Embracing Easter: Cultivating Hope and Tradition in Christian Schools

Tim Van SoelenThe CACE Roundtable1 Comment

Image of the cross (Easter).

It’s either really close or just happened. . . . These two words make every student and every teacher light up—Spring Break! On behalf of CACE, we wish for you, or hope that you had, a time of refreshment and renewal.

When I started my teaching career in the Dinosaur Era, spring break always coincided with Good Friday and Easter. While that scheduling meant the break started on March 25 or waited until April 25, I always appreciated what I referred to as Easter Break. As a former school calendar creator, I realize the challenge such a range brings to the school schedule. Still, there was something special about these breaks corresponding.

With Easter on the horizon, we have a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the foundation of our faith while nurturing a sense of hope and unity within our school communities. Easter isn’t just a holiday: it’s a profound reminder of the transformative power and expectation brought to our lives through Christ’s resurrection.

“We have a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the foundation of our faith while nurturing a sense of hope and unity within our school communities.”

For some students, Easter is just hard to comprehend. Jesus rose from the dead? Younger students are still distinguishing fiction from nonfiction. Older ones may want to believe this central theological point, but how will they know it is true?

Growing up in a world where, for many, nothing is real, and the truth is whatever I currently think, the concept of a man rising from the dead to conquer the death we all deserve certainly makes their heads spin—it makes my head spin! This man took my sins and your sins and the sins of the world to the cross? Wow, I’m still wrapping my head around a baby being born of a virgin.

Christian educators should do whatever they can to embed this central belief in the hearts of their students. I hope that your school has meaningful traditions around the celebration of Easter. If not, or if you are looking to start new ones, here are a few I’ll suggest for this sacred season.

Easter chapel services

One of the most impactful ways to celebrate Easter in a Christian school is through special chapel services. The key word here is special: this one needs to stand out. These services provide an opportunity for students, faculty, and parents to come together in worship and reflection.

Reinhardt University has a longstanding tradition of an Easter Sunrise Service. If churches in your community have given up this service, maybe your school can fill the gap. Gather students, families, staff members, supporters, and maybe even community members for a time of worship, prayer, and reflection as the sun rises on Easter Sunday. This symbolic act of witnessing the dawn of a new day serves as a reminder of the hope and promise that Jesus’ resurrection brings to the world.

Easter egg hunt with a twist

The Easter egg hunt has certainly survived the test of time. I remember my first one in Pella’s downtown square as my family often trekked the five hours across Iowa to visit our grandparents over the Easter break.

Easter egg hunts are a beloved tradition for many families, but Christian schools can put a spin on this activity to tell the Easter story. See if students can find the Resurrection eggs, filled with a segment of the Easter story. After the eggs are all found, challenge students to put the story together as recorded in the Bible. Stealthily, hide one last set of eggs and imagine the look on a child’s face when they find that last egg filled with “JESUS: He Lives!” (and maybe a piece of candy 🙂 ).

Easter service project

While I’m not typically a fan of service projects unconnected to the curriculum, Easter is a time for selflessness and service, mirroring Christ’s overflowing love and unlimited compassion. Partner with a church or local agency to allow students to engage in acts of kindness that help them understand the importance of serving others and spreading hope.

Resurrection garden

Some teachers have students create resurrection gardens in the classroom while other schools have created resurrection gardens on their school grounds. Both activities are a hands-on way for students to engage the Easter story. As students cultivate the garden throughout the Easter season and throughout the year, they can reflect on the significance of Christ’s victory over death, the new life He offers to all who believe, and the hope only He brings.

An Easter resurrection garden.

Whatever Easter tradition your school embraces, as Christian school leaders, let us enter into the Easter season with joy and reverence, knowing that the hope we have in Christ transcends all circumstances. By incorporating meaningful Easter traditions into our schools, we can help students know the joy of serving the living Savior. May this Easter be a time of renewal, transformation, and abundant hope for all members of our Christian school communities.


  • Tim Van Soelen

    Dr. Tim Van Soelen serves as the Director of CACE. Tim is also a professor of education at Dordt University. He has served as a principal, assistant principal, and middle school math and computer teacher at schools in South Dakota and California. Tim has his undergraduate degree from Dordt and advanced degrees from Azusa Pacific University and the University of South Dakota.

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