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

From the Principal

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.

At the beginning of the week, along with James Dods (Chair of the Board), I attended the Parents and Friends meeting.  The Parents and Friends group do such a good job of supporting the school and providing opportunities to build our school community.  I strongly encourage families to get involved with the P&F and help support our school.  At the moment, they are considering ideas for a social event for the school community.  If you have an idea for a social event to bring the adults within our school community together, please do contact Tanja Nelson (Chair of the P&F) to let her know.
This week I briefly attended the first Kindergarten meeting for the year.  It was lovely to see the new (and not so new) kindergarten parents there.  Settling our new little kindergarten children into the rhythms and routines of the kindergarten day is a big job and it is so important that our teachers are able to communicate clearly with the parents.
Finally, today I had the absolute joy of attending the Class 5 Indian Feast.  It was a great chance to dust off my sari and join the students for some wonderful dhal and rice.  Thank you to the parents who worked so hard to create this beautiful meal and thank you to Naina for organising the day for the students.  Those who looked carefully may even have seen Georgi from our Admin team dancing with the Bollywood Sisters.
Peace
Nerrida
Indian Feast Class 5

From The Principal

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.

Peace
Nerrida

From the Principal

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.

Read more

From The Principal

Hello,
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.

Mission (why are we here?)
To provide a nurturing, creative and academic education inspired by the indications of Rudolf Steiner for a healthy social life and the developing human being.
Vision (what do we want to achieve?)
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.
Thank you to the parents, staff and students who contributed to the development of these two important statements – they eloquently sum up our purpose and vision.Peace
Nerrida

From The Principal

Hello everyone,

What a special week this has been for our school community! The Spring Fair was a wonderful community event with such a feeling of warmth, sharing and celebration. Congratulations to the Class Three parents for developing a vision for the Fair and then making it happen. Thank you to all of our school community for your work together to make the day so special. It was really wonderful to see the high level of participation from our High School student in almost every aspect of the fair. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how participation and communication are needed to build community and the Spring Fair was a lovely example of this.

The week continued in a lovely spirit with our Year 12 students celebrating their last days at the school. There has been such a feeling of warmth, gratitude, sadness and excitement from our graduating class. On Wednesday, a group of Year 12 students painted a beautiful mural on the wall of the D&T building as a thank you gift and then on Wednesday afternoon the students made a wonderful afternoon tea for the teachers to express their gratitude. Then yesterday the whole school gathered for the formal graduation ceremony. This was a moving event and a real celebration of the journey these students have undertaken. Several parents have asked for a copy of my address to the students and so I have included it in this bulletin.

I wish everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday break.

Peace
Nerrida

The beautiful land on which our school is built has a history stretching back to the beginning of the dreaming. We are privileged to have the use of it now. I would like to acknowledge that this ceremony is being held on the traditional lands of the Arakwal people of the Bundjalung Nation, and pay my respects to elders both past and present. I would also like to acknowledge the incredibly dedicated and caring team of teachers who have worked with our wonderful graduating class over the years.

To our graduating students, today marks a special moment in your lives. For thirteen years you have been at school. You have played. You have made friends. You have learned how to read and write and how numbers work. You have learned how to follow the rules and, later, how to ask questions about the rules and think for yourself. You have learned how to get on with others and be part of a group. You have learned about history and geography and art and music. You have discovered what things you are good at and you have learned how to work at the things that don’t come so easy. You’ve learned how to celebrate the passing of the seasons and how to be part of our school community.

Some of you have been at this school since kindergarten and some of you joined us a little later. Through all of this learning and growing, the most important things you have started to discover are who you are and what you believe in. The quest to understand these things doesn’t stop here, it goes on for the rest of your lives.
When I graduated from school there was no such thing as mobile phones, eftpos or ATMs (we paid cash), petrol cost 36 cents a litre and there were about 4 and a ½ billion people in the world. When you started school, 13 years ago, Apple had just launched a little music program called “ITunes”, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat did not exist and neither did the term ‘social media’ and there were 6.3 billion people in the world. Today, we carry personal computers, in the form of mobile phones, around in our pockets, a spacecraft has just passed the outermost planet in our solar system, robots work to complete jobs ranging from making cars to performing complex surgery on human beings, the world’s climate is becoming increasingly unstable and there are almost 7 and a half billion people on our planet.

Our world is changing and the change is happening quickly. It is almost impossible to imagine what it will look like in 2028 when today’s kindergarten children graduate. So what can I say to you today as you prepare step out into a complex, changing and challenging world?

I could tell you to go out there and follow your dreams – but I won’t as I already know you are going to do it, you are doing now. I could tell you that now that you have graduated, the world is yours – but I won’t because it isn’t.
Instead I am going to ask that you step out into the world with an attitude of kindness. That you walk gently and try to see, really see, what it is to be the other. Remember the story of Parzifal and be prepared to ask, “what ails thee?” Then have the courage to act out of this kindness. Do what you know is right, even when the doing might not directly serve your own wants and desires.

Go out into the world 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).

Class of 2015, we, your teachers, your family and your school community, are so 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 fulfill the highest, truest expression of yourselves as the wonderful human beings you are.

From The Principal

Hello everyone,
This week I was having a discussion with some parents and teachers about what makes a healthy school community and how we can work to build this.  One of the central pillars of “community” is involvement and participation.  There are many opportunities for parents to get involved at our school.  At the class level, there are reading programs, craft programs, class meetings and other projects and activities.  There are also festivals, showcases and special occasions like this week’s Book Week celebrations (more about that later).
Another part of having a healthy school community is having clear communication and opportunity for dialogue, discussion and debate.  There are a number of forums for this within the school, including our regular Friday markets (where members of the management team and the Board are frequently in attendance and happy to talk), the Chai Tent (organised by the P&F as an opportunity to relax over a cup of chai and have a chat with me), monthly P&F meetings (the Chair of the Board and I try to always attend these meetings), the AGM and Special General Meetings of the Association and various surveys, bulletins, class meetings and community events.
The responsibility for building and maintaining a healthy school community rests with all of us.  The challenge is for each of us to get involved and play a part in the continuous forming of our wonderful school.  When we are working side by side for the common good, when we are communicating clearly, positively and openly, then we are working in a healthy community.
This week we had a lovely example of our primary school community coming together to celebrate Book Week.  The students (and teachers) really look forward to this event and love the opportunity to dress up as their favourite character.  I am sure there were a few parents (and teachers) up late on Wednesday night organising costumes.  This year the teachers chose the theme of “Winnie the Pooh” for the celebration.  It’s not often that I get the chance to dress up and have some fun …. so I jumped at the chance to be Kanga (sorry about the pun).
I hope to see some of you at the Repair, Care and Maintenance day at the school tomorrow.
Peace,
Nerrida