Please note that there has been an important change to our dress code. All students with hair which is shoulder length or longer MUST have their hair tied back in a plait or a bun whilst on camps and excursions. This change has been made to improve safety for our students. We will carry extra hair ties in our first aid kits, but ask your assistance to support this change from home.
It is a legal requirement that school-aged children must attend school. If your child is going to be away from school for more than three days, you will need to submit an application for exemption to attendance. The government allows Principals to grant exemption under very specific circumstances. If you know your child is going to be absent for more than 3 days, please contact Reception for a form and return the form prior to the absence.
We ask that families do not take holidays during term time. Students can miss really important learning and experiences. This also places additional pressure on the teachers to try to help the students to catch up. It is unfair to ask teachers to provide additional work for students to take away with them on holiday to term time and teachers are not able to do this for unapproved absences. By planning holidays so that they occur in the term breaks, you are supporting your child’s learning and also supporting the teacher in their work.
What a busy couple of weeks it has been. The Winter Festival was a lovely opportunity for the school community to come together and celebrate the winter season. It was great to see so many parents, family members and friends coming along to celebrate this special occasion with us. The challenge with the increased popularity of this event is finding a venue which can safely and effectively fit everybody in. We will certainly be thinking carefully about this as we plan next year’s Winter Festival as the hall in Bangalow was certainly bulging at the seams last week.
The kindergarten children also enjoyed a very beautiful and reverent Winter Festival at school this week. The sense of community was strong and the children experienced a very special and reverent celebration of the season.
In the High School, our Year 9 and 10 students demonstrated some of the outstanding work they have been doing in their electives this semester. Works from Design and Technology and the Creative Arts were on display and the audience enjoyed wonderful performances of circus skills, music and drama. Congratulations to the students and the teachers for such a wonderful night.
Earlier this year, some parents approached me with some concerns about our use of WiFi technology in the school. I undertook some extensive research into this topic and, whilst there is no definitive evidence about the effects of WiFi technology, there is enough concern to warrant some preventative action. With the agreement and support of the Primary School Teachers, we have decided that the WiFi routers in the Primary School will be turned off when they are not being used by the teachers and we have purchased some timer devices to assist with this.
Finally, just a reminder that we will be having a meeting for all parents on Wednesday 27th July at 7pm at the school. We will start the meeting by sharing our new Master Plan for the school. Michael Leung, architect and parent, will be there to take us all through the plan. This will be a great opportunity for parents to have a look at what is planned for the development of school buildings and facilities into the future. The next part of the meeting will be a “World Cafe” type meeting (coffee and cake provided) to discuss parent engagement in student learning and the school. We are asking that at least 1 adult from each family attend this meeting, so please put it into your calendars.
Have a wonderful, peaceful and safe Term break.
Could you please mark in your diaries the date of 27th of July (which is Week 1 of Term 3).
We are holding an important parent meeting and are asking that at least one parent from every family attend. At this meeting, we will be presenting our Master Plan to the school community. We will also be talking about parent involvement in our school community. There will be a number of short presentations and plenty of time for discussion.
We are asking for at least one parent from each family to attend (regardless of whether you are a new parent or have been involved in the school for years).
An invitation, with more information, will go out soon.
I am writing this from Melbourne, where I am currently on camp with the Year 10 students. I usually try to attend one High School camp a year as it is a great opportunity for me to spend time with some of our wonderful students (and teachers) in a more informal setting.
We have a terrific camps program and the Year 10 camp is a wonderful example of providing students with some special experiences which are appropriate to their stage of development. On this camp our students learn how to navigate the city, visit a range of tertiary institutions (universities etc.), experience a variety of cultural events (from the theatre to the football), learn to budget their money ($20 a day per student for lunch and dinner) and learn to balance freedom with responsibility. All wonderful learning opportunities. I am sure we will all return exhausted but happy on Saturday after a great few days in Melbourne together.
Meanwhile, back at school, preparations for the Winter Festival are well underway. Each year we review the previous year’s festival, consider feedback from students, parents and teachers and then our teachers work with the creative impulse to create a reverent and meaningful winter seasonal celebration. Each of our festivals is such an important part of the life of our school and we particularly cherish the opportunity to bring everyone together in an event which really celebrates and strengthens our community. I look forward to seeing you at the Winter Festival on Friday 24th June.
Winter has arrived, and with it, some cooler weather. Teachers often welcome the cooler winter days as the children are more settled and focused.
I think we are all looking forward to the forecast winter rain over the next week to fill tanks, water our thirsty gardens, and to settle the dust in the car park. I know that a number of parents and students have complained about the dust in the last week or so. Unfortunately, sealing the carpark is not an option due to some DA conditions. Gavin has installed a sprinkler system and is now making some adjustments to try to get the best effect. This means that the sprinklers may be turned on during the school day if the dust is particularly bad – so please do remember to close your windows if you park in the bottom car park.
Today I was fortunate enough to watch the Year 11 and 12 students talking about their subjects at the Year 10 subject forum. The students spoke with such enthusiasm and understanding about their chosen subjects and it was great to see them showing maturity and leadership. It was a good reminder that the HSC at Cape Byron is not just about high achievement, but provides an opportunity for students to dive deeply into the subjects of their choice and develop some really strong skills and understandings; both about their subjects and about themselves.
Finally, thank you to the parents who attended the Repair, Care and Maintenance day on Saturday. We really do rely on the support of our school community to do those little extra jobs that make our school environment beautiful and well cared for. If you were unable to come, but would like to offer some time in another area of the school (the library always needs some helpers), please do let us know.
In recent weeks I have had several parents asking what support the school provides for students with additional needs. This is something we don’t generally share with parents on a class by class basis as we need to be careful to protect the privacy of individual students and families, however I thought it might be helpful to share a general picture of our approach to this important topic.
The teaching assistants in the Primary School provide general assistance to the teachers in their day-to-day teaching tasks. In addition to this, we employ teaching aides across the primary school to support specific students (or small groups of students) with their learning needs. The teaching aides work under the direction of our Learning Support Teacher, Marlis, and in collaboration with the Class Teacher. Marlis works with the teachers to develop Individual Learning Plans for some children. She also works with small groups, in the classroom and individually with students to support their needs. We also work closely with an Educational Psychologist, who undertakes assessments and provides advice when needed.
In the High School, our Learning Support Teacher works to develop Individual Education Plans for students with additional needs. She provides advice and support to teachers and also works individually with students. From time to time, we may have teaching aides working to provide Learning Support in some individual classes if there is a higher individual need. In addition to this, our Wellbeing Workers provide support to students across the school.
The teachers discuss students with additional learning needs regularly in Faculty meetings so that all teachers can provide advice, assistance and support. We take a very strong team approach to supporting all of our students and, as such, are constantly evaluating the effectiveness of our approach and adjusting the support we give.
Rudolf Steiner said that one of our chief tasks as teachers is to work to ‘solve the riddle of the child.’ Each child comes to us with their own needs, their own strengths and challenges. We work hard, in partnership with parents, to understand what the child needs from us and how we can best meet their needs.
If you have any questions about your own child, please do talk to the teacher or guardian. We are always happy to listen, share what we are doing with your child and work together to support your child’s learning and development.
I would like to finish this week by welcoming Geraldine Devas to our staff. Geraldine is a Wellbeing Worker who will be working in the school, with Annie, every Friday. She brings a wealth of experience to this position, as well as a solid understanding of the philosophy underpinning our education, having been a parent at this school years ago and also working in Steiner Schools in Queensland and Victoria. It is wonderful to welcome Geraldine to our school.
Clear communication between teachers and parents is a vital part of the parent-school relationship. We really value this communication and are happy to talk with you if and when the need arises. Please call the school and make an appointment if you would like to meet with your child’s teacher. Please do not approach the teacher in the morning before school as this is an important and busy time of preparation for our teachers and they will be focused on the students and the lessons for the day.
Over the last few weeks I have personally witnessed people driving up and down the hill at high speeds, people overtaking just before the blind bend in our road, people pulling out of our carpark directly across on-coming traffic and people parking in areas which make it unsafe for other traffic and for pedestrians. We all have the odd times when we are running late for school or work, or when our attention is distracted from the road, however it only takes one moment for things to go wrong and somebody to get badly hurt. It would be easy to think “it won’t happen to me”, but accidents do happen and the effects can be devastating. I have a brother who is a quadriplegic after a car accident and a daughter with a lifelong disability after a separate car accident. It can happen and it does …. with frightening regularity. And so I make a personal plea….. please PLEASE slow down and take care on the way to and from school. Obey the rules and be extra vigilant as there are a lot of little people (and not so little people) trying to get to and from our school.
I hope everyone had an enjoyable term break, it is always lovely to see the children streaming back into the school after a break, looking refreshed but happy to be back.
This morning as I drove down the ‘big hill’ on my way to work, I stopped at the lookout to watch the sun rise over Byron Bay. The mist was floating through the valley and the breeze was gentle, cool and fresh. I took time to reflect on our experience of autumn in this little part of the world. We don’t have the brilliant, flaming oranges and reds of leaf change that symbolise autumn in cooler climates, nor do we have the dramatic change in temperature and daylight hours experienced in places further from the equator. Instead, our experience is more subtle. The light quality changes as the sun stays a little closer to the horizon. We experience soft, morning mists and dewdrops sparkling on the spider-webs in the early daylight hours. The insects calm and settle from their summer frenzy and our reptile friends can be seen in patches of sunlight (and on the top of my passionfruit vine at home), enjoying the warmth of the soft, autumn sun. Inwardly, we also experience a subtle softening and calming. The slightly uncomfortable feeling that characterises the early autumnal ‘coming in’ is now starting to settle and we can really enjoy the experience of autumn. I encourage you to take some quiet time to tune in and become aware of your own experience of autumn, it really is a lovely time of the year.
On another note, I am really excited about starting a new study group this week. This term, on Tuesday mornings, I will be facilitating a discussion/study group looking at Steiner’s ‘Kingdom of Childhood’ lectures. These are an excellent introduction to Steiner Education and provide a good foundation for understanding the philosophy behind Steiner education. Each week we will look at one of the lectures and there will be a lot of opportunity for discussion and questions. Participants are encouraged to attend for the whole series, however if you can’t make it every week, that’s ok too. We also have a study group operating at the school every Tuesday night (the group started with ‘The Kingdom of Childhood’ last year and is now meeting regularly and working through a range of texts and lectures). If you would like information about either of the study groups, please contact Yvette in the office.
Cape Byron Rudolf Steiner School is pleased to present a free study group, studying “The Kingdom of Childhood” a series of 7 lectures by Rudolf Steiner & presented by our Principal Nerrida Johnson. Nerrida has a deep understanding of the philosophy underpinning our education. She has many years experience as a Steiner teacher and has lead study groups and workshops both here and at the Goetheanum in Switzerland (the world centre for Anthroposophy).
When: Tuesday 3rd of May 2016 from 9.15am to 10.30am for 7 weeks. (Please note this will end on Tues June 21 as June 14 there will not be one)
Where: Cape Byron Rudolf Steiner School Library
Who: Anyone interested in furthering their understanding of Steiner Education is welcome, please register beforehand by contacting our Enrolments Officer Yvette
Phone/email: 02 6639 9302 or enrolments@http://capebyronsteiner.nsw.edu.au
A PDF version of this book is available via Yvette or alternatively you can order your own copy of the book online here http://www.rudolfsteinerbookcentre.com.au/
From RS archive on “The Kingdom of Childhood” …..
Steiner presents here the idea of the three seven-year periods of child development and gives many classroom examples. These seven intimate talks, and one Question & Answer lecture, were presented to a small group on Steiner’s final visit to England. Because they were given to “pioneers” dedicated to opening a new Waldorf school, these talks are often considered one of the best introductions to Waldorf education. These talks are filled with practical illustrations and revolve around certain themes — the need for observation in teachers; the dangers of stressing the intellect too early; children’s need for teaching that is concrete and pictorial; the education of children’s souls through wonder and reverence; the importance of first presenting the ‘whole,’ then the parts, to the children’s imagination. Here is one of the best introductions to Waldorf education!
Poet, John Keats, described autumn as the “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.” Autumn has certainly arrived here and we are all enjoying the cooler nights, the floating morning mists and the subtle changes in the natural world around us. This week we celebrated our Autumn Harvest Festival with a beautiful gathering of our school community, collection of the harvest produce, sharing of song and verse and finally, dancing together on the green. ‘Mellow fruitfulness’ indeed! These beautiful events are so important as they draw together our school community and allow us to mark the rhythms of the year and our human experience of the changing of the seasons.
This week I also attended the AGM for our Parents and Friends Association. Tanja and Lisa have done an amazing job of leading the P&F over the last year and have provided a wonderful level of support and care for both the parent body and the school. I would like to personally thank them both for their work and congratulate and thank them for their willingness to take on the task for another year. Thank you also to Sarah Sykes for taking on the role of Treasurer for the next year. I would like to strongly encourage parents to become involved in the P&F. It is a great way to find out what is happening in the school, meet and connect with other parents and lend your support.
This weekend is, as we are all aware, the Bluesfest Festival. A group of our students will be performing at the the “Juke Joint” at the festival from 12 o’clock on Monday. Not only is it a great experience for them, they will be wonderfully representing our school. A special thank you to Tom Whitaker (one of our wonderful music teachers), for organising this.
The school celebrated the Autumn Festival last Monday 21 March. The whole school community came together to celebrate this special time. A beautiful display of Autumn offerings from the garden and Mother Nature was created in the Amphitheatre. Thank you to everyone for bringing in produce and offerings from your gardens and from home. Teachers, students, and parents gathered, in their Autumn colours, to celebrate the Festival with music and song. We were also joined by special guest, Irish Joe Lynch, who shared some entertaining stories with everyone. The school then gathered on the grass, surrounding our clever musicians, to enjoy some Autumn dances! Much fun & joy was had by all!
Photo: Nerrida Johnson
Photo: Nerrida Johnson
Photo: Nerrida Johnson
Photo: Felicity Dynes
This week has flown by so quickly, it seems the school is buzzing with activity and we are already well into the rhythm of the year.
Not only is this the time when our students are settling into their daily routines, but it is also the time when much of the parent involvement in the school is being organised. We have a very full calendar of Class meetings over the first few weeks of the year. I would like to strongly encourage at least one parent from each family to attend the Class meetings. Our teachers and guardians put a lot of time and thought into planning meetings which are interesting, relevant, informative and enjoyable (and hopefully not too long). We consider the class meetings to be a crucial part of our communication pathways. Whilst we do our very best to avoid clashes of meetings, this is not always possible so I do apologise to any parents who have found that they have two meetings in one night.
Last week was a lovely week of welcomes.
We welcome back our students and families from the summer holiday break. I am sure every student grew at least 5 cm over the break! It was great to see new students coming to join classes across the school. It is always wonderful to welcome new families to our school community.
On Monday I watched as our lovely new Class One teacher, Prue, welcomed her new students, receiving a rose from each and guiding them into their classroom to begin their journeys together. It was wonderful to spend some time together with the Class One parents in a morning tea after the ceremony.
On Tuesday it was the turn of the Kindergarten Teachers to welcome their new little charges into the school. For some parents, it was an emotional farewell as their first child began the school journey and for others the day marked the beginning of some child-free time at home as their youngest child joined the kindergarten.
This week we also welcomed back some students who have been away from the school for a little while and have now returned. It’s great to see those familiar faces back with us again.
In the Administration Office, we also welcomed some new faces. Georgi was initially joining us in the Reception role, however she willingly stepped in to the Principal Assistant role, and is doing a great job of replacing Jacquie who will be away for approximately 6 months. Felicity has joined us in the Reception role for this period and is already a welcoming and helpful presence at the front desk.
It has been great to welcome all of our amazing staff back, the holiday break is such an important opportunity to rest and re-charge and, whilst our students returned last week, many teachers have been busy with planning for the year from the middle of January. This year we have welcomed three new teachers to our staff; Prue in Class One, Eva teaching Drama and English in the High School and Jess teaching History and Careers.
At our first College meeting for the year, the new College Chair was elected. This year we will be working with a team of teachers in the “Chair” position – congratulations and welcome to the position to Rosina, Rachel K and Malcolm. I would like to thank Maree for the wonderful job she has done as Chair of the College of Teachers last year. Our College holds and nurtures the spiritual heart of the school and I thank Maree for the work she has done in leading this important part of the school.
Over the break, we also welcomed some new additions to our site. We have a new (temporary) classroom in the High School, with “Lemon Myrtle” room having been brought in and placed next to Lily PIlly room. Gavin has some amazing video footage of the building being lifted high in the air, over the trees, and put into place. We will try to upload a link to the footage to our School website. The new classroom is a temporary addition until we are able to build some more permanent classrooms. In this regard, the Master Planning process is continuing and we will have further information for our school community about this later this term. The other major building work over the holiday break was an addition to our Library, which will allow us to bring the book collections currency housed in the ICT office out into the library space, giving our ICT crew a little more room to work.
Finally, you may have noticed our new noticeboards on site. The large notice-board down at the carpark entrance to the school contains school notices. You will find copies of the bulletin, advertisements for school events and other key school documents on this noticeboard. We have another new noticeboard up at the Administration Office. This notice board is for appropriate notices from our school and local community. Please see Felicity in the office if you wish to place a notice on our community noticeboard.
What a wonderful last few weeks of term we have had. There have been so many special events on in the school that it seems there was almost not a day without a play, ceremony, showcase, excursion or special visitor. Our Christmas Markets last week were a lovely way for the community to come together at the end of the year. Congratulations and thank you to the Class 2 parents for their work on bringing this together.
As always, this has been a year full of wonderful learning, achievements to celebrate on every level, beautiful school community events and the joy of being a part of the development of young human beings.
I would like to close the year by thanking the dedicated, caring and hardworking teachers, aides and assistants in the school. Your hard work and never-failing care for the students is amazing. I would also like to thank the incredible administration, support and site team. Your hard work keeps this wonderful school functioning and allows our teachers to teach and our students to learn. Thank you also to all of the Class Coordinators and to the P&F executive for giving so generously of your time and skills to support the work of the school. I would like to thank all of the parents for entrusting your precious children into our care and working with us to support their learning and development. And finally, a huge thank you to our amazing students – you are the reason we are all here.
Please all have a safe and peaceful Christmas break. I look forward to seeing you all in the new school year.
Another busy week has ended and it seems that the end of the year is rushing towards us. With the Year 12 formal held this week, our graduating class have said their goodbyes to the school and are now enjoying a well-earned rest. I look upon our graduating students with a sense of pride and gratitude that we have been able to share in their journeys (some for more than 12 years).
When I draw my gaze back to our lovely Kindergarten children, I wonder what riddles we will have to solve together and what twists and turns our journey may take. Whilst it is wonderful to celebrate the lovely human beings who leave us in Year 12. the real enjoyment is in the journey we take together through the school years.
With this in mind, I ask that if you have any concerns about your child or any information you would like to share, please do contact your child’s teachers or guardians and have a conversation with them. We work best to support the children when we work together.
On another note, I have noticed that quite a lot of students are arriving late to school each morning. When a student arrives late, they miss the important morning verse and coming together of the class. They may also miss an introduction to a lesson or some morning circle activities. In addition to this, when a child walks into a class that has already started, their arrival disrupts the rest of the class (even when they try to enter quietly). Please support your child, and the rest of the class, by ensuring your child arrives at school on time each day.
We are now over half way through the term and there is so much happening around the school. HSC exams have now finished (thank you to the whole school community for your patience and understanding in supporting the ‘quiet zones’ throughout the exams). I am looking forward to the final Year 12 formal next week, when we will have the chance to celebrate and farewell our graduating class.
It’s wonderful to be back for Term 4. Last term ended on such a lovely high note with the graduation of our 2015 HSC students. Now the new term has started and we have just welcomed a new set of HSC student into their roles as the senior students in the school.
At the other end of the school, our Kindergarten children will soon start looking through the archway, towards their Classroom for next year. We are very pleased to announce that we have appointed Prue Ritchie as the Class One Teacher. Prue is an experienced and skilled Steiner teacher who is looking forward to taking the class on their journey through the Primary School.
Whilst we are on the subject of staff movements. I am sad to let you know that Joseph and Delaney will be leaving our school at the end of this year. Both Joseph and Delaney are very sad to be leaving our wonderful school, but both are leaving to take up exciting personal opportunities. I wish them both well, their expertise, passion and skill will be very much missed in the High School. We are now actively recruiting to fill these two positions for next year.
Recently a team of parents, teachers, students and administration staff worked together to develop and refine the school’s Mission and Vision statements. These statements clearly indicate our main purpose and what our highest ideal is as a school.
Term Times 8:30 ~ 3:30
Holidays 10:00 ~ 3:00
Fax: (02) 6684 7399