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.

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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

From The Principal

Hello everyone,

It seems that there is a hint of the coming Spring in the air.  The weather seems just a bit warmer, the grass is a bit greener and the plovers nesting in the grass in my front yard are fiercely protecting their babies.   Meanwhile at school, the Spring Fair preparations are in full swing with raffle tickets selling, gardening activities happening and preparations underway for the great Spring Fair Pickle-off.
The feeling as we move out of the quiet, reflective time of winter, is one of hope, vitality and lightness.  For the younger children, it can be a time of extra energy and testing new boundaries (think of new lambs playing and jumping in the sunshine).  As I look around the playground in the kindergarten and the primary school, that is exactly the image that can be seen as children laugh, play and test out new boundaries in the warm sunshine.
Another sign that Spring is just around the corner is that it is time to spruce up our school again on Saturday at our Repair, Care and Maintenance Day.  This is a terrific opportunity to join together  with other members of our school community to give the school grounds some extra, tender, loving care.  There are jobs to suit everybody and you can come for a little while or stay for the whole day.  The difference in our school is really noticeable after an R.C & M day.  Being part of a school community isn’t just about paying fees or coming to a job, it’s also about joining together to contribute to something wonderful and worthwhile.  I hope to see many of you there.
Finally, there are a few illnesses travelling around the school at the moment (chicken pox, viruses and colds).  If your child is unwell, please keep them home until they are better.  This will serve the two-fold purpose of allowing them a speedier recovery and also helping stop the further spread of the illness.
Peace,
Nerrida

From The Principal

Hello everyone,

The school has been a hive of activity this week.  We have welcomed a number of new students to our classes since the beginning of this term and it has been wonderful to see excited families beginning their journey with us.
Julie and Teera have been conducting Kindergarten interviews over the last few days and should soon be able to advise parents in relation to kindergarten enrolments for next year.  This is always a difficult process as we know we only have a limited number of places each year and some families will miss out.  Yvette, Teera and Julie work with great care, integrity and sensitivity in this process.
Class 6 students presented their play to a very appreciative audience this week.  The process of putting on a play is not only a lot of fun, but it provides great opportunities for growth and learning.  The days leading up the play often include the tension of forgotten lines, prop and wardrobe malfunctions and last minute changes to the script.  Then, finally the play comes together and the students have a wonderful sense of both group and individual achievement.  Working through the challenges and finally presenting the play is a wonderful resilience building exercise for students (and the teacher!).
In the High School, students and some teachers have been involved in a lip syncing competition at lunch times.  This has been organised as a house event and the participation has been inspiring.  It is wonderful seeing students so confident and comfortable performing in front of their peers.
Everywhere I look, across the school, I see teachers who are utterly dedicated to their students and their practice.  This dedication translates into happy, engaged students who really want to be at school.
Finally, today I spent some time looking at our hive of native bees.  I regularly go down to the hive when I need a break from the office.  The bees are a little slower and less active in the colder weather.  They huddle at the entrance to the hive, watching the slow procession of bees march down the landing board and take off in search of pollen for the hive.  If you have some spare moments at the school, please do go down and have a look at the hive.  It is in the garden outside the Class 3 room.
Peace
Nerrida

From The Principal

Hello everyone,

I have had a wonderful week this week, meeting with parents and teachers in a range of forums at school. On Monday night I attended the regular Board meeting where I worked with the Directors on a range of issues relating to the current and future operations of the school.  On Tuesday night I joined with our regular study group to discuss the Steiner lectures we are currently studying.  On Wednesday I met with a group of parents to share thoughts and ideas about the vision, mission and values of the school and then on Wednesday night I joined with Gael and Andy to meet with Class 9 parents. This morning I had a wonderful meeting with Tanja and Lisa from the P&F.   I love having the opportunity to meet and talk with members of the school community and this has been a particularly fruitful week.
In order to provide further opportunities for communication with the school community the P&F and generously offered to organise a Chai tent at the Friday markets where you can come and catch up with me over a lovely cup of chai.  I will be available to answer any questions and also to talk about current issues, plans and activities in the school.  The first chai tent event will be on the Friday market on 7th August.   For those parents who are unable to come to this event, but would like an opportunity to catch up with me in an informal setting, I will also be available for questions and discussion following the P&F meeting on Monday 7th September.  Of course, if you need to communicate at any other time, please feel free to call, email or set up an appointment to come and see me.
Finally, just a reminder that I sent out the link to our school survey via email earlier this week.  If you have not yet completed the survey, please do take some time to share your thoughts and ideas as we will be using some of this information to help us to plan for future improvement across the school.  In case you did not receive the email, the link for the parent survey is http://bit.ly/1VrNhTi . The link to the student survey is http://bit.ly/1LrVy6L  Your assistance in completing this survey would be very much appreciated.
Peace
Nerrida

From The Principal

Hello everyone,The start of a new term is always exciting as the school bursts into life with teachers and students all happy to be back working and learning together.We are currently working with the Embedding Excellence Program, an AIS initiative aimed at helping us to evaluate our performance and then make plans for improvement across the school.  The first step in this process is to work with the Vision, Mission and Values of the school.  Our teaching staff participated in a workshop on the first day of term and we are now inviting parents to join in the process of developing a Vision, Mission and Values statement which accurately reflects who we are now as a school and what we aspire to be.  Please see the invitation attached in this bulletin.  I encourage you to join us and be a part of this process.

As a further part of this program, we will be surveying teachers, support staff, some year levels of students, and the parent community.  Emails will be sent out next Monday with the link to the survey, please do take the time to complete the survey and share your thoughts and ideas about our school.

Peace
Nerrida

From The Principal

The end of the term has arrived and as I watch excited students and very tired teachers leaving the site, I am reflecting on what a busy, productive and event-filled term this has been.
There have been school camps, excursions, visits from musicians, singers, dancers, overseas students and their teachers, performances, special activities, after school activities, the introduction of a new school constitution, our Annual General meeting, a range of parent and staff meetings, and a range of rich, engaging, inspired and thoughtfully prepared learning experiences in every part of the school.  No wonder everyone is ready for a break!
Our Winter festival last week was, once again a beautiful, inspiring and moving experience.  Our senior students showed wonderful leadership in assisting with the set-up and running of the event.  The team of staff, lead by Tom and Loani, put such a lot of work into ensuring that this is a very special occasion in the life of our school.  Each year we learn a little more from the year before, and each year our staff create something very special.
This week, our Year 9 and 10 students presented their Electives showcase.  The artworks were expressive, creative and of such a wonderful standard.  The performance of “The Snow Queen”, was awe-inspiring (did anyone expect those goblins to come streaming down from their silk pods high up, near the ceiling of the hall?).  With beautiful set-design, wonderful music, truly funny clowning and clever use of audio-visuals, it was a wonderful showcase of just what our Year 9 and 10 students are capable of achieving.
Finally, today, we had a visit from some of our Cape Byron Alumni to talk to High School classes about their lives and the opportunities available to them once they had graduated. I was lucky enough to share lunch with them today and thought they were wonderful ambassadors for our school.
Thank you to staff, students and our school community for making this such a wonderful semester.  Have a safe, joyful and restful break and I look forward to seeing you again in the new term.
Peace
Nerrida

From The Principal

As the days grow shorter, it feels like we are getting ever busier.  Perhaps it is just because the end of the term is drawing near, the teachers are all writing reports, some classes are out on camps and excursions, the High School Electives Showcase night is almost upon us and there are a number of events happening in and around the school.  Thank goodness for the Winter Festival, which will give us a few moments of quiet reverence and reflection (as well as some beautiful sounds and sights).  You may have noticed the typo in last week’s bulletin.  Rest assured the Winter Festival is happening on Friday the 19th of June (next Friday)……. not the final day of term as was accidentally advertised.
This week we have been blessed with a wonderful visit from the African Children’s Choir.  Our students have really enjoyed sharing in a workshop with the children from the choir, hearing some of their stories and listening to their amazing music.  Thank you Loani for putting such a huge effort into making sure our school could be a part of this amazing tour.  It is a humbling experience to hear these children talk about some of the challenges of their lives in Uganda.  To look upon the lives of another with respect, care, empathy and an open heart is to experience being fully human.
Finally, it was wonderful to see some of the lovely crafts on display at the market this afternoon.  The Wednesday craft co-op have been meeting regularly and working away all term on some beautiful crafts.  My special little “King Winter” will take pride of place on my desk now. If you are interested in joining the craft group, please do come in on a Wednesday morning.  It is a great opportunity to chat and enjoy making with some other members of our school community.

Peace

Nerrida

From The Principal

“Let us recall how the year’s course, in its regular sequence through Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter has a spiritual content. How, in what appears outwardly during the year’s course, in Winter’s snow, Spring’s sprouting waxing life, in Summer’s life of blossoming and Autumn’s life of ripening and fruiting; how in all this which discloses itself physically to humankind, something spiritual is hidden, something spiritual sustains us.”
– Rudolf Steiner, (Festivals and their Meaning)

Winter has arrived and, whilst we do not have the experience of “Winter’s snow”, we nevertheless feel the change of the cold, crisp air, the clear winter night skies and the shorter days and longer nights.  We can also feel the change of the seasons within ourselves.  This is a more reflective time, a time when we can sense the need to “come inside” and experience our own selves in the stillness.  It is a lovely thing to take the time to quietly consider what it is that spiritually sustains each of us through all of the year.

Throughout the school, preparations are underway for our Winter Festival.  When I walked through the school this week there were High School children working away at making lanterns, primary school students practising beautiful festival songs and fire twirlers making their magic in the (empty) car park.

The celebration of festivals is a very important aspect of Steiner education. It is a wonderful opportunity for parents to take time to experience with their child a connection to the natural world and to give acknowledgement to something beyond busy every day activity. As they move through the school the children of all ages become familiar with the rhythm and certainty of the seasons and calendar of festivals. It brings certainty and security in a world of so much uncertainty. The beauty and traditions provide enrichment and allow everyone who participates to feel connected to the world and to each other.

We appeal to you to find ways to acknowledge the festivals through making the time to attend or being involved in discussions with your child about the meaning of each festival or season as it arises. Lantern making is a world-wide Steiner activity and the deeper meaning of bringing light into darkness is something that will live beyond the actual festival evening.  Perhaps now is the time for you to start working on your own lantern to join our lantern walk during the Winter Festival.

Peace

Nerrida