From the Co-Heads of School

May my soul bloom in love for all existence. – Rudolf Steiner

All the flowers, of all the tomorrows, are in the seeds of today.

At this time of year, as the cold of winter gradually moves away, we feel the warmth of spring bringing a mood of new beginnings. These particular times in the season of new beginnings have not been easy, new beginnings never are. Even so, we are warmed and affirmed by contributing to, sharing and observing how our wonderful school community continues to accomplish amazing things, even though we have not been able to be present altogether on our beautiful school site.  The way in which we come together in both our work, play and interactions day to day, adds to the continuation of supporting and developing a school where what we do today, plants the seeds that come to life in the times that follow.

In feedback from our Teachers, Guardians, Students and Parents in recent weeks, we have heard anecdotes that have warmed our hearts and given us cause to reflect on and feel grateful for what we share together as a school community.

And now, it feels somewhat odd and also exciting that Students and teachers will return back to school on site for the last week of Term 3. We will all have much adjusting to do in moving back into the mode of being together in person in a full class of students again. 

Our grateful, appreciative thanks to our dedicated, necessarily tireless and particularly agile teachers – Kindergarten to Class 12 – who are willing, able and skilled in working in an educational environment of constant change, that is being determined from afar. 

Again, and thankfully, it is time for our whole school community to prepare for the approaching time of well-earned rest…and to collectively breathe out and relax deeply…

May your holidays be happy, safe and filled with lovely, long unscheduled days of rest and rejuvenation, care for others, care for self and enjoyed with family and friends – in person!!!

With Kind thoughts and good wishes

Teera and Paddy

From the Co-Heads of School

“Love is higher than opinion. If people love one another the most varied opinions can be reconciled – thus one of the most important tasks for humankind today and in the future is that we should learn to live together and understand one another. If this human fellowship is not achieved, all talk of development is empty.” Rudolf Steiner

In our K-12 Cape Byron Rudolf Steiner school, each day, the core work of our Leadership, Support and Teaching Staff is to inspire, create and support a healthy teaching and learning environment, with our students, at the centre.

Picture by Tanja Nelson

In navigating the continuing uncertainty, complexity and destabilising effects of ‘unprecedented’ times, it is affirming and helpful to be reminded of and reflect on our school’s Mission and Vision…

Our MissionTo provide a nurturing, creative and academic education inspired by the indications of Rudolf Steiner for a healthy social life and the developing human being.

Our VisionTo 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.

And so, every day in our K-12 classrooms and beautiful school grounds, teachers and students are striving to live, learn, create, work and play together; (often with joy and importantly, also sometimes with sorrow); to grow skills allowing us to interact, understand, cooperate and respect each other; to be responsible and considerate; to appreciate difference, uniqueness, harmony, disharmony, agreement, disagreement, to be brave and courageous, to try new things; to care, to be sensitive and perceptive and passionate; to be appreciative, to feel grateful, to become self aware, to reflect, to adjust, to be adaptive, to grow resilience… 

To be kind and giving to others; and to recognise that all of our friends have different families and stories and needs and learning styles and gifts and destinies.

As a class, we work with all of this and much more, day in and day out; in and out of seasons; year by year; through thick and through thin… And in this way, the class journey is experienced together as an authentic continuum, a community of learning. Our students learn how to practice and refine these qualities over time as a collective – for each individual, and for the greater good of the group – growing comfort in navigating their world, moving from chaos to order, fine tuning, harmonising, and growing a deep sense of love and respect for each other along the way. 

This is the gift and the gold of our Cape Byron Rudolf Steiner Education… 

Our highest endeavor must be to develop free human beings who are able of themselves to impart purpose and direction to their lives. The need for imagination, a sense of truth, and a feeling of responsibility — these three forces are the very nerve of education.

Perhaps Hugh Mackay’s call for a ‘Kindness Revolution’ is a worthy contemplation at this time? 

He describes ‘Kindness’ as the purest form of love and sees kindness as a personal and collective value and activity that can sustain us through times of uncertainty, both as individuals and communities. 

“We are a social species, therefore a cooperative species. 

It’s in our deepest nature to be cooperative…

How are any of us changed by disruption and by a heightened sense of life’s uncertainties? Either we become frustrated and let our frustration boil over into anger and recklessness, or else we think more clearly about what matters to us. We consider which values are worth clinging to. We become more caring, since that’s the inevitable consequence, for most of us, of realising just how interdependent and interconnected we really are.

By modifying our behaviour so radically in response to the prolonged threat of COVID-19, we were showing our care and concern for each other; our willingness to make personal sacrifices for the common good. And those are signs of the purest form of human love: the love that has nothing to do with emotion or affection; the love that says we will treat each other kindly and respectfully regardless of how we happen to feel about each other, because we know that’s the only way a human community can thrive.”

The Kindness Revolution – Hugh McKay

With Kind thoughts and good wishes

Teera and Paddy

From the Co-Heads of School

We give thanks for the blessing of Winter.
Season to cherish the heart
To make warmth and quiet for the heart
To make soups and broths for the heart
To cook for the heart and read for the heart
To curl up softly and nestle with the heart
To sleep deeply and gently at one with the heart
To dream with the heart
To spend time with the heart
A long, long time of peace with the heart
We give thanks for the blessing of winter
Season to cherish the heart

By Michael Leunig

Some of the treasured qualities that are embedded, having been woven into the foundational fabric of our wonderful Cape Byron Rudolf Steiner School many years ago, can often be observed day to day, but not necessarily recognised, as part of our school’s special, enriching uniqueness. 

Courage, Creativity, Inspired Thinking, Innovation, Flexibility, Resilience, Integrity, Optimism, Passion, Responsibility and Trust, are just a few of our treasured qualities.

Over the many years as the school has journeyed through thick and thin, through times of challenge and triumph; it is these treasured qualities that have, and continue to carry, our wonderful Teaching and Support Staff in navigating the course of the school, all the while supported by the wisdom of our founding elders, whose vision has blossomed into our present beautiful school, journeying steadily towards the future…

And so, as we reflect on our closing Term 2, in a general mood of uncertainty in the wider world, it seems that now more than ever, we need to look to our school’s treasured qualities as shining beacons we can trust and depend on to guide us…

And as always, our CBRSS community has so much to feel grateful for….

  • Our Friday Markets recommencing and allowing for catchup time, connection (and fundraising for classes).
  • The sharing of Winter warmth and light, allowing for each of our 370 K-12 students to have a parent join them during our week of Winter Festivities.
  • Our Class 4 & 5 String Orchestras who performed beautifully for their appreciative parent audiences.
  • The sharing of our Class 9 & 10 Elective Showcase with a highly impressed parent audience, who savoured an amazing evening of music, drama, design & technology and visual arts exhibitions, and nibbles. 
  • Welcoming our Class 11 students back from their Kakadu Camp in the Northern Territory last week…
  • And this week, with a huge sense of relief, we welcomed our Class 12 back from their Kakadu Camp, having successfully worked their way around the recent Darwin Lockdown complications, to make it safely back to NSW! (This was a catch up camp for Class 12, as they missed out on their Kakadu Camp last year.)

For many, we know that holiday plans have already been altered and disappointments are in the air. On the bright side, this is a wonderful opportunity to practice the art of ‘reframing’. In reframing a situation, you can help your family focus on the positive rather than negative details of a disappointment; knowing that the way we as adults choose to see a situation, has a profound effect on how we and our children experience it and on family wellbeing.

And most wonderfully, now is the time for a little ‘cosiness of the soul’; a lovely few weeks of Hygge! These chilly Winter days ‘in’ are perfect for family time with lots of cozying around, being present together in the moment and practicing ‘we-fullness’ – so restorative for heart and soul. 

We hope the term break holds your family safe and sound and allows for some lovely days of rest and rejuvenation close to home.

With warm wishes

Paddy & Teera

Little Farming Gnome

By Teera Palmer 2020
A story written and shared with CBRSS Staff at the close of 2020 – a very big year! Sharing now with the community since 2021 feels like another big year.

Long Long ago,
In a land before time…
There lay some seeds in the deep rich red soil.
The seeds were safe and warm, encased in their hard shells.
And there they stayed and they sat…and they stayed…
And the sun shone, and the winds blew, and the rains rained, over days and years, and…
One day, a little farming gnome who had special magic powers came upon all these seeds and he could see the seeds just sticking out from the soil…here, there, and everywhere…
‘Ahh’ said the farming gnome…
‘I will use my magic to make the perfect growing conditions for these little seeds and with my protection, they will grow so big and so strong… they will make such a fine crop and so much nutrition for all of the gnomes in all the land.’

And so soon, very soon, the seeds began their growing journey and soon very soon…out popped so, so, many little green shoots. And they wriggled and they struggled and strived to move through the soil and reach towards the sun…
And so the little farming gnome set to work and of course he used his magic to make all of the best growing conditions…only the best…and always comfortable and cosy.

So in that growing year, whenever the storms with lightning and dangerous winds came thundering in the sky…the farming gnome made a protective shield of clear quartz crystal over all of the little green shoots to protect them….he was a very protective little farming gnome.
So no thunder, no strong winds, no dangers ever came upon the crop.
No grasshoppers to nibble the shoots, no hail, no flooding rains, no challenges…

And the little farming gnome made everything just-so… So nice and comfy…
And he used his magic to make just the right amount of sun when he wanted sun…but never so hot that the green shoots could wilt…And just the right amount of gentle misty rain when the plants were thirsty…but never too much…
And everything was perfect, and even and measured.

The plants were growing so high towards the sky and the little farming gnome was feeling so very pleased with all his care and good work.
The day came when the little farming gnome knew it was time to harvest the grain from all these healthy, green, tall plants that he had protected so well…so that he could share the food with all his friends…
But, as he cut the first tall plant he was surprised and disappointed. There was no grain inside. Quickly he cut more and more, and found that each plant had none…
‘Oh me, oh my, how is it that my careful, protective magic failed….why is there no grain from this crop’?

Just then, a swirling wind blew by the little farming gnome….and over, and under, and all around…
‘Ahhh I can tell you why’ said the wind….‘It is strange, but it is true…
It is because there was no challenge, no storms, no wind, no heavy rains, and because there was no conflict, no struggle, no challenge…that the grains did not grow full and strong and ripen.’
‘Being the wind…I know that storms are needed, thunder, lightning, dry and heat are needed….They shake up the soul and wake up the grain, so it strives to grow strong and full and ripe.’
The little farming gnome was listening closely to the wind.

And then the sun chimed in too….
‘Ah yes,’ agreed the Sun…
’And night is needed…and so is day…and days of happiness…and days of sadness…and this is the great wisdom of life…of understanding…and slowly, slowly little farming gnome…if you can see my sunrise…and sunset…and feel glad for both…you will come to know the rhythm of life…the rhythm of duality…the rhythm of polarity…and all that is between. You will no longer cast your magic to make everything just-so….and, you will have found life’s secret, and the way to grow healthy crops.’
‘Come now, follow me’….said the Sun…
’Follow the nature of all things…follow the Moon…follow the stars…befriend the stormy skies, and the wind, and the rain too…for my warming rays will always come again upon you…
Know this….trust this ….and you will feel the grace.’

And from that day on, the little farming gnome used no more of his protection, nor his just-so, magic…
Instead…he looked to the majesty of the skies each day and he worked with all that the seasons brought…
And everyday…his heart was filled with gladness for all that was…

From the Co-Heads of School

Winter night, stars shining bright
And on a Winter’s morning, frost on the ground
Stars all around, heaven’s glow foretelling…
No dark we fear, the light is here,
Sun in our hearts aglow,
No dark we fear, the light is here and ever it is so…

And so it is with days shortening and the longer nights growing chilly, that we begin to really feel Mid-Winter is near… All around the school, preparations are being made, in making story, song, music, verse, lantern and light, in celebration of the longest night.

During our initial planning conversations in which we reflected on last year’s Winter Festival, we realised that one of the ‘gifts’ of Covid, was the beauty and quiet experienced by our High School students in walking the spiral, and lighting their candles, with such presence and reverence. And so, in particular, in what is proving to be another unique year, our collective focus and intention is to again design our Winter Festival in a mood of reverence that will allow for quiet reflection and harmonious depth for all. In holding this intention and our wish to invite parents as central; we also needed to minimise the possibility of cancellations that could arise due to Covid incidents out of our control. Hence, in a similar way to last year, we have planned a number of more intimate festivities spaced over several days around the Winter solstice. We are particularly pleased that whereas last year we were unable to include any parents in the Winter Festival, this year each student will have a family member able to join them.

In other news, please do read closely the information below from Mat and Jon in our ICT Department regarding the importance of our Parent App, and how to access our new photo archive system through the Parent App.

Warm wishes

Paddy & Teera

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

With A Mood of Gratitude…

‘It’s not happiness that brings us gratitude.
It’s gratitude that brings us happiness.’

A lovely way to finish and round off all the good work of a productive term with a class of students, is to take some time together in a circle, to reflect on what has happened, what we have learnt, what we have noticed, and all within a mood of gratitude and appreciation for self and others.
Sometimes it is the very simple things that a student will share, such as their joy in playing handball, or when they spotted the Tawny Frogmouths, or how they just love seeing all their friends each day and feeling happy.
Naturally, for our school community, as we near the close of our first term of 2021, there is so much we can take the time to reflect on in a mood of gratitude and appreciation…
For the beauty and lush abundance of the plants, trees, fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers in our school grounds and for the wonder of the wildlife that abounds…
For the hot sun and the wild rains, puddles, mud and the warm nights and the bright moon, twinkling stars and cool misty mornings…
For the love of friends and family and caring for place; for the children skipping into school, for mums and bubs, for the sharing of morning and afternoon greetings…
For divine singing and recorder sounds with us once again; for all that we are teaching and all that we are learning; for movement and stillness and looking and listening together…
For Class meetings so appreciatively attended; For the camps we have ventured on;
For Autumn Festival together with generosity of spirit…
And for the great cycle, the wheel of the year slowly turning, giving us strength and substance and all that we need in our striving together.

May your holidays be filled with joyous unscheduled time, rest and relaxation.

Warm wishes

Paddy & Teera
Co-Heads of School

From Teera

Can you feel that Autumn’s coming?
Can you feel it in the air?
For the secrets are revealed to you
In everything everywhere…

Its the green of hills and valleys
And pink grasses everywhere
And the rainbow arched so high above
Its beauty for all to share…

Such a wonderful, industrious feeling of purpose and progress is permeating our school in the 6th week of Term 1. With the beautiful sounds of student voices singing in choir, and recorders and string instruments playing, a soothing mood meanders through the school each day, giving the lovely, reassuring feeling ‘that all is well’!
In the Kindergarten, children are busily working with beeswax modelling, making a twisty tie, finger knitting and sewing and their seasonal transition to Autumn and Harvest is underway.
As always, much is happening elsewhere in the school; Class 9 are currently away on a 10 day hiking camp at Yuraygir National Park, Class 12 are preparing for an excursion to Sydney this week that will enhance their experience of subject studies; Classes 4-6 attended 5 days of swimming, and Classes 2&3 are swimming each day this week at Mullumbimby Pool.
In the garden, beds are being prepared all around our grounds by our capable Class 12 students, in readiness for special plantings by those in younger classes in coming weeks; and students are jogging each morning in preparation for the upcoming Class 5, 6 and High School Cross Country Events at Brunswick Heads on the last day of term, Thursday April 1.

Happy Autumn Days
Teera

From Paddy

At a recent P&F meeting, I was asked if I would tell the community a little about myself. This feels highly egotistical, but, with that request in mind, I thought I might share some answers to the questions the students have been asking me.

1. Where are you from? Well, England, originally (specifically, Buckinghamshire.) However, since leaving University I’ve lived and worked in various schools and Universities in England, Scotland, Japan and, most recently on the Gold Coast, where for the last seven years I have had the privilege of being Principal of Emmanuel and setting up Emmanuel’s ‘baby sister,’ Josiah College.
2. What did you do in those other schools, and were the boarding schools like Hogwarts? I began as a High School English Teacher, then became a Housemaster (who still taught English.) After that I became a Head of English and something called a “Director of International and Spiritual Citizenship” which is a bit like a Deputy/Chaplain in charge of student wellbeing and citizenship learning. Then, briefly, I was a deputy Principal in Bath, before being invited to take up the role at Emmanuel.

But no teacher in a boarding school ‘just’ teaches, so I also ran scuba and lifesaving clubs, coached sports, and ran activities like the Model United Nations and Amnesty International clubs.

And yes, some of those schools were a bit like Hogwarts. One (King Edward’s School Witley) had its own train, and a staff member called the Beadle who sometimes wore an Elizabethan uniform and carried a Mace. Meanwhile the one in Scotland had secret passages (where Priests used to hide in the 17th century) and was reputedly home to the so-called “Wizard of Gordonstoun.”

3. Tell us about your family/pets/favourite EPL football team. I have a wonderful wife, Helen, who has also been a Head (her background is in psychology,) and two children – Josh, who is (very nearly) 30 and works as a “Genius” for Apple, and Lauren who is 28 and works as Policy Analyser/Writer for the New Zealand Government. We also have a cat – Florence. And I’m a life-long Aston Villa supporter.
4. Where did you go to University, and what did you study? I first went to Kingston University, in London, where I studied English and Philosophy (or, technically, the History of Ideas) to Honours level. Then I took my Post-Grad in Education at the University of East Anglia, before completing my Masters through the Open University and undertaking research with the University of Gloucestershire
5. What’s your favourite music? I have a very broad taste in music, but if I could only pick five artists, then I’d have to say: Billy Bragg, Bob Dylan, Peter Gabriel (including his first band, Genesis,) Burning Spear (I love reggae) and probably The Clash … or David Bowie… or maybe Mogwai … or Radiohead … or maybe even some classical music …
6. What about books? That’s even harder than music, but if I were marooned on a desert island, I like to have the Winnie the Pooh books, some books by P. G. Wodehouse, a good set of detective novels (maybe the Morse books) something “difficult” like James Joyce, and Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series
7. And do you have any hobbies? Well, obviously, reading and listening to music, but I also love birdwatching, hiking, scuba diving … and I’m trying to teach myself to cook and draw (not at the same time!)
8. Finally – some quick-fire questions:
– Favourite food – cake (or maybe toast with a good, bitter marmalade)
– Favourite colour – that’s complicated, because I’m colour-blind, but I think it’s blue (or purple, or greyish-pink!)
– Favourite drink – tea (Assam, with a splash of milk – “the colour of cardboard,” as my Grandma used to say.)
– Australia or England? Well, I miss England, but I prefer Australia
– NRL or AFL? NRL
– Sydney or Melbourne? Brisbane
– And what is your favourite saying/piece of wisdom – either “Love starts when we push aside our ego and make room for someone else” (Rudolf Steiner) or “Clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” (St. Paul) or “Don’t Panic” (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)

Paddy

Welcome back to School

Dear Parents and Community Members,

Now that our new school year is underway and we have all begun to settle in, Teera and I as your new Co-Heads of School welcome and wish you all a Happy 2021.

Like all the staff, we were incredibly excited to welcome our students back.  It has been so energising to see the enthusiasm with which they are settling back into our rhythms. Listening to the holiday stories, hearing the sounds of singing and play, and of music and happy chatter has been wonderful.

Some of the many special moments of this first fortnight have included our Class 1 Rainbow Bridge Crossing, our new Kindergarten children beginning and morning teas with the parents of Kindergarten and Class 1.

We also loved the sheer joy and enthusiasm shared by students and teachers at our High School Swimming Carnival, and also hearing the news of last year’s Class 12’s and their amazing achievements has been a highlight – we feel incredibly proud of them!

But for me, the biggest highlight has been getting to know the students, the staff and the community.

I have long known that Steiner Education provides a particularly rich environment for whole-person flourishing.  In fact, throughout my career I have been inspired by Steiner’s beliefs that

“Our highest endeavour must be to develop free human beings who are able of themselves, to impart purpose and direction to their lives.” and that “The need for imagination, a sense of truth, and a feeling of responsibility … are the very nerve of education.”

It is so wonderful getting to know this, my new school, and to see Steiner’s aspirations being lived out in this beautiful community.

Joining this school is a real honour, and I look forward to meeting all of you and making CBRSS my new ‘home.’ My thanks to everyone who has welcomed me so warmly.

Paddy Innes-Hill
Co-Head of School

From the Principal

Seasons Greetings to Parents and Friends

In early Term 4, many events that had been on-hold or postponed were now able to take place. Miraculously, now we were able to compress most of the year’s calendar events into Term 4 and it was a pleasure to be able to finally invite parents to attend some of these events in person too. It has been lovely in recent weeks to receive so many messages from parents expressing gratitude and appreciation for these opportunities; on behalf of staff, we thank you!

Our Term 4 events included: 7 Class Camps, Year 10 Special Program, 5 Class Plays, String concerts, HS Parent Meetings, K-7 Class Parent Meetings at which Melanie Deefholts presented, Year 12 Graduation, Year 12 Formal, Year 8 Tobias, Class 6 Primary Farewell, Class 6 Celebration Evening, Christmas Giving Festival, HS Elective Showcase, Class 1-6 Swimming, HS Beach day, Class 1-6 Swim fun Day and K-10 Classroom moving too!

Understandably, this sudden ‘event quickening’ caused an atmosphere of intensity to arise for our teachers, administration and support staff. I invite parents and friends to join me in sending thoughts of appreciation and thanks to our incredible, dedicated CBRSS staff; each has risen to work with collaborative purpose, strength and persistence with all that has come towards our school this year.

Perhaps like me, when taking time to reflect on this enormous 2020 year, you may find that with all of the complex and challenging events we have faced, it feels as if time has somehow been strangely stretched and compressed and massaged into a rhythm that feels not so familiar, nor so comfortable. Even so, I am feeling grateful and very relieved that together as a school community, we have successfully navigated the challenges, (growing plenty of flexibility, resilience and goodwill along the way), and we are all relatively healthy and well as we close the year.

Now, thankfully, the time has come for all to rest and rejuvenate.

May your Summer holidays and festive time with family and loved ones be filled with unscheduled time, simple pleasures, fine food, sweet music, good reads and long lazy days in nature.

I look forward to welcoming Paddy Innes-Hill, my Co Head of School and seeing all your smiling faces next year!

Best and warm wishes

Teera

From the Principal

Greetings to Parents and Friends

In the air, all around just now, there is such a wonderful feeling of increasing warmth and excited quickening, to which the birds and the cicadas are also noisily contributing.

As always, at this very fulsome time of year, it feels like the collective challenge for us all, is to strive for calm, centredness, and a sense of balance, as we reflect on and celebrate the culmination of a year of growth, work, effort, activity and the general navigation of our life path.

This Term (4), continues to feel particularly full for staff and students, given it is short and being only 9 weeks. With the easing of some Covid restrictions, we have been allowed and hence, have needed to crowd most of our camps, excursions, plays and other events, which are usually spaced throughout the year, into this brief time.

As a staff, in true resilient style, we have risen to the challenge and facilitated 7 Class Camps this term, in addition to many excursions, Primary swimming, several Class Plays, Class Parent Meetings which included Melanie Deefholts presenting valuable Parent Education sessions and much more.

As always, we have also proudly and affectionately farewelled our amazing Year 12 graduating students (see photos following in this Bulletin) and the Primary school will soon farewell the Class 6 Students, as they move towards ‘crossing the bridge’ to High School next year.

Our Kindergarten children are also busily working to finish their craft bags which will travel with them when they cross the ‘Rainbow Bridge’ to Class 1 next year and they will together enjoy a Festival of Christmas celebrating the Gifts of Love and Peace, on the last day of term: Friday 11 December 2020.

We are thankful that we have been able to invite parents to join us in person for some of our special Class events this term, and in these times, we also hugely appreciate that we continue to feel the support of all of our wonderful parents from afar.

Best wishes and strength to all

Teera

From the Principal

Spring Greetings to all!!

Spring’s greatest joy beyond a doubt is when it brings the children out.” Edgar Guest.

Such a wonderfully simple, joyous, colourful, lively, playful, collaborative, beautiful, celebratory Spring Festival we enjoyed with Class 1 to Year 12 on Monday! There were so many special and lovely elements and moments which made the day a fun, sweet and uplifting experience. Congratulations to all our wonderful staff and students for their contributions to making the day feel so fulfilling. Please enjoy looking at a taster video and photos of the day in the bulletin below.
A more comprehensive Spring Festival video is currently being prepared and a link to view it will be sent out to Parents next week during term break.

At this time of year in each class from Kindergarten to High School, a vibrant kind of ‘Spring quickening’ is felt for teachers and students, a sense that the end of a year and the transition to a new year, is fast approaching. In particular, the end of Term 3 is a very special time for our Year 12 Students who will complete the final classes of their school journey this week. We are so proud of this lovely class of fine individuals, of their wonderful accomplishments and of their inspiring resourcefulness in navigating a challenging year with such positivity and we wish them all the best for their upcoming HSC Exams.

To our wonderful K-12 Parents, I extend appreciative thanks for your calm and cooperative support as we have worked together to keep our school healthy, happy and operating onsite in changing and complex times.
It is now time for our school community to prepare for the approaching time of well-earned rest…and to collectively breathe out…
May your holidays be happy, safe and filled with lovely, long unscheduled days of relaxation and rejuvenation enjoyed with family and friends.

Best relaxing wishes

Teera

From the Principal

The wind is in the barley-grass
The wattles are in bloom
The breezes greet us as they pass
With honey-sweet perfume;
The parakeets go screaming by
With flash of golden wing,
And from the swamp the wild-ducks cry
Their long-drawn note of revelry
Rejoicing at the spring.

A.B.Paterson

Isn’t it lovely to feel Spring in the air?

With the recent warmer mornings, the bright moon-lit nights and welcome rain too, it feels with nature’s offerings, we have much to feel grateful for!
One of the lovely times of day on our school site is late afternoon when everything gradually becomes quieter and quieter and the animals and birds come out to play.

It was just this time last Friday when something unexpected and magical happened. A very active, healthy Koala came bounding across the top green playground (much like a rabbit) and scampered up a tree…it sat and looked around…then climbed higher and took a flying leap to another tree. It leapt this way from tree to tree several times before climbing back down to the ground, sniffing at the Macadamia tree and ambling onto the brick path past my office, then it rabbit-hopped quickly past Class 3, towards Class 1 and over to the Eucalypt trees he was surely seeking! So special!

In Animal Dreaming, a book by Scott Alexander King, Koala represents Journeys – A sacred journey that is unique for everyone, an expedition that supports the individual needs and requirements of all people. Koala reassures us that we inherently know the answers to our questions. Koala can show us that now is the time to take responsibility for our own life, our own path and our own destiny by listening to our heart of hearts. With Koala dreaming, the potential for growth and transformation strengthens.

Happy Spring Days

Teera

From the Principal

Greetings to all

Thank you to all members of our CBRSS community who continue to follow health advice regarding COVID-19, in keeping unwell children at home and respecting changed protocols. This continues to be a challenging time for all of us, as we find things changing day to day and as we face the uncertainty of what lies ahead should the situation in NSW deteriorate.

You may have heard that last week the Chief Health Officer of New South Wales issued a NSW Public Health Order. One directive which has impacted our school greatly is that group singing and chanting activities and use of wind instruments such as recorders in group music is to cease in schools.
CBRSS Updated Response is effective as of Wednesday 19th August.

This situation has required us to make sudden changes to school management, events, classes, routines and teaching modes in a swiftly, responsive way.
Once again, it is with inspiring flexibility, that our wonderful Teachers and Support Staff continue to re-think and adjust plans to enable events and activities to still take place for our students at school. At our Book Week Parade this week, teachers hastily devised a plan that did not include singing our much loved Book Week song, while still allowing students and teachers to enjoy all the usual dress up fun together.

We greatly appreciated parents supporting their children with costume preparations and we also greatly missed sharing our many Book Week characters with our usual parent audience. Of course, this circumstance feels very disappointing for many, but it is helpful to remember that there are also valuable lessons to be learned at this time in working with the constant changes; so as far as possible at school, we are encouraging a cheerful, resilient attitude and approach with our students and staff in meeting such challenges.

Please see the details of the NSW Public Health Order and some additional changes to our school practices outlined in the next article.

Our Support Staff and Teachers are striving daily to continue keeping the health and safety of our school community at the forefront of our practices at Cape Byron Steiner School.

At this time, more than ever, it is so important that we are mindful of making sure our interactions with others are kind, considerate and caring; in this way, we all ensure that our students, parents and staff will feel well supported through the remainder of the term and year ahead.

With thanks and best wishes to all
Teera

From the Principal

Students and Staff have had a lovely few weeks together since returning from the break and the school is now feeling well and truly settled into Term 3. With the many brisk and chilly mornings we’ve had, it is wonderful to now start feeling the Spring warmth pushing through when the sun is high in the sky. I hope you are finding some time on these beautiful days, to sit peacefully, soak up the warmth and re-energise. 

I’m sure you will have noticed all the beautiful yellow Wattles in bloom at the moment? As just one species of a large group of flora in Australia, the Golden Wattle has come to be known as a symbol of unity. Wattle is able to withstand Australia’s droughts, winds and bushfires and wattle also often grows and regenerates land that has been disturbed. In contemplating the resilience of Wattle growing on this Australian land, one can visualise that resilience and spirit in the people of this land….May the Golden Wattles inspire you to reflect optimistically on this aspect of our Australian land, its people and our school community at this time.

On the 30th July we were very pleased to launch the Community Giving Fund. The fund is a wonderful new initiative, established as a simple way for those that are able, to make financial contributions in support of school families who are finding it difficult to meet their fee commitments. To launch the Fund, the school has made a significant contribution and has already financially supported many families.

To make your contribution, please follow this link to: The Community Giving Fund 

Every act of generosity and simple kindness, big or small, has a powerful effect and goes a long way to supporting each other.

Our thanks to Jon in our ICT department for the platform setup and to Eleni for the artwork.

We are also very excited to have now launched our Virtual School Tour!  This enables us to offer prospective parents and students a look at our campus, grounds and to glimpse inside classrooms and buildings. There is much to see including videos and we will continue to add new video and images to the Tour over time.

A huge thank you to Yvette, Mat and Jon, who put so much time, effort and heart into making this project happen.  

Please follow the link to have a look!  School Tour

Changes To Spring Fair 2020

The joy of the coming of Spring is always a special celebration for our school. However, this year due to restrictions, we are not able to invite our school and wider community to our usual Spring Fair day. Instead, we are adapting to this situation and making preparations for a lovely Spring Festival in which K-12 students and staff will celebrate together. 

Though parents will not be able to participate in this event onsite; we will do our best to include you from afar, by video recording and photographing some of the special moments and offerings on the day to share with you, such as the Maypole Dance.

Our Spring Festival will take place during the school day on Monday the 21st September.  

Please note that the Pupil Free SetUp Day planned for Friday 18th September is cancelled. Students will now be attending on Friday 18th September as a normal school day.

More information about the Spring Festival and how parents may assist their children to prepare will be sent out as we get closer to the day. 

Wishing  you all the best

Teera

From the Principal

Winter Greetings to all

Each day at present, I find myself needing to remember often to appreciate the simple joys in life….like drinking tea …and appreciating the gift of time with others…and taking a moment to gaze in awe at the beauty of a crisp winter evening sunset sky and the wonderous moon.
Our Winter Festival was steeped in a certain kind of simple joy for our students and teachers through song and spiral and sharing light, warmth and a lovely feeling of togetherness. Such a privilege and pleasure it was for me to join Year 7 for their spiral, to hear Year 12 sing divinely to Year 11, and to light and tend a fire to warm the senior students as they enjoyed sipping spiced apple juice.
My appreciative thanks to our wonderful teaching and support staff, students and parents who have navigated an unprecedentedly challenging Term 2 with cheerfulness and care.

Sending best wishes to all for some well deserved rest and rejuvenation and may many simple joys fill your holiday time with loved ones.

Teera

COVID19 – Moving Forward

As we end Term 2, we are constantly looking to ‘what comes next’ with our life during COVID.  The School is always on the task of keeping updated on where our movements as a community may be relaxing as we progress.

In line with recent updates received by our independent sources, we are hoping to be able to relax a few restrictions for the school in Term 3. If all continues to go well in the Byron Shire during and following the school holiday period in regard to Covid-19, we hope the school will be able to ease the following restrictions, which may include recommencing:

  1. After-school activities such as: Drama with Judy and sport training i.e. Basketball 
  2. School sport including activities such as contact sport and carnivals 
  3. School Assemblies 
  4. A limited provision Canteen service 
  5. Repair Care & Maintenance tasks (Individually arranged with Gavin – Site Manager)

The restrictions that need to remain in place in Term 3 will be as follows:

  1. No Excursion and Camps
  2. No on-site events such as Spring Fair or Friday Markets
  3. No Repair Care & Maintenance Days with large numbers of parents
  4. No Parents on CBRSS site unless collecting a child from an approved year level (Kindergarten & Class 1 only ) or in an emergency

I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for your continued support and for acknowledging the School’s guidelines around keeping our community safe.  The staff and parents of CBRSS have done an outstanding job of caring for our school through the pandemic.

Teera

From the Principal

As always, so much has happened in the life of our school in the last two weeks… 

During National Reconciliation Week (27 May – 3 June), our High School students and teachers viewed the highly acclaimed documentary, In My Blood It Runs. Among many important themes, the film examines the problems faced by Indigenous children when taught entirely from the state/territory education curriculums. Teachers later told me of the lively and passionate discussions they had with students following the film and how the students engaged with a depth of feeling that was very moving. 

Some days later, I felt privileged to meet and have a discussion with one of our thoughtful senior students, who inspired me with an articulately expressed, deeply held, intention to take meaningful action after graduating school this year, in seeking a pathway to work in support of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. 

It has also been an exciting time for our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) Working Group, who were very glad to achieve the goal of our CBRSS RAP Vision being approved by the Arakwal Corporation during Reconciliation Week. The RAP Working Group is proud to be developing our CBRSS RAP guided by the Narragunnawali Program. Once completed, our RAP will formally state our school’s commitment to reconciliation in education, designed to strengthen relationships, respect and opportunities in the classroom, around the school and with the community. We look forward to our CBRSS Reconciliation Action Plan being included soon on the Narragunnawali, Who Has a RAP? Map. 

With the first Humpback Whales of the season having passed by Cape Byron on their journey to the light and warmth of the northern waters last week, we are reminded of the majesty of nature and how the whales passing by, signals a comforting certainty that winter solstice is near.

This year, some of our Winter Festivities are taking place over each of the school days in Week 8, with the Kindergarten celebrating on Monday in Week 9. 

Early this week, students in Classes 2-6 will begin candle making, using the method of repeatedly dipping a wick into rainbow coloured wax baths to build up their candle – this is a magical process for children to engage in and a lovely warming experience on a cold day. From midweek the younger classes will commence their Winter Spiral journeys, culminating in the Year 11 and 12 Winter Spirals on Friday evening.

We will very much miss sharing our Winter Festival celebration with parents and friends this year and we do hope students will take some of the mood of the Winter Festival home to share with their family, by singing some songs, reciting some verse and lighting candles together on the longest night…

Let your little light shine, shine, shine                     

Let your little light shine, oh let it shine              

Let your little light shine, shine, shine

To warm you through the Winter time…

Warm wishes

Teera

                          

From the Principal

It is so very lovely at present seeing children, big and small, frolicking together again, playing chase games and flying paper planes in our beautiful school grounds. After all the weeks of the school feeling empty and quiet, many teachers have expressed that hearing the joyful sounds of child’s play in the school again, is music to our ears.

Now that the Wintery coolness has arrived, chilly mornings and evenings encourage us to seek warmth and enjoy cosy times together with family. These cooler days are a time for children to come to school dressed warmly in the mornings, with bodies and legs clothed by layers, that can gradually peel off as the day warms up. Many children have been shivering at school in recent days, having dressed in light-weight shorts and t-shirts, which are not adequate for the season. Please be sure to check before leaving home that your child is wearing long pants or tights, a jumper or jacket and shoes and socks.

For many, this is a favourite time of year, as the days slowly grow shorter, the nightimes grow longer, doonas are fluffed, candles are lit, kindling and firewood are gathered and it is so special to sit by a fire with friends under the starry sky.

You may have heard of Hygge, the Danish word for this kind of comfortable, content, feeling of wellbeing and cosiness of the soul.

Hygge (Hoo-guh), invites closeness and makes us feel open-hearted and alive. Hygge is to drink cocoa by candlelight and enjoy life’s simple pleasures with family and friends.

May the cooler season be Hygge-ful for all!
Warm wishes

Teera Palmer
Acting Principal

From the Principal

Hello everyone,

What tumultuous times we are living in! Things are changing so quickly that it is hard to have any certainty from day to day – and yet we must find our ‘anchor’ and ground in the knowledge that we will get through this time. As we near the autumn equinox, we are also at the time when we focus on the message of St Michael – and this is a message about finding the strength and courage we all have.

Please know that, as a school community, we are walking through this together. I am needing to make decisions I have never had to make before and these all weigh heavily – but please know that at the absolute centre of all, is the need to do the very best we can for our children. Thank you for your patience and support, we do have the courage to see this through.

Peace
Nerrida

From the Principal

Hello everyone,

I am always amazed when autumn arrives here, it seems as though someone has flicked a switch and suddenly we see the features of autumn turn up. Cloudy skies, slightly cooler nights, mist on the hillsides – it is somewhat of a relief after the heat and frenetic activity of summer.

This week we have enacted our school planned response to the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Australia. Whilst there are no confirmed cases in the Byron community yet, it is better that we are prepared and following best practice as the situation seems to be changing daily.

I have sent emails out to all parents with details about this, however, the main point is that children who are showing signs of fever, sore throat, cough or runny nose should not come to school. We are asking for the community to really support us in this as we often have children coming to school who are unwell and should be staying at home.

I do understand how very difficult this can be for working parents, however, in this instance, it would be great if we could all prioritise the health and wellbeing of our whole community in this.

The other side of this situation is the mounting anxiety in our community and we need to work with this by being as calming and reassuring as we can. Children can very quickly pick up on adult anxiety and, certainly, there is a lot of very dramatic information being shared via the media and discussed around many kitchen tables (much of it inaccurate). The current lack of toilet paper on supermarket shelves is a perfect example of the very human, heightened response to the information being shared. For young children, try to keep the discussion about this to a minimum, focus on normal routines and provide reassurance when needed.

As we move into this autumn time, with so much happening around us, it is worth remembering the beautiful Michaelic Verse:

We must eradicate from the soul
All fear and terror of what comes towards us out of the future.
We must acquire serenity
In all feelings and sensations about the future.
We must look forward with absolute equanimity
To everything that may come.
And we must think only that whatever comes
Is given to us by a world-directive full of wisdom.
It is part of what we must learn in this age,
namely, to live out of pure trust,
Without any security in existence.
Trust in the ever present help
Of the spiritual world.
Truly, nothing else will do
If our courage is not to fail us.
And let us seek the awakening from within ourselves
Every morning and every evening.
-Rudolf Steiner

Peace
Nerrida

From the Principal

Hello everyone,

What a challenging couple of weeks it has been with some wild weather and heavy rain impacting us all! The school sustained damage in a number of areas in the recent weather and we are working to address these issues as efficiently as possible. Thank you for your understanding last week when we asked those parents who were able, to keep their children at home. I understand the timing of this event was challenging, however we do hope you understand that we were making decisions within the timeframe and information we had to hand, always with the best interests of our students at heart. We have developed a School Closure and Restriction Policy and Procedure to assist everyone to understand our process when a severe weather event occurs. We will publish this on the school website in the near future.

You will by now have heard that I will be leaving the school at the end of May to take up a position as Principal of a school in West New Britain, Papua New Guinea. The Board is currently working with the process of finding a suitable candidate to carry the position forward. We have an outstanding leadership team in the school and I know they will work together to continue this wonderful school’s journey beyond my departure with the minimum of disruption. I will be working over the coming three months to ensure the transfer is as smooth as possible.

Peace
Nerrida

From the Principal

Hello everyone,

It was wonderful to welcome everyone back to the school after the break. It always amazes me just how much the children seem to grow over the Christmas period!

I know many of us are still feeling the impact of the events across Australia during the break. The loss of so much of our beautiful natural landscape, the loss of wildlife and the magnitude of the human impact is still something many are trying to understand. For our children, this can feel like an extremely unsettling time, even if they have not been exposed to the media coverage (they certainly feel the increased anxiety in family and community). A few parents have asked me what we can do to support the children through this. I think, for younger children particularly, getting back into normal rhythms and routines is very comforting and allows them to relax into their bodies. If a child is feeling particularly sad or anxious about what has happened, some gentle healing stories can help (stories of hope and safety and human kindness). If you are unsure about how to tell healing stories to young children, your class teacher can help with advice about this.

For our older students, the recent events can lead to feelings of hopelessness and anger. Providing young people with outlets for activity is a good way to work with this. Anything that involved positive activity is helpful. It is also helpful to sit and really listen as your teenager talks about their concerns – having someone in the family who listens and understands can be really healing.

For anyone with children experiencing particular increase in anxiety over the bushfire events, our Wellbeing Workers, Geraldine and Annie, are available for support.

From a school perspective, we will be starting a CBRSS sustainability group and inviting interested students and staff to join to look at how we can improve our environmental sustainability across the school. We are also looking at how we can build further educational activities and community support activities across our curriculum.

I look forward to a wonderful year together as we support our young community to grow and learn.

Peace
Nerrida

Press release from the Principal

Cape Byron Rudolf Steiner School students achieve outstanding HSC Results

Cape Byron Rudolf Steiner School is celebrating its best ever HSC results in the school’s 30-year history. One third of the 2019 graduating class has received an ATAR of well over 90, placing students in the top 10% of the entire state. This is unheard of for such a small school.

Principal, Nerrida Johnson commented, “Our students have worked really hard this year and have achieved outstanding results. The combination of dedicated and mature students working with passionate and skilled teachers has produced this best-ever result for the school. Our graduating students are rightfully thrilled this morning; with results like these, they will be able to go on to pursue the study or career of their choice.” Nerrida said, “I’d like to thank our dedicated staff and committed parents for helping guide these beautiful souls through their education. We are proud of every single one of our graduating students, they are truly ready to step out into the world.

Outstanding results have been achieved in English Extension 1 and 2, Legal Studies, Drama, Music, Mathematics, Society and Culture, Visual Arts, Physics, languages and many other courses.

The cohort of 27 students showed dedication, commitment, a passion for their subjects and a shared support for each other that has resulted in excellence across the board. Overall, there were 30 Band 6 results (scores over 90) and 49 Band 5 results (scores between 80 and 89). This is a jump from our already impressive 2018 results of 18 Band 6 achievements,

Students are thrilled that they will gain access into their first choice of course at universities such as University of Melbourne, Sydney University, Monash, Griffith and ANU, as well as overseas institutions.

Stand-out results include Ella Hill-Smith, who received top band results in her three Extension courses, English 1, 2 and History. Lily Harrison received top band results in Legal Studies, Society and Culture and English Extension 1 and 2, whilst Abbie Walden received top band results for English Extension 1 and 2, Visual Arts and Society and Culture. Kalani Knight received Band 6s in Chemistry, Mathematics and Legal Studies. Luka Biggin-Johnston received 97% for Music and has been selected to play at the Sydney Recital Centre as part of HSC Encore and Paddy Swain achieved Band 6 results in Drama, Mathematics 2 and Music.

With an increasing emphasis on STEM subjects in the school, students received Band 6 results in Chemistry and Mathematics and Band 5 in Physics and Mathematics Extension.

As always, students excelled in performance subjects: 30 % of Drama students gained a Band 6, in Music all students achieved a Band 5 or 6, and in Visual Arts students continued to show their creative strength with yet more Band 6 results.

Principal, Nerrida Johnson and the 2019 Senior School Coordinator, Katie Biggin are thrilled with the efforts of our students and passionate teachers.