“To stand at our window, wrapped in the half-dark and watch the day disappear… is a moment of hygge.”
Louisa Thomsen Brits.
A few years ago, I came across a copy of Louisa Thomsen Brits’ “The Book of Hygge: the Danish Art of Contentment, Comfort and Connection”. This is a beautiful little book, filled with simple, life-affirming wisdom. At its heart is the experience of winter – or rather, the experience of togetherness, of connectedness, and of focusing on the here and now, that the long cold nights of a Scandinavian winter forces on the Danes.
Winter is naturally a season for slowing down. As the growth of plants slows, so the pace of nature slows. As humans, especially post-industrial (and now post-internet) humans, we can miss that. For us, technology means we can ignore the rhythms of the seasons – we can work when it is dark, we can “be productive” even when the weather is inclement.
And yet, what the Danes have realised, and embraced as a nation-defining philosophy – is that we are poorer, less healthy, if we do not embrace those rhythms. This is why we mark the seasons with our festivals, and we are thrilled to be marking this season with our Winter Festival in Bangalow. Students and staff have been busy preparing for this special night, making lanterns and learning winter songs, and we are all looking forward to this event.
Another Steiner School (Blue Mountains) also sees Winter Festivals as a time for reflection. They write:
“At its core [Winter] festival is a celebration of light. Many people are familiar with physical light representing the light of consciousness or the light of love in the world. Here, we offer everyone the chance to enter into a reflective space, bathed in beautiful sounds and sights, to focus at this time of relative darkness in outer nature on our own inner light.”
You will have heard, and will see in this newsletter, that this year we are offering our whole community an opportunity to reflect. Through our Strategic Survey we are asking you to reflect and let us know what you value about the school, and what you want to see grow in the future of the school – and I encourage all of our community to fill in the survey.
And, as we head towards our winter festival and the holidays, I also encourage all of us to slow down a little, and see winter as our time to pay “attention to the concerns of the human spirit,” and turn “towards a manner of living that prioritises simple pleasure, friendship and connection above consumption” (Brits).
I wish everyone in our community a wonderful, joy-filled season.
This may well be one of the most significant Reconciliation weeks in Australian History. With the new government change, Anthony Albonese and Penny Wong’s first comments after becoming Prime Minister / Foreign Minister was to acknowledge First Nations People and mention their intentions of endorsing the Uluru Statement From The Heart. This was a promising sign First Nations People will be recognised in the Constitution, have a voice in Parliament and a Makarrata will be created. This year we did a range of activities (listed below) to bring awareness to Reconciliation and the significance of the Uluru Statement From the Heart.
- Welcome to Country / Mural
This wonderful Mural that you can see on the side of the Hall near the entrance to the school has been 2 years in the making. Claire Sleeman has worked tirelessly and had many obstacles in her way to secure Kaitlyn who is an Arakwal First Nations Person. Kaitlyn did a wonderful Welcome to country in language and some teachers described her talking to the students as the most meaningful stories we have heard. Kaitlyn talked of significant and sacred sites around the Byron Shire and talked of her family and connection to Cabbage Tree Island mission where a lot of her family lived. Painting the Mural was a busy but beautiful two days where Claire coordinated as many students as possible to participate in painting the mural. The design of the mural represents the merging of the land and the ocean. The large carpet python represents the totem of Kaitlyn’s great grandfather, the dolphin represents the ancestors of the Arakwal women. The central organic lines and dotes are the river systems that flow through this land. The sun is the energy force for all life and the horseshoe shapes are people sitting on the Earth. A huge acknowledgement to Claire for all her hard work to get this project off the ground.
- Uluru Statement from the Heart
Students read the Uluru Statement From the Heart in year levels and discussed how it was composed, what it means and what the significance is. Find out more about the Uluru Statement.
- Welcome to Country
In Guardian this week, Students watched a TED talk on Jade Kennedy talking about Welcome to Country and the significant of it (watch it here). Students had fruitful discussions within their classes discussing what the video was about. It is a powerful video that gives some insights into what his people have experienced and you can’t help left feeling with Empathy for First Nations People.
- Flag Raising Ceremony
Last year, some of you might have noticed 3 new flag poles erected in the carpark. Our Reconciliation Action Plan Committee recognised the old flag pole held the Australian Flag higher than the Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Flags and we felt this didn’t sit well with the values we were trying to portray at CBRSS. The school invested in 3 flag poles of equal height and on Tuesday morning Paddy Innes-Hill led the high school in a Flag Raising Ceremony discussing different flag protocols and the symbolic meaning of flying the flags.
- Culturally Safe Libraries Program
I would like to introduce to you how our school library at CBRSS responds to creating a culturally inclusive space and contributing to achieving reconciliation. Firstly our library responds to and is implementing the Culturally Safe Libraries Program, the process has started and will be implemented across the collection. AUSTLANG Protocol 5 is recognised and used in our library where possible. Protocol 5 is about how collection content by and about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is described and classified in our catalogues and library management systems.
So what is a culturally safe library?
“A library that provides an environment that is emotionally safe for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; where people feel supported, can express themselves and their culture, history and identity with dignity and pride. An environment which fosters shared respect, meaning, knowledge and an opportunity to learn together without judgement.”
- In our school library this means being sensitive as to how books are catalogued and shelved.
- That indigenous peoples are widely represented across the collection and available for teachers and students to access from Kindergarten to Year 12, as picture books and teaching resources.
Resources and display for Reconciliation Week 2022 – some books from our collection on display this week.
Charlotte, from the CBRSS Library
A new Mural has been created and now installed at the entrance to the School. The Mural was created under the guidance of local indigenous Artist Kaitlyn Clark and completed over 2 days with the help of many CBRSS students and staff.
As you will know, all schools are legally required to record any student absences. Schools are also required to formally confirm with a parent that the parent acknowledges the absence. This is so that we can ensure that all students are safe. We have now simplified this process through the Parent App. We would like to request that all parents check if they have any unexplained student absences and acknowledge the record by asking you to Follow these steps
For only the second time since 2019 we will host an Elective Showcase for our whole CBRSS community.
What a joy it is to welcome you back to the school to celebrate the beautiful work of our students.
SAVE THE DATE: FRIDAY 17 JUNE.
We recommend an audience of high school age and above.
Class Five went to Tyalgum Ridge for their camp and explored the local caldera, challenged themselves with activities and camped out under the stars after cooking their own meals. We had a fantastic time bonding with each other and the world around us.
The SRC have been busy this semester. First, we organised the IDAHOBIT day (International Day Against Homophobia, Biophobia and Transphobia) where the high school dressed up in rainbow colours to show our support and to stand out against discrimination of the LGBTQIA+ community.
We also actively wanted to support the people who have been affected by the recent floods. The SRC students in year 7 and 9 lovingly made over 50 beautiful cotton tote bags which were filled by the SRC students (year 7,9 and 10) with sanitary items donated by IGA Byron bay and reusable keep cups and lunch boxes donated from seed and sprout.
During our assembly, Nena from Bunjum Aboriginal corporation, graciously accepted our care packs which were then distributed amongst the People of Cabbage Tree Island who are still living in temporary housing in Ballina. Special thank you to Vatika and Joss for helping us out.
Could you conceptualise, write and perform a poem in under two hours? How about as a team? Murwillumbah-based spoken word poet Sarah Temporal spent a morning with Class 10 recently and shared her passion for Slam Poetry that had everyone brainstorming, writing, scripting and performing their work in teams of four, all before recess. The poetry and performances the students produced – be it about burning pizza, body image, iced tea, listening, whispering and screaming, on the burden of being the generation to have to fix it all – was brilliant, thought provoking and moving. Great work Class 10!
Attending the leadership day in Sydney was a fantastic experience. It offered me an opportunity to meet fellow students who are also passionate about taking initiative in the world. We met the Governor of NSW, who we had to address as ‘Your Excellency’. Government House was beautiful, however, the formalities felt strange for someone who has never called a teacher Sir or Miss in her life! Afterwards, we visited the Parliament House. This was a great opportunity to meet the local representatives of our regions and I felt quite proud as many of the questions posed to them by students concerned future action for climate change, homelessness, and other socio-political issues. Overall the day was a great adventure-filled granting Lenny and I a deeper look into some of the workings of our government system. – Ayla Rinsky-Bryant, Class 12
Going to Government House and Parliament House in Sydney was an enlightening experience. Talking to other students and watching how the future leaders of the country and industry interacted with the Government apparatus was incredibly thought provoking. Many of the other students, given the opportunity to raise questions with the Governor (Margaret Beazley AC QC) or our local state members, had very incisive points to make that certainly put some of the adults in the room on the spot. To be amongst very politically literate young people, with mindsets indicative of critical thinking, made me proud to be a witness of and participant in the future of our society. I believe there are many great debates to be had and issues to be solved, and the thinkers of my generation certainly have the ability to do so. On a side note, it was pretty interesting to watch the Governor squirm when faced with, to be fair, quite vexing questions. Questions about how homelessness is being tackled in cities like Sydney (i.e. why all the anti-homeless architecture), how flood victims are being assisted, how prison reform is being instituted. – Lenny Dowling, Class 12
Last year a very special and much loved member of staff Eleni Mann retired after 20 years of teaching art at CBRSS. She shared with the children over all these years her depth of knowledge in understanding and using colour and taught them many artistic techniques such as watercolor, pastels, charcoal and resist. She encouraged them to stop and wonder at nature, to observe the smallest details as well as the majesty of sunsets and sunrises and the seasonal changes around us.
She has gifted the most beautiful painting to the school called ‘The Children’s Rose’ which will be hanging in the library.
Her inscription on the back reads –
This artwork is dedicated to all the children and students of Cape Byron Steiner School.
The Children’s Rose is an actual rose. It produces highly fragrant blooms. The petals slowly unfurl from a single or cluster of flowers.
The bush is robust, with few thorns and grows tall and upright.
The ROSE represents the ‘heart’ and is a symbol of beauty.
This gift is for my appreciation and gratitude to this school.
‘A timeless flower’.
Created with grace from Eleni Mann, Specialist Art teacher 2002-2021
The last primary class she taught was our current Class 6 and here they are with the ‘Children’s rose’ painting.
Thank you Eleni from us all at CBRSS for your beautiful painting and all that you shared with the students and teachers in your time at Cape Byron xxx
Today I, and the almost complete crew of the Class 11 Drama and English Extension elective classes, went to Brisbane and watched the wondrous Jane Eyre at QPAC. Since I haven’t read the book (Extension students have) I was gripping my chair with every twist and turn of the plot. The acting and stagecraft were superb to see. But I have to say the highlight of the excursion for me were our little school bus antics and trying to find a car park that would fit a minivan in rush hour Brisbane madness. With our combined manifestation powers, however, just when we were beginning to give up hope, we prevailed. I apologise to my Year 9 English teacher: the hero’s journey really does exist outside of fairy tales. – Raman Jahns, Class 11 Drama
The Engineers Australia Newcastle Division would like to invite high school students interested in a career in Engineering to attend a free online event Discover Engineering on Thursday 23rd June from 4.30pm – 5:30pm.
Join in our Discover Engineering forum session to gain insight into the different pathways to a career in Engineering. You will be hearing from all different members of the engineering team (Professional, Associates and Technologists) about how they have reached where they are today. We have also invited a panel consisting of representatives from 3 different universities as well as TAFE NSW, so bring along any burning questions you may have about engineering courses and enrolment.
This FREE event is open to all students from years 7-12, parents and teachers are also welcome to attend. To register, please visit here https://cvent.me/XDEmkr
Set yourself up for your own unique pathway into an Engineering career!
Upcoming concert by Amatori Orchestra on June 18th (Bangalow 3pm) and 19th (Ballina 3pm).
Two of our school’s string teachers will be performing. It’s a great repertoire, fast and exciting. Kids are free.
Be led into the bizarre, dark and captivating world of CREATURES that explores the realms of myth, stories and folklore as interpreted by young and emerging artists from The Byron Shire.
CREATURES is a multimedia arts production and public exhibition, as result of a workshop program led by artist Karma Barnes, with facilitation from Pavel Sola, Phil Relf and physical theatre facilitation from Lisa Apostilides of Byron Youth Theatre.
We invite you to join us on a journey through visual arts, movement, sculptural works, projection, light and electronic music soundscapes. The world of The Creatures. Find out more
This week we welcomed, with great joy, our parents back on site to celebrate our Autumn Festival. What a wonderful morning of coming together and watching the students share together in a spirit of generosity after experiencing such devastating loss in the community during the recent floods.
A huge thank you to Loani, Ben and all our staff for creating such a wonderful celebration.
Thank you also to Kyle Lionhart, who shared his beautiful music with our students. I recently read an interview with Kyle. In it he shared some of his reflections on Covid and music:
“We’re social beings,” he said. “We need to be with each other. All the social distancing and the communication through screens and social media is where we begin to lose each other.
“But music, just like any form of art, helps people just get out those emotions, and rekindle that human connection.”
The truth of these words was so evident at our Autumn Festival – and was in some ways perfectly illustrated through our new choir. This choir captured that “rekindl[ing of] that human connection” in both the beauty and the complexity of its harmonies. Choirs are made up of multiple voices, each the product of multiple, sometimes radically different experiences and stories. Yet, when all those voices join, thoughtfully, considerately, they produce such an amazing sound.
That thoughtful, considerate meeting of multiple, different voices in harmony is surely what all communities long for – and it was amazing to see that happening again last Thursday, not just in the choir, but amongst all of our community.
Thank you to everyone who made the festival such a wonderful rekindling.
Thank you also to all those who have made another form of social connection possible over these last two weeks – the connection of compassion.
This was particularly evident when our Senior School students visited Coraki to spend a day helping the local SES, Community Organisations and residents with the ongoing cleaning of the town and surrounding areas.
It has also been evident in so many smaller, but equally important, ways: in the donations of homes, cars, goods to those who have lost everything; in the financial support our Community Giving Fund has offered; in the letters of support to our wider communities volunteers; and so on. The road to recovery is long, and the School will continue to support people in any way that we can in the coming weeks and months. (And so I would like to remind all families impacted by the floods that you can reach out to the school for help, particularly for financial assistance.)
And we will also continue to find ways to rekindle that human connection, through harmony and compassion.
As Paul McCartney once said: “I love to hear a choir. I love to see the humanity…I like the teamwork. It makes me feel optimistic about the human race when I see them cooperating like that.”
In times like these we need community more than ever, everyone in our community has been affected in some way.
Please remember to make use of our Online Community Noticeboard to post what help you need or can offer, details of fundraising events, and any tributes you may have to the CBRSS online Community Noticeboard by completing our form via this link community noticeboard form
I have my own story of being rescued by some wonderful members of the CBRSS community, you can read more about this and see what else is on offer, here.
If you need help with using this service please email me directly email@example.com
Class Five is beginning their journey into learning about history, beginning with a Main Lesson block on Ancient India. We discussed ideas such as karma, reincarnation and maya, looked at the trimurti of Gods; Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and listened to and rewrote the Mahabharata. As a finale we ended with an Indian Festival Day – learning some Bollywood moves, eating with our fingers bandara style, designing and applying henna, meditating and doing yoga. It was a blast, thank you to all the parents that helped to make it happen and to the students who were so curious and present to this experience.