From the Principal

Hello everyone,

Here we are in the last week of term and, whilst it has been a long term, it has been a really productive 11 weeks and time seems to have flown. Our students are ready for the break and I know our teaching staff are also ready for some recuperation time.

There have been so many wonderful events happening for our students this term, with swimming lessons in the Primary School, the High School swimming carnival, the cross country carnival, a range of excursions and incursions and so many rich learning experiences on offer.

Last week a group of our High School students performed wonderfully at Bluesfest and another group of students participated in a local theatre sports competition, taking out first prize (a talented group supported beautifully by our wonderful High School Drama teacher, Ben Daley). This week a small group of our students will be performing in a Commonwealth Games related performance on the Gold Coast as part of their involvement with Spaghetti Circus.

Meanwhile at school, our new building is really taking shape, with the roof on and the internal walls now being created. Our builders are doing a wonderful job and are currently running just a little ahead of schedule. We are certainly hopeful the building will be complete by the Spring Fair. If you have some spare funds and would like to make a donation to our building fund, please have a look at the article further on in the bulletin. We are hoping to raise the funds to include a covered walkway area next to the new building. Donations to the building fund are tax deductable.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Class Coordinators. I know people are leading busy lives today, but it really does help our teachers to have the support of the Class Coordinators and we are very grateful to those of you who have offered to give your time and energy to this important task. I look forward to meeting up with Class Coordinators at a morning tea early next term, details will be sent out in the coming weeks.

Have a restful, safe and enjoyable term break.

Peace
Nerrida

From the Principal

Hello everyone,

It has been a positive and energetic two weeks around the school with a number of excursions and events happening for various classes, as well as our Autumn Festival. Students from right across the school were involved in the festival; with Kindy children joining us to watch and Primary and High School students singing, acting and providing musical accompaniment. As with most of our festivals, the teachers also had an opportunity to get up and sing.

I know that some members of our parent community were disappointed that this was a student-only event – we certainly missed you all at the festival and really look forward to welcoming you all to the Winter Festival (which will be held off site). We will be emailing out a link to parents so that you can watch some lovely video footage of the Autumn Festival and just ask that you do not upload the link to any social media or forward it to others.

Last week Teera and I attended the March Delegates Meeting of Steiner Education Australia (SEA). Delegates from Steiner schools from all over Australia attended this two day meeting to talk about a range of issues common to us all. Steiner Education Australia supports Steiner Schools across Australia in a range of ways, including by developing and maintaining the Australian Steiner Curriculum Framework – which is the first national Steiner curriculum to have been accepted as a registered alternative anywhere in the world. As a NSW school, we also have to abide by the Education Act (NSW) which requires us to teach the New South Wales Education Authority Curriculum, and SEA assists us by providing advice and guidance in this regard .

At the meeting, we listened to an interesting presentation from Alex Shain of Reconciliation Australia; this was particularly relevant as we are just at the beginning of the process of creating a Reconciliation Action Plan for our school. (We will share more information about this in the near future, inviting parents to register their interest in joining our working group.) It is certainly a shared aim of our teachers to develop a deeper relationship with the local Arakwal Bundjalung community and the proposed Reconciliation Action Plan is just one part of this.

Finally, a big thank you to all of the parents who have attended Class Meetings this term. Attendance at these meetings has been quite high and I know our teachers really appreciate it when they are able to talk with parents and share information about what we are doing at school. I know it isn’t always easy to get out in the evenings for meetings and I am really grateful that so many of you have been able to do this.

Peace
Nerrida

From the Principal

Hello everyone,

With the arrival of the rain and cooler weather, it has certainly felt like Autumn is coming. With the beginning of Autumn, we turn and take the first steps on the inward journey which takes us all the way from the outer experiences of mid summer (a way to think of this is to think about the feeling of the very active outward social and environmental experiences we have during summer) to the deep and quiet inner experience of mid winter. As we begin that journey, we often meet those parts of ourselves that perhaps we have been able to ignore over the summer months. This can feel a bit uncomfortable and we often find Autumn is a time where children can experience some more unsettled social interactions in the playground. Interestingly though, it can also be a time when students really settle down in class and get some solid work done (perhaps this relates more to the cooler, more comfortable weather than anything else). As adults, autumn is a great time to reflect on our own experiences of ourselves. What ‘pushes our buttons’? What things are difficult to deal with and where do we feel real strength and clarity in our own being?

Preparations are underway for our Autumn Festival. Unfortunately, this year the Autumn Festival will be a students-only event. This is because of the difficulties with parking on-site whilst the building project is taking up so much of our car park – there are simply not enough car parks left and this problem is compounded if the weather has been wet, as cars cannot park on the grassed areas. Festivals are such an important part of the life of our school community and the decision to have a students-only Autumn Festival was not taken lightly. We are, however, planning to have our big Winter Festival (3-12) off-site so that our school community can participate so please mark the date of Thursday 21st June into your diaries as it will be a very special school community festival.

Finally, I have started calling parents from across the school to talk about their experiences of the school; the things we are doing well and the things we could do better. I have received some terrific feedback and really enjoyed some very insightful conversations. Thank you to those parents who have so generously shared their experiences and ideas. I will continue this process throughout this year and look forward to having the opportunity to speak to many more of you. Aside from the phone-calls, if members of the school community have any thoughts, ideas, feedback or inspirations about the school, please don’t hesitate to email me at principal@capebyronsteiner.nsw.edu.au .

Peace
Nerrida

From the Principal

Hello everyone,

The term is humming along with our new students settling in well and everyone showing wonderful patience and flexibility in coping with having a large building site in our school grounds. As I have walked around the school, I have noticed such a settled and focused feeling in the classrooms with some wonderful teaching and learning happening.

I have really enjoyed being down in the bottom car park most mornings and afternoons this term. It has been lovely to greet students and families and have the opportunity to have a quick catch-up. Thank you for adapting so quickly to our new pick-up and drop-off system, so far the system is running quite smoothly with only a few hiccups.

This week I met with school leaders from the Steiner Schools across the Mid North and North Coasts (9 schools in all). We meet twice a year and share ideas and resources and talk about how we can develop and maintain close ties between the schools. I think it is valuable to remember that we are part of a larger movement of wonderful, vibrant and thriving Steiner schools from all over the world. As we move towards celebrating 100 years of Steiner education next year, it is good to work on building and strengthening the relationships between us.

Peace Nerrida

From the Principal

Hello everyone,

How wonderful it is to have everyone back at school to start the new Year. There has been such a lot of work happening around our school site over the holiday break, with an extension to the roof of the Class Three Building, a new office for the Director Primary K-6 (next to the Class Three Building), an all over deep clean of the school, servicing of many of our systems and work around our gardens (including the removal of a number of storm-damaged trees). Of course, the most noticeable change is the beginning of construction of our new Innovation Centre in the High School. It would be fair to say we have all had to be a bit flexible in the first two weeks of term to cope with two active building sites on the school property. Fortunately, Teera’s office should be completed in the next couple of days, so at least things should settle down a little in the Primary part of the school.

As you are all by now aware, one of the impacts of the big building project is that we have temporarily lost a large number of spaces in the car park and have thus had to introduce a ‘drop and ride’ system for those children who do not catch the bus. We have rostered additional staff on to manage this system, particularly in the afternoon. Thank you to those parents using the system for your patience as we gradually iron out the ‘kinks’ in the system.

I enjoyed meeting Kindergarten, Class One and new parents at two morning teas last week. It was great to meet and catch up with some new and familiar faces. The Kindergarten teachers tell me that their new classes are settling in well and Naina is working gently and steadily to bring her new class together. Settling into a new school or a new class can take some time so please do talk to your child’s teacher if your child is experiencing any challenges.

There have not been major changes to staffing this year, however we are very happy to welcome Stuart Baker as our new High School Camps Coordinator and Primary School Bothmer Gym teacher and Penny Van Den Hoek as my new PA. Please do say hello to them if you see them around the school, they are both valued and skilled additions to our staff.

Finally, this year I will be telephoning a number of school families each week to touch base and check in with how your experience with the school is going. I look forward to talking to you and listening to your feedback.

Peace
Nerrida

From the Principal

Hello everyone,

As I write this, the last children have left for the summer break. When I reflect back over the last year, I think of all of the wonderful learning and growth which has happened across our school (for students and growth) and I feel enormous gratitude to everybody involved in the school.

This week I attended the Class 6 farewell party; what a lovely evening! The students performed some beautiful music pieces and it was a fitting and honouring farewell to their Class Teacher, Naina. I also attended the Year 9 and 10 Elective Showcase and, as always, was amazed by the confidence, poise and talent of our young students (and the amazing work done by their teachers).

This week our Year 12 students also received their final HSC results. I am so proud of every single student for their hard work and wonderful achievements and wish them all the very best for the next stage of their lives.

I would like to close by thanking all of our wonderful teaching and support staff for their professional, dedicated and caring work this year. I would like to thank the Class Coordinators and P&F Executive for supporting the school and our community so beautifully. I would like to thank James Dods (Chair) and the Board for the time, commitment and deep care they have for our lovely school. I would like to thank the parents for trusting us with the care and education of your children – it is indeed a privilege. Finally, I would like to thank our wonderful students – you are the reason we are all here and we so lucky to have a part to play in your learning journey.

Please all have a safe and enjoyable break. I look forward to seeing you all again in the new year.

Peace
Nerrida

From the Principal

Hello everyone,

It is the first day of Summer, the weather is sultry, wet, humid and stormy and this seems to be a good description of the world around us (if our only view of the world is to be taken from the media). It is worth remembering, however, that people from many different faiths and beliefs from all over the world are preparing to celebrate a special time of the year. The central theme of all of these different celebrations is one of hope – something very much needed at this time. As I look around the school, I see signs of this hope everywhere. Our Kindergarten students are looking hopefully through the arch and into the Primary School, knowing their time at Kindy is drawing to a close and soon they will begin the next part of their journey. Our Class 6 students have had their transition evening and are now packing their classroom ready for the move into the High School, They are filled with hopes and dreams for the next stage of their journey. And in the High School, the HSC students have had their final school event, a lovely formal evening at the Beach Cafe. This was truly a celebration of gratitude for the past and hope for the future. Our teachers are also busy in the task of writing reports – a celebration of each child’s journey and a statement of hope for their future learning, growth and development. I invite you to find some other signs of hope around you and take the time to honour and celebrate these.

This week marked a very special moment in our school’s history. Staff gathered together for a special afternoon tea to farewell Julie McVeigh. Julie has been an important part of CBRSS for 14 years. She has taken many leadership roles within the school, as well as shepherding a whole generation of children (and their families) into a Steiner Education at our school. I presented Julie with a beautiful painting (commissioned especially from Eleni) and James Dods (Chair of the Board) presented a special gift from the Board in recognition of Julie’s service as a Board Member and a leader in the school. We will be sad to see Julie go, but I know we will all see her legacy continuing in the school for many years to come.

Finally, preparations are in the final stages for our annual Christmas Market. Please do save the date in your calendar (next Friday 8th May) and join us for a lovely community event to celebrate this special time of the year.

You may have noticed that we have not had a bulletin for a few weeks, this is because the dreaded bug struck our lovely Admin Office and both Yvette (who writes the Bulletin) and I were quite unwell for a number of days. We are both now back on deck and hope you will understand the reason for the delay.

Peace
Nerrida

From the Principal

Hello everybody,

As always at this time of the year, there are a lot of things happening. Our HSC students have almost finished their exams, our Class 6 students are about to begin the transition process as they complete their final weeks in the primary school and look towards the future and the High School and our Kindergarten families have now been introduced to their Class Teacher, Naina Richardson. On top of this there are numerous class plays, excursions, camps and visitors coming to the school. In all this busyness, I think it is important to pause for a moment and remember the place of calm in our lives. I find it is really helpful every now and again during the day to stop, take a few deep breaths and just come back to the present moment. Things always seem clearer, easier and more manageable when the starting point is simply being present. This isn’t just good advice in the workplace, it can be really helpful in family life too. When young people are surrounded by people who are rushed, stressed and/or always thinking about the next moment, they can feel stressed and anxious too. When we practise being mindful and present within family life, we support our children and set a great example.

While on the subject of being mindful, I would like to encourage you to read the article in this bulletin about driving and parking on the school site. We have recently seen an increase in some quite dangerous driving behaviour in and around the school. I know the last thing any of us wants is for an accident to happen or a member of our school community to be hurt. So please do read the article and be a little extra-mindful when driving to or from school.

Finally, I attended the P&F meeting this week where this year’s Spring Fair was reviewed. I would like to thank the hard-working and very talented Class Three parents for their wonderful effort this year. The Spring Fair theme was inspiring and the decorations were absolutely beautiful. Our Spring Fair was a wonderful coming together of our school community and celebration of the changing season. Congratulations to everyone involved in bringing this year’s Spring Fair to fruition.

Peace
Nerrida

From the Principal

Hello everyone and welcome back to Term 4,

Last term ended in a flurry of excitement and activity with our wonderful Spring Fair and the very moving Year 12 Graduation Ceremony. Both of these events were a real celebration of our students and the school community which supports them.

Each year, I give an address to our graduating class and below you can find the text of this year’s address. I am very proud of our students and wish them all the very best as they complete their final exams this term.

I would like to begin by acknowledging that we are privileged to be on the traditional lands of the Arakwal people of the Bundjalung Nation and I would like to honour and pay my deepest respect to Elders, both past and present. Australia’s aboriginal people are amongst the oldest known civilisations in the world. They undertook the first great sea journeys of exploration and developed a culture of deep knowledge and connection with the land that has endured longer than almost any other in the world’s history. We are all held in the cradle of this knowledge and connection and it is in the spirit of this that I make my final address to you today.

Over the last 13 years of your schooling, you have learned a lot of things. You have developed skills and learned about the world and yourself. Now, as you stand on the threshold of a new beginning, I want to take a moment to reflect on the things that really matter.

We live in a time of great change, a time where change is happening so quickly that it is hard to even imagine what the world will look like in a few years. 60% of the jobs that exist today will not exist in 10 years. Political and social boundaries are quickly changing and environmental change is happening so quickly now that it is hard to understand what our planet will look like in the near future. The task of imagining the future is now yours and you are already in the process of shaping it.

Whilst I hope the skills we have taught you will be useful to you in this changing world, I believe that it isn’t what you know that truly matters now, it is who you are and who you are going to be in the world.

We live in a time where it is easy to draw apart, to polarise and to find the differences between us and to reinforce these. I want to encourage you not to follow this path. Have the courage to stop and listen to those whose views are different to your own. You do not need to agree, and certainly it is important to stand up for what you truly believe is right, but please take the time to at least try to understand the other view; see and understand our differences and then search for the things that draw us together. You are all developing a strong moral compass; use it to make good choices but also have the empathy, courage and insight to understand those who do not. The hope for the future is in finding our common humanity and forging a path we can walk together.

Our school vision is to enable each individual to realise their potential to be self aware, resourceful and resilient with the empathy, skills and initiative to make a positive contribution to the world. I want you to know that, right at this turning point in your lives, as you are about to finish your school education, you are exactly who you should be.

I look at you and I am filled with so much hope for the future. You are creative, caring, empathetic, thoughtful, insightful, gentle, humorous, determined, imaginative, analytical, hopeful and courageous. You are exactly who you need to be to step out into the world and fulfill your own life destinies. You will be the lovers, the carers, the decision makers, the inventors, the collaborators and the healers. You will be the artists, poets, musicians, strategists, scientists, engineers and farmers who will shape and change the new world.

So now, go out there and ask questions. Stand up for what you believe in. Make strong, ethical choices. Care for others, even if you don’t understand their lives or their choices. Actively care for this magnificent planet and speak up when others don’t. Find happiness in the small things. Draw pictures, make music, plant gardens, write poems – be a creator in the world. Accept that you are not perfect and sometimes you will get it wrong. Make mistakes – and then learn from them. Be prepared to wait and work for the things you want. Look for the music and the beauty around you (it is always there).

I want you to know that your teachers, your family and your school community, are so very proud of you. I am very proud of you. Almost 100 years ago, Rudolf Steiner said “Receive children in reverence, educate them in love, and let them go forth in freedom.” We received you with reverence, we have educated you with so much love, and now it is time for you to go forth in freedom.

Your education at Cape Byron Rudolf Steiner School has finished, my wish for you all is that you can go on to fulfil the highest, truest expression of yourselves as the wonderful human beings you are.

Peace
Nerrida
(You may enjoy this photo of the ‘alternative me’ …. our Year 12 students had a lot of fun dressing up as school staff in their last week with us)

From the Principal

Hello everyone,

As I write this the school grounds are buzzing with activity as we prepare for our Spring Fair tomorrow. It looks like the weather gods are going to be kind to us and we should have a beautiful spring day for our celebrations.

This year our theme is ‘Awaken to Wonder’ and there are so many wonderful activities on offer tomorrow. The opening of the fair should be a lovely event with some of our Primary School students singing an ‘Awaken to Wonder’ song composed especially for this year’s event. The theme will continue right throughout the fair with a range of specially designed activities (don’t miss a visit to our High School Science room where James and Shanti have set up a wonderland of Science activities for you to enjoy.)

This year we are also introducing a poetry slam competition for High School students. I am really looking forward to getting down to the amphitheatre to hear some of our wonderful poets in action. There is so much to see, hear and do tomorrow, it will be an effort to fit it all in!

Last Friday night I had the great privilege to attend our annual HSC Showcase night. What a wonderful night it was! I always look forward to this event as it is a great opportunity to witness our graduating students presenting the fruits of their labours. I think, as a school community, we can all be very proud of our graduating students. If they are the future, there is a lot to be hopeful about.

I look forward to seeing many of you tomorrow at our Spring Fair.

Peace
Nerrida

From the Principal

Hello everyone,

September has arrived and the level of activity and excitement about our Spring Fair is building. Today I called into Silky Oak Cottage to visit the parents working away dip-dying, making decorations and preparing craft activities for the fair. With the beautiful, dyed cloths fluttering in the breeze and the newly made bunting draped across the fence, I was reminded just how much effort goes into making the fair a truly beautiful, colourful and joyful community event.

Plans are well underway for the construction of our new playground equipment (a tree-house for our primary students and a set of suitably sized swings for the High School). These wonderful new additions to our site are funded with money raised by the P&F (through the hard work of our school community) at our Spring Fairs.

This week I was able to have a sneak peak at some of our Year 12 Visual Art major works as they were all handed in for marking. They are truly extraordinary and a testament to the dedication and hard work of our students and the skilled guidance and care of our teachers. All of our HSC major works (across a broad range of subjects) will be on display and there will be some wonderful performances at our HSC Showcase Night next Friday night. Please mark it in your calendar and come along if you can.

Last week I was lucky enough to enjoy the Primary School Book Week celebrations. The students paraded through the school, dressed as characters from their favourite books – it was wonderful to listen to the children talking with such a love for books and reading. The Primary Teachers put on a quite hilarious play of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. With a sweet and innocent Snow White, rather squeamish Hunstman, gloriously narcissistic Wicked Queen, brutally honest Mirror, glamorous (if rather simple) Prince on his dashing (hobby horse) steed and troupe of bumbling and perpetually hungry dwarves – the play had something to entertain everyone. Thank you Primary Teachers for the effort you put into this each year. I wonder what next year’s Book Week play will be?

Peace
Nerrida

From the Principal

Hello Everyone,

As I write this, the sun is shining, the skies are blue and the temperature is hovering in the high 20’s. Is it really still winter? This unseasonal weather can make us feel a bit grumpy, out of sorts and ‘on edge’. If we reflect on this in relation to the importance of the rhythm of the seasons in our inner life, it is understandable why we might feel like this. Normally, we would have been just emerging from the quiet and still inner experience of mid winter at this time of the year, instead we have had a couple of weeks of bright sunshine and weather which we more normally associate with the outward streaming feel of summer.

The wildlife around the school are responding to the warmer weather too. Our reptile friends, the snakes and lizards, are on the move and looking for food mates and some of that lovely sunshine. With this in mind, please take extra care when driving down the hill and walking through the school grounds.

This week I spent some time down in the High School reading some of the beautiful wishes made by our students and placed on the ‘Wishing Tree’ as part of the Year 7 ‘Wish, Wonder and Surprise’ Main Lesson. The wishes are a beautiful reflection of our students hopes and dreams for themselves and the wider world. If you are at the school, I encourage you to go and have a look. The tree is just outside the staffroom door in the High School.

Last week I attended the Class Three Parent Meeting to talk to parents about the changes which happen for the nine year old child (one of my favourite topics). I really enjoyed sharing with the parents and it reminded me of the importance of parents attending their child’s class meetings. These are such a good opportunity to share information, learn about what is happening in class and connect with other parents.

Our Class Three parents are now almost in the ‘home straight’ with organising the Spring Fair. This is such an important event in our school calendar – please do jump in and help out in any way you can. This year’s event promises some lovely new features and will be a great day out for everyone. Please make sure you have the date marked in your calendar (Saturday 16th September).

Peace
Nerrida

From the Principal

Hello everyone,

It has been a busy couple of weeks and a really great start to the term. We have had Lisa Romero in the school, talking to students, parents and teachers about issues of growth and development, sexuality and gender. Lisa brings a wealth of experience and wisdom about these topics from an anthroposophical understanding of the development of the human being.

We have also had students from both Primary and High School classes visiting the Byron Writers’ Festival. They have had the opportunity to listen to some really interesting writers speaking about their lives and their craft.

This week our High School students attended in our annual athletics carnival. It was great to see the students actively participating in all of the events and also supporting the running of the day. There were many wonderful performances with students pushing to do their best and enjoy the involvement. Congratulations to Caspar Thomas for his outstanding performance in breaking the CBRSS boys High Jump record by a substantial margin (with a backflip over the bar). Thanks to Lizzie Gavaghan for organising the day and to all of the teachers for their enthusiastic support for the day.

Plans for the Spring Fair are well underway – please do look carefully at the notice later in this bulletin and see if there is something you could do to help out. The Spring Fair is one of the really important events for our school community and your participation and support will help to make it a wonderful day.

Peace
Nerrida

From the Principal

Hello everyone,

It was lovely to see the students all back at school on Tuesday, after the mid year term break.

Gavin and his crew have been very busy over the break, working on maintenance and development projects around the school. You may have noticed our beautiful brick paving behind the Performance Hall. This will really improve the entry to the school, especially when our building project begins and the traffic flow to that area subsequently increases.

Our teachers have been busy in the Term Break. I joined a group of teachers who travelled to Sydney to attend the National Steiner Teachers’ Conference. With international keynote speakers and a range of workshops aimed at both Primary and High School teachers, the conference was a wonderful opportunity to deepen our understanding of Steiner Education. I was also honoured to be able to present workshops on the 9 year old transition at the conference.

Meanwhile, back at home, teachers were busy catching up with programming and assessments. Our HSC teachers were working with their students, supporting them in the development of their major works and preparation for trial exams. The trial exams were held in the last week of the break. I am hopeful that, in amongst all of this, our hard-working teachers managed to enjoy some down time with family and friends.

Early this week, I was lucky enough to be able to take two of our senior students to an afternoon tea with Gladys Berijiklian, the Premier of NSW. Bridget Brandolini and Minnie Manton were excellent representatives for our school and were able to raise the issue of the lack of public transport in the area when they spoke to the Premier.

This term will be busy with a number of camps and excursions, kindergarten enrolments for 2018, the HSC showcase and graduation activities, 2018 budget preparations and, of course, the Spring Fair. Even though it is busy, I do always try to make time to talk to parents and students whenever possible. If you would like to have a chat to me about any aspect of our school, please either send me an email (principal@capebyronsteiner.nsw.edu.au) or call Jacquie in the office to make an appointment. I am happy to find the time to talk to you.

It’s a mini Bulletin this week for the start of the term, next week the usual full Bulletin will resume.

Here’s to a wonderful, productive Term 3!

Peace
Nerrida

Meeting the Premier

Nerrida, Bridget and Minnie meet the Premier