Parent Engagement

Following on from our recent parent engagement evening, we will be including two of the discussion questions from the event in each Bulletin. If you were unable to attend on the night (or if you did attend and have further ideas to add), please feel free to send in any of your thoughts, ideas or comments. All ideas are welcome. The general feeling of the evening was positive, constructive and collaborative and any ideas or suggestions you have would add to the terrific information we have already collected. Please email your thoughts and ideas to principal@http://capebyronsteiner.nsw.edu.au .

1. How could we support parents to find out more about the ethos/philosophy of the school?

2. What does good quality communication between parents and the school look like in our school setting? How can we do this better?

Important ~ Change of dress code for K-12

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.

Student Absences

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.

From the Principal

Hello everyone,

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.

Peace
Nerrida

Parent Involvement in the School – Important Meeting

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.

From The Principal

Hello everyone,

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.

Peace
Nerrida

From the Principal

Hello everyone,

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.

Peace
Nerrida

From the Principal

Hello everyone,

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.

Peace
Nerrida

Do You Need to Talk to Your Child’s Teacher?

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.

A Safety Plea ….

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.

Peace,
Nerrida

From the Principal

Hello,

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.

Peace

Nerrida

The Kingdom of Childhood ~ a free study group in Term 2

Kingdom of Childhood image

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!

From the Principal

Hello everyone,

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.

Peace
Nerrida

A Gorgeous Autumn Festival

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!

Autumn Festival 2016 Nerrida 1

Photo:  Nerrida Johnson

Autumn Festival 2016 Nerrida 2

Photo:  Nerrida Johnson

Autumn Festival 2016 Irish Joe Lynch

Photo:  Nerrida Johnson

Autumn Festival 2016 Felicity 1

Photo:  Felicity Dynes

From The Principal

Dear Parents,

As you may have noticed, we are now circulating our Bulletin every two weeks.  We hope that changing to a fortnightly cycle will reduce the workload for our Administration Staff whilst still providing interesting and timely communication to our School Community.
Last weekend approximately 30 dedicated and hard-working parents attended our Repair, Care and Maintenance Day.  They worked on a range of tasks around the school and made a real difference to our beautiful school site.  Thank you to those parents who came and helped, your contribution is very much appreciated.
This week I was lucky enough to watch some of the Year 8 performance of excerpts from Romeo and Juliet.  The performances showed such a lovely understanding of both the emotional depth and the subtlety of Shakespeare’s word-play, they were a real credit to both the students and the quality of teaching.  Well done Year 8 and Brook.
Preparations are now well underway for our Autumn Festival.  This week students were involved in a rehearsal of the event and each day preparations continue across the school.  Please make sure you mark the date, Monday 21st March from 9.15 am, in your calendar.  The festivals are such important occasions in the life of our school community, providing us with the opportunity to share together in marking the cycle of our seasons.
Finally, it is wonderful to have all of our Year 9 students and our staff back at school after the Year 9 camp.  The response from both our staff and our school community to the recent critical incident has been truly affirming.  We have a strong school community who are really able to pull together and care for each other when it matters most.  I would like to personally thank the school community for the support you have shown, both to those directly involved and to those of us on the school staff working to respond to the incident.  Your support is very much appreciated.
Peace
Nerrida