fruit of Kindness in the Hearts of Children

Welcome

Thanks for seeking to learn more about Heritage Christian Academy. We created this book to highlight one of our key programs in the development of Christ-centered character among our students—and one of the hallmarks of an HCA education.

We hope that your interaction with this book will give you a look at the difference Heritage Christian Academy can make in the life of your child—and through your child, in the lives of others, to the glory of God. Moreover, we pray that it serves as an encouragement to you in your own efforts to create a culture of kindness as a family.

Join us as we explore together why we are passionate about creating a culture of kindness, what its impact is, how we go about cultivating it, and how you can partner with us in this effort.

—Kathy Sievert, Elementary Principal

HCA_CK_4_Grn Blu

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

CONTENTS

Culture is...
Culture’s Power
Cause
Culmination
Cultivation
Connect

Creating a

Culture of Kindness

by Growing the Fruit of Kindness
in the Hearts of Children

Elementary chapel kids with open hymnal

What is culture, and why does it matter?

It has been well said, “Good seeds grow in good culture,” and, “School culture is the foundation for school improvement.” But what exactly is culture?

In his book, Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling, evangelical author Andy Crouch explains simply and vividly, “Culture is what we make of the world” (p. 23).

At HCA, our aim is to equip students to change their world—their sphere of influence—for Christ. One of the ways we approach that task is by proactively creating a culture that encourages students to redirect their focus from themselves to Christ and others, as we see described in Scripture:

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Col. 3:12).

“Culture is what we make of the world.”

—Andy Crouch, Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling

World in their hands_square

CULTURE’S POWER

Why is culture key to our efforts at HCA?

Culture is a powerful force for shaping collective attitudes and behaviors. A culture centered on Christ, saturated with the Word of God, empowered by the Spirit, and encouraged by a supportive community is the most transformative force imaginable.

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Elementary Friends on Field Trip Bus
High school basketball team helping with elementary basketball camp
Kids petting puppy at recess

“The culture of kindness at HCA has helped my kids realize that even the smallest act of kindness can make a big difference.”

—HCA Parent

CAUSE

Why does HCA put so much effort into creating a culture of kindness?

While many schools are striving to combat bullying, we gratefully lean into the opportunity to promote Christ-centered empathy and compassion. Our aim is not merely to prevent behavioral problems like bullying, but to proactively cultivate the fruit of the Spirit resulting in personal transformation from the inside out. The roots of kindness grow in the soil of recognizing that each and every person is created in the image of God, having intrinsic value and worthy of unconditional love. Kindness grows further out of gratitude for God’s mercy toward them in Christ.

Classroom Smile_Square

“The kids at church talk a lot about bullies at their school, but our school actually focuses on kindness! I’m so glad we get to go to HCA.”

—HCA STUDENT

Buddies on playground
Elementary group posed outdoor
Change for chickens

The Culture of Kindness initiative has two primary goals:

1. Gospel Transformation

As believers and followers of Jesus Christ, we know that genuine, lasting, inward transformation can only be fully brought about through a Christ-centered, Spirit-empowered approach. That is why, at HCA, we are firmly committed to keeping the gospel front and center in everything we say and do, grounded in the Word of God and nourished by supportive community.

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2. Calm, Focused Classrooms

In addition to being Christ-centered, we are committed to maintaining a high standard of excellence in our educational program. Cultivating kindness and consideration for others has a direct impact on our teachers’ ability to teach and our students’ ability to learn inside and outside of the classroom. Visitors to our school will notice that calm, focused classrooms and common spaces like the lunchroom and hallways are a key feature of the educational experience at HCA.

“My heart is warmed as I observe the kindness of our students in action. Whether it’s taking the initiative to help a friend find a book he or she might enjoy, or encouraging a classmate who is learning a new skill on the playground equipment, it is inspiring to see our students showing genuine empathy and kindness to those around them!”

– HCA TEACHER

“As a Christian school, we have the privilege of having not only an emphasis on kindness, as many schools do, but experiencing kindness as a fruit of the Spirit. We learn that God is the author of kindness, and it is only through Him that we can truly have a kind attitude of the heart.”

– HCA TEACHER

Buddies in Classroom_Culture of Kindness

CULMINATION

What is the fruit of the Culture of Kindness initiative at HCA?

The fruit of creating a culture of kindness at HCA is students with a genuine desire to consistently put others first as they go about their lives. We are grateful for the ways the Lord has allowed us to influence our students in the direction of spiritual maturity, especially in bearing the fruit of kindness. What a joy it is to see this fruit emerging during our students’ years at HCA!

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3–4)

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way.”
(1 Cor. 13:4–5)

CULTIVATION

How is kindness cultivated at HCA?

We teach students to abide in Christ as they are nourished by the Word of God, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and encouraged by the Community of Faith.

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Jesus Christ

Our source of
life and transformation

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Word of God

Biblical teaching which
points us to Christ

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Holy Spirit

Illuminates and applies truth
to hearts and minds

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Community of Faith

Encouragement of parents,
teachers and peers

dent side hug encouragement

“The Culture of Kindness initiative at HCA encourages our children to see the good in all their fellow students. It promotes a community who seeks to lift one another up and show love, kindness and respect to their neighbors.”

—HCA TEACHER

Buddies in Classroom_Culture of Kindness

Curriculum

Our classrooms are communities that demonstrate love and grace as we seek to integrate a biblical perspective in all we teach. Additionally, we cultivate Christian thought and character through...

• Weekly chapel services

Walking with God and His People Bible curriculum

• The Training Hearts, Teaching Minds catechism written by Starr Meade

• The Young Peacemakers program

God’s World children’s news magazine sent home monthly

• Christian character posters and Bible verses in every classroom and throughout the building

“I love the way that our teachers encourage our children to be peacemakers with their classmates and have seen the classes become like families because of this culture. The kids genuinely love each other!”

—HCA PARENT

Elementary boy girl chapel hymnal singing

We emphasize the sovereignty of God as creator of all things and the fact that all wisdom and knowledge are grounded in this reality, as stated in Colossians 1:16–18:

“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him... that in everything he might be preeminent.”

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Elementary PE_Gym Class - Mr O
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Christ-Centered Staff

Heritage Christian Academy is blessed with an extraordinary team of gifted teachers, coaches, administrators and support staff. Our teachers teach our students what it means to be a follower and worshiper of Christ through their words and actions as well as the content of their lessons.

It would be impossible to measure the difference made by teachers who are called by God, motivated by a desire to glorify Him, and equipped to serve with excellence. But ask an HCA parent and they will tell you it is tremendous!

HCA Elementary Teacher Heidi Wolf

“Our teachers have created an environment in which many children genuinely desire to be kind to one another.”

– HCA ELEMENTARY PRINCIPAL KATHY SIEVERT

Daniel-Esther Award Recipients 17-18
Traditions
Daniel & Esther Awards for Exemplary Character

Each semester, four students are recognized for exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit to an exceptional degree. They are nominated by their teachers on the basis of nine character traits which are observed throughout the school year.

Criteria

— Reverence for God

— Putting others first

— Treating others with noticeable thoughtfulness and compassion

— Willingly assisting and supporting others without expectation of reward or recognition

— Respect for authority

— Respecting the rights and feelings of others in the classroom and lunchroom and on the playground

— Self-control in observing school rules

— Conscientiousness and diligence in their studies

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Artifacts

We’ve crafted a variety of items—what students of culture might refer to as artifacts—to reinforce the other elements of the Culture of Kindness initiative. These items include our Rock of Refuge, Kindness Wall, trophies for our Daniel and Esther Award recipients, t-shirts, stickers, bracelets, posters and more.

Rock of Refuge - two girls

The Rock of Refuge, inspired by Psalm 71:3, is a place where students can go to pray or to signal to their classmates that they are in need of encouragement.

“Throughout the year, both of our children utilized the Rock of Refuge when they needed a moment to pray and reflect on the playground.”

– HCA PARENT

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“I have noticed my son, a second-grader, is aware of when his classmates and friends are on the Rock of Refuge needing love and support.”

– HCA PARENT

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Rock of Refuge - more kids
Elementary Kindness Wall
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Daniel-Esther Award Trophies

“In the lunchroom the students are excited when we tell them that there will be a new ‘Lunch Bunch’ seating that day. ‘Who will I get to sit by today?’ is their response.”

– HCA TEACHER

Common Management

Our efforts at creating a culture of kindness do not end in the classroom, but extend through the complete educational experience for our students. Whether at lunch or recess, in the gym or hallways, our teachers make a concerted effort to cultivate kindness and consideration among our students.

Elementary Students Diagonal Foyer
Elementary Grandparents Day Mother Daughter
There are many opportunities for you to partner with us in creating a culture of kindness at HCA!

We often say that the discipleship of our students is an intentional partnership between home, church, and school. We have also heard parents ask how they can help reinforce the values and principles their kids are learning at school. The following are some tips for how you might partner with us in nourishing a culture of kindness at home and in your sphere of influence.

CONNECT

— Pray for our teachers, administrators, students and parents to be strengthened in their knowledge and love of Christ.

— Prioritize consistent worship and service in your local church.

— Look for ways as a family to understand and meet the needs of your neighborhood and community at-large.

— When praising kids, focus on character more than achievement (“I’m so proud of you for your hard work!” “I’m so pleased with the progress you’re making!”).

— Post on social media examples of kindness you observe, using the #kindnesscounts tag, to spread the culture beyond the HCA community.

#kindnesscounts
HCA elementary students outside

“The atmosphere at HCA is so different from all the schools I have known. There is a pervasive culture of peacefulness, respect
and kindness.”

– HCA TEACHER

HCA_Culture of Kindness Logo_2_Grn Blu

Thank you for supporting us as we continue creating and nourishing a culture of kindness at Heritage Christian Academy!

Heritage Christian Academy
9333 West 159th Street
Overland Park, Kansas 66221

913-681-7622

#kindnesscounts

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Creating a Culture of Kindness

Christian education should seek to develop disciples of Christ who love the Lord God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30). In our efforts to encourage the growth of young disciples of Christ, we invest a significant amount of energy in creating a Culture of Kindness in our school.

Please read the viewbook above to learn more. (To turn the page, click, swipe, or use the arrow keys on your keyboard.)

Culture of Kindness Simple Logo

Our Goals

The Culture of Kindness initiative focuses on two main goals:

Elementary students singing in chapel

Gospel-centered transformation

As believers and followers of Jesus Christ, we know that genuine, lasting, inward transformation can only be fully brought about through a Christ-centered, Spirit-empowered approach. That is why, at HCA, we are firmly committed to keeping the gospel front and center in everything we say and do, grounded in the Word of God and nourished by supportive community.

Students calmly focused on their work

Creating an optimal learning environment

In addition to being Christ-centered, we are committed to maintaining a high standard of excellence in our educational program. Cultivating kindness and consideration for others has a direct impact on our teachers’ ability to teach and our students’ ability to learn inside and outside of the classroom. Visitors to our school will notice that calm, focused classrooms and common spaces like the lunchroom and hallways are a key feature of the educational experience at HCA.

Our Methods

We teach students to abide in Christ as they are nourished by the Word of God, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and encouraged by the Community of Faith.

Christ

Our source of life and transformation

Word

Biblical instruction and training which points us to Christ

Spirit

Illuminates and applies truth to hearts and minds

Community

Encouragement of parents, teachers, peers

Specifically, we create a Culture of Kindness through weekly chapel services, a biblically-grounded, gospel-centered curriculum, the care and instruction of Christ-centered teachers, common management policies and practices, traditions such as the Daniel & Esther Awards and Kindness Council, and artifacts such as our Rock of Refuge and Kindness Wall.

#KindnessCounts

You can partner with us in cultivating kindness in your own family, church and community. Post on social media examples of kindness you observe, using the #kindnesscounts tag, to spread the culture beyond the HCA community.

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