From the Co-Heads of School

What a beautiful start to this term we have had. The grounds are looking wonderful, the weather is perfect, and the students have returned with so much energy and purpose. It has also been a busy start of term.
Along with all the usual life and energy in the school, we have also been concentrating on revising our mobile phone policy – specifically in relation to internet-enabled smartphone use by lower High School students. Conversations with parents, wider research on the impact of smartphones on wellbeing, and our own observations and experience, increasingly worry us about this issue.

Whilst we know that some technology can be a good servant, it can also be a very bad master, and it is incredibly hard for young people to not be mastered by smartphone technology. Smartphones are, in one sense, an unusual technology, because they are designed to be used in isolation from social checks and balances, and they open up unfettered access to the entire internet. In this, they offer huge temptation to our young students – temptation to explore areas of the web, for which they are not yet developmentally ready. Not only that, but the presence of pop-ups and the access to strangers means students regularly have unsolicited – and often horrible – social-media messages/images/videos foist upon them.

So, in response to this complex situation, we are in the process of seeking ways to reduce these risks and better support our whole school community, and especially our younger High School students.
We recently discussed student smartphone use and risk with Class 7 parents and they were keen for a supportive approach, designed to minimise risk for their children, to be implemented at our school.
Last week we also had some wonderful ‘student-voice’ sessions in Classes 8 and 9 to gain their perspectives. It was so refreshing to hear the maturity and balance in discussion with these students, who, despite being wary of any possible change to our mobile phone policies, could reflect on the difficulties with open-minded warmth and intelligence.

This week we are happy to announce that we have now initiated a new ‘Leave Phone At Home’ approach, beginning with our Class 7 students. Essentially, we have asked Class 7 Parents to support us in ensuring their child’s smartphone is not brought to school. This is because we are particularly concerned about students being tempted to take them out of bags to use them in unsupervised moments, such as when they are on the bus.

Concurrently, we are also in the process of refining a system which may allow smartphone permission for some particular individual circumstances; that is, for any student who must carry a smartphone, for example, to monitor a medical condition.

In the near future, we will be communicating on this topic with parents of Class 8 & 9 students, so that they too can join the conversation; but for now, we just wanted to reassure all of our school community that we are hearing and responding to the many concerns around this area of 21st century life.
Friday Markets
We do hope you are thrilled that, with the easing of Covid restrictions, we are once again beginning to open up some of our school community events, beginning with our Friday Market this week. We are also busily envisioning and planning festivals and other events; while conversations about what else we could do, have begun at P&F…
And so, as we move closer to Winter days, we leave you with these thoughts, from the American author John Steinbeck and the English writer Edith Sitwell:

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?”
“Winter is the time for comfort … for the touch of a friendly hand and for talk by the fire: it is the time for home.”

Happy Term 2 and best wishes
Paddy & Teera

Friday Markets are back!

Welcome back to Friday Markets!  We are so pleased to welcome our beloved Friday Markets back.  Please be reminded that parents need to be responsible for their children’s behaviour and school boundaries.  This means that children are able to play, calmly, with supervision, on the top green area, under the Dome and on the low monkey bars only.  The high monkey bars and sandpit are out of bounds please, as are other areas of the school grounds.  Teachers will be present and we ask that parents please be responsible for their own children and keep them in their sites.
The Markets will officially close at 3:45pm.

For the current CBRSS Community.

From Gael

Dear Cape Byron School Community,

I would like to acknowledge and pay respect to the Arakwal people of the Bundjalung Nation, the Traditional Custodians of this land. I first walked onto this site twenty-seven years ago as a parent, my youngest was starting kindy and one of my daughters joined Class Five. Over those years I worked for a time in the front office, taught ballroom dancing now and again and did a bit of storytelling when asked. Before moving here, my association with Steiner schools had begun as a founding member of the Sophia Mundi Steiner School in Melbourne.

A decade or so ago, I came back, this time as an English teacher in the High School. I fell in love with a class of Year Seven’s and was fortunate enough to become their Guardian. I loved my six years as Class Guardian. There is an old saying, the teacher always gains more than the student. That has certainly been the case for me. To all the dear students it’s been my privilege to teach past and present I say thank you.

To Management, for the opportunities I’ve been given, thank you. To all my exceptional colleagues in the High School, thank you, your support, laughter, camaraderie, and love stitched a thread of friendship that will connect us always. To all the Primary and Kindergarten teachers, support staff and office staff, your kindness towards me has often astounded me, I am humbled by your generosity of spirit. Thank you. And to all the parents, thank you for entrusting your children into my care. it’s been a privilege to teach them and an honour to learn from them, particularly in my role as Learning Support Coordinator in the High School. While it is bittersweet to say goodbye, I take my leave with a heart full of gratitude knowing my grandchildren will also thrive here. I’m off now to write the next chapter …


A special farewell afternoon tea for Gael, a very special friend of CBRSS

Repair Care & Maintenance Morning Saturday 15th May 9am – 12.30pm.

We are recommencing our group RCM Activities with the first one being centred around Kindergarten.
Just turn up at Kindergarten on the day & there will be a variety of tasks to do from oiling, weeding, cleaning, organising etc. A fun morning to get to know other families & help the school out.
Every family is charged $500 per year which can be worked off by performing 20 RCM hours per year.
If you can’t make it on the day you can ring Gavin on 0427 847 400 & arrange another time to do your hours which can be during school time.

Students departing early from school

Please be mindful that if you are collecting your child early for any reason, you must come to Reception to report yourself as being present on-site and to wait for your student so you can then sign them out. Reception will do this for you once the parent and student are seen together.

It is very important that we know which students are on-site to ensure we are able to keep all students safe.

Please inform us by email asap, prior to a planned early departure from school, that you intend to collect your student early, this will enable us to inform their teacher and minimise the disruption to the rest of the class.

If they are Primary students we can then ask their teacher to remember to have them sent up to Reception for collection.

If they are High School students ideally the student can take responsibility for themselves by remembering the appointment and coming to Reception to meet you and to sign out.

It is immensely helpful if we are not expected to spend time collecting your student from their lesson and walking them up to Reception.

Your support in following this procedure is appreciated.



A Special Visitor…

Classes 2-6 experienced a wonderful morning with Wadjiny this week, who shared lots of language, stories, dance and song with which students and teachers warmly and enthusiastically engaged.

Class 4

Steiner classrooms and Main Lesson books are full of vibrant art, often facilitated by the teacher. At the end of the lesson the children place their work on the floor to look at theirs and each other’s, passing comments of appreciation and observation. Teachers go through this process with them too, but unlike the children they are also seeing the artist in each photo too. Here is an example of a classes title page each depicting Odin. Can you see how each drawing shows something of the child? If you’re a Class Four parent, can you find your child?

Class Four Teacher

Class 7 Camp

Class 7 enjoyed a week-long camp out west near the town of Bingara. We visited the Myall Creek Massacre Memorial where we were given a tour and learnt how the descendants of both perpetrators and victims were able to create the redemptive power of reconciliation. We stayed at The Living Classroom which is a sustainable agriculture education centre in the town of Bingara. We explored amazing geological features such as Sawn Rocks with its geometrical lava flows and the Glacial area of Rocky Creek where we swam in the chilly freshwater. One of the highlights was riding horses through the river and travelling with the whole class on horseback through the bush. It was great fun and an insight into an inland country town, it’s past, present and potential future.


Class 7 Guardian

Congratulations to Kaia – Class 11 Student

We are so inspired by the work of Kaia Walton and wanted to share with our wider community what he has recently produced. We think you will love it too! Kaia – known artistically as Kai-Fi – is a passionate and talented music producer who is being mentored by Oka, an indigenous dub reggae band, and the Brisbane City Council QUBE Effect, a program that aims to nurture young talent. Kaia is the youngest ever and only teenager to be part of this program! The culmination of his work so far is The Calling featuring Natty.D, a music clip which he also co-directed and that explores his connection to two worlds: growing up in Brisbane while still having strong connections to the Pacific, in big and small ways. To view Kai-Fi’s work – and to vote in the People’s Choice award – click on the link.–6IKCw46o8.

It is amazing work and he is only 16! Congratulations Kaia.

Peter and Alix,

Class 11 Guardians

As part of this program – Kaia (KAI-FI) performed live in the Fortitude Valley, pictures below.

Harmony Week

In term one the SRC organised an event in the High School to celebrate Harmony Week. Harmony Week celebrates Australia’s cultural diversity. It’s about inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone. Orange is the colour chosen to represent Harmony Week. Traditionally, orange signifies social communication and meaningful conversations. It also relates to the freedom of ideas and encouragement of mutual respect.

CBRSS High School Chess Club


CBRSS Study Group – Sol Circle

FOREWORD by Arthur G. Zajonc
We live and act within a world whose deeper aspects are hidden from our physical senses. Yet each of us possesses other faculties which, when cultivated, can lift the veil that separates us from spiritual knowledge. In this book, Rudolf Steiner charts a meditative path that leads both to inner peace and to enhanced powers of soul, and finally to the lifting of that veil. The road is long but secure, and is open to everyone. Its fruits of inner serenity, strength, and wisdom benefit not only the seeker but others as well, and certainly the world stands more than ever in need of insights and actions that are born of the spirit. How to Know Higher Worlds is, therefore, not only a personal guide to the spirit, but also a path through self-knowledge to compassionate action in the world.

Access a PDF of How to Know Higher Worlds here.

Listen to How to Know Higher Worlds here.

We warmly invite past & present members of the CBRSS community to join Sol Circle in Term 2 and 3 as we study this foundational text by Rudolf Steiner. To register please contact Yvette

An invitation to the final exhibition of the collected paintings of Hans Schulz.

Shearwater invites you to an exhibition of the collected works of Hans Schulz, including paintings, sketches and photographs spanning many decades. The dynamic partnership between Hans and his wife Pam was the source of many creative initiatives, and the School acknowledges Pam’s own contributions and work, including the nurturing of anthroposophical arts at Blue Knob Studio, founded by Hans and Pam and home to many performances and gatherings.

This is the final time Hans’ work will be presented in such a way and we are privileged to have Hans himself talking about his paintings. There will be a guest musical performance by April Galetti and Ken Naughton to open the exhibition, followed by a short speech performance by Riana Vanderbyl and an introduction by Hans and Pam’s daughter, Celia Linklater.

The exhibition will be held at the Shearwater School Hall, 349 Left Bank Rd, Mullumbimby, on Saturday May 15th, between 10am and 2pm, with the opening presentations commencing at 11am. Some paintings will be for sale, for collection after the exhibition. Refreshments will be served and people are invited to stay, reminisce and converse.

Having Your Smartphone Nearby Takes a Toll on Your Thinking

by Kristen Duke, Adrian Ward, Ayelet Gneezy, and Maarten Bos

In two lab experiments, nearly 800 people completed tasks designed to measure their cognitive capacity. Before completing these tasks, the researchers asked participants to either: place their phones in front of them (face-down on their desks); keep them in their pockets or bags; or leave them in another room. The results were striking: the closer the phone to the participant, the worse she fared on the task. The mere presence of our smartphones is like the sound of our names or a crying baby — something that automatically exerts a gravitational pull on our attention. Resisting that pull takes a cognitive toll.

“Put your phone away” has become a commonplace phrase that is just as often dismissed. Despite wanting to be in the moment, we often do everything within our power to the contrary. We take out our phones to take pictures in the middle of festive family meals, and send text messages or update our social media profiles in the middle of a date or while watching a movie. At the same time, we are often interrupted passively by notifications of emails or phone calls. Clearly, interacting with our smartphones affects our experiences. But can our smartphones affect us even when we aren’t interacting with them — when they are simply nearby?

In recent research, we investigated whether merely having one’s own smartphone nearby could influence cognitive abilities. In two lab experiments, nearly 800 people completed tasks designed to measure their cognitive capacity. In one task, participants simultaneously completed math problems and memorized random letters. This tests how well they can keep track of task-relevant information while engaging in a complex cognitive task. In the second task, participants saw a set of images that formed an incomplete pattern, and chose the image that best completed the pattern. This task measures “fluid intelligence,” or people’s ability to reason and solve novel problems. Performance on both of these tasks is affected by individuals’ available mental resources.

Our intervention was simple: before completing these tasks, we asked participants to either place their phones in front of them (face-down on their desks), keep them in their pockets or bags, or leave them in another room. Importantly, all phones had sound alerts and vibration turned off, so the participants couldn’t be interrupted by notifications.

The results were striking: individuals who completed these tasks while their phones were in another room performed the best, followed by those who left their phones in their pockets. In last place were those whose phones were on their desks. We saw similar results when participants’ phones were turned off: people performed worst when their phones were nearby, and best when they were away in a separate room. Thus, merely having their smartphones out on the desk led to a small but statistically significant impairment of individuals’ cognitive capacity — on par with effects of lacking sleep.

This cognitive capacity is critical for helping us learn, reason, and develop creative ideas. In this way, even a small effect on cognitive capacity can have a big impact, considering the billions of smartphone owners who have their devices present at countless moments of their lives. This means that in these moments, the mere presence of our smartphones can adversely affect our ability to think and problem-solve — even when we aren’t using them. Even when we aren’t looking at them. Even when they are face-down. And even when they are powered off altogether.

Why are smartphones so distracting, even when they’re not buzzing or chirping at us? The costs of smartphones are inextricably linked to their benefits. The immense value smartphones provide, as personal hubs connecting us to each other and to virtually all of the world’s collective knowledge, necessarily positions them as important and relevant to myriad aspects of our everyday lives. Research in cognitive psychology shows that humans learn to automatically pay attention to things that are habitually relevant to them, even when they are focused on a different task. For example, even if we are actively engaged in a conversation, we will turn our heads when someone says our name across the room. Similarly, parents automatically attend to the sight or sound of a baby’s cry.

Our research suggests that, in a way, the mere presence of our smartphones is like the sound of our names — they are constantly calling to us, exerting a gravitational pull on our attention. If you have ever felt a “phantom buzz” you inherently know this. Attempts to block or resist this pull takes a toll by impairing our cognitive abilities. In a poignant twist, then, this means that when we are successful at resisting the urge to attend to our smartphones, we may actually be undermining our own cognitive performance.

Are you affected? Most likely. Consider the most recent meeting or lecture you attended: did anyone have their smartphone out on the table? Think about the last time you went to the movies, or went out with friends, read a book, or played a game: was your smartphone close by? In all of these cases, merely having your smartphone present may have impaired your cognitive functioning.

Our data also show that the negative impact of smartphone presence is most pronounced for individuals who rank high on a measure capturing the strength of their connection to their phones — that is, those who strongly agree with statements such as “I would have trouble getting through a normal day without my cell phone” and “It would be painful for me to give up my cell phone for a day.” In a world where people continue to increasingly rely on their phones, it is only logical to expect this effect to become stronger and more universal.

We are clearly not the first to take note of the potential costs of smartphones. Think about the number of fatalities associated with driving while talking on the phone or texting, or of texting while walking. Even hearing your phone ring while you’re busy doing something else can boost your anxiety. Knowing we have missed a text message or call leads our minds to wander, which can impair performance on tasks that require sustained attention and undermine our enjoyment. Beyond these cognitive and health-related consequences, smartphones may impair our social functioning: having your smartphone out can distract you during social experiences and make them less enjoyable.

With all these costs in mind, however, we must consider the immense value that smartphones provide. In the course of a day, you may use your smartphone to get in touch with friends, family, and coworkers; order products online; check the weather; trade stocks; read HBR; navigate your way to a new address, and more. Evidently, smartphones increase our efficiency, allowing us to save time and money, connect with others, become more productive, and remain entertained.

So how do we resolve this tension between the costs and benefits of our smartphones?

Smartphones have distinct uses. There are situations in which our smartphones provide a key value, such as when they help us get in touch with someone we’re trying to meet, or when we use them to search for information that can help us make better decisions. Those are great moments to have our phones nearby. But, rather than smartphones taking over our lives, we should take back the reins: when our smartphones aren’t directly necessary, and when being fully cognitively available is important, setting aside a period of time to put them away — in another room — can be quite valuable.

With these findings in mind, students, employees, and CEOs alike may wish to maximize their productivity by defining windows of time during which they plan to be separated from their phones, allowing them to accomplish tasks requiring deeper thought. Moreover, asking employees not to use their phones during meetings may not be enough. Our work suggests that having meetings without phones present can be more effective, boosting focus, function, and the ability to come up with creative solutions. More broadly, we can all become more engaged and cognitively adept in our everyday lives simply by putting our smartphones (far) away.

From the Harvard Business Review

Worries about sex, drugs & technology

From Conscious Creative Courageous Living with Children, Susan Laing’s resources for understanding

With the media continually reporting stories on the worrying behaviours of some Tweens and Teens today, many parents become anxious about their own children’s possible use of drugs, early sexual intercourse and the effects of the new technologies and all these allow access to. While the consequences for these children and teens at high risk are great, and our concern for them remains, their numbers are actually smaller than is usually assumed. The majority of young people, perhaps even 85 %, do not regularly partake in unhealthy behaviours related to these risks.

Parents need to do a number of things: assess the risks for their own children, and act to alleviate those risks; educate their children well on all the issues involved, for example on sex education, cyber safety, sensible and safe use of technology, and the effects of drugs on the body; get help for those at high risk; then, having done what you can, work together with your children with trust in helping them to keep themselves safe and healthy, while still allowing them to take on new responsibilities, experiences and adventures.

Click this link to read 3 articles available on sex, drugs and technology for pre-teens and teenagers.

World Karma

All desire to withdraw, to protect oneself from the influences of unavoidable world-karma, emanates from weakness. But it is Anthroposophy alone that can make the human heart and will vigorous enough to develop the force which arms and strengthens us in face of these influences. Any kind of advice to withdraw from modern life, or to engage in a sort of hothouse cultivation of the spiritual life, should never find favour in the sphere of our movement. – Rudolf Steiner