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.

From the Principal

Changes for 2020

Next year we will be welcoming Sophie Marino as our new Class One Teacher. In the High School, we will also be welcoming Ali Hounslow as our new Science Teacher. Both teachers bring a wonderful range of different experiences and skills and we look forward to welcoming them into our team.

Next year also marks the launch of a new leadership structure in the school. Teera Palmer will be taking on the more substantial role of Deputy Principal of the school, whilst we will have new leadership teams in both the K-6 and High School Faculties.

In the High School, Rachel Knight will be the Faculty Coordinator, Alix Johnson will be the Senior School Coordinator, Andrew Keisewetter will be the Behaviour Management Coordinator and Rachel Holt will be the Curriculum Coordinator.

In K-6, Marlis Griffiths will be the Assessment Coordinator whilst Matthew Reynolds will be the Curriculum Coordinator.

Both teams will be supported by Teera and will meet regularly with me to support strong leadership across the school.

I would like to thank Katie and Teera for the outstanding work they have done leading both faculties up until now, their hard work has played an important part in getting the school to the strong position it is in today.

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

From the Principal

Hello everyone,

Time seems to have flown by this year and now, suddenly, we are in the last week of school. It has been a big year of teaching and learning across the school. In a school, every day is a day filled with little victories; mastering the 7 times tables for the first time, playing the first clear note on the violin or cello, reading a book all the way through to the end for the first time, delivering an oral presentation in front of an audience, making a new friend, completing Ric’s dreaded ‘beep test’ in PDHPE, performing at a showcase, sitting a first exam and completing a major work for Year 12. These are the little victories that happen every day as part of the learning journey and we rarely get the time to stop and celebrate them. I would like to thank our beautiful students for their work and dedication and also the parents for supporting their children on this journey. I would like to particularly thank our dedicated, talented and amazing teachers, who deeply care for their students and skillfully guide them on this journey.

Last week we were informed that Luka Biggin-Johnston has been selected to perform at HSC Encore, a performance at the Sydney Recital Centre in March 2020. The concert is a selection of exemplary pieces of HSC Music performances from all over NSW from the 2019 HSC Music exams. Luka is very excited about the prospect of playing his bass in Sydney and will be performing the Stevie Wonder song, Boogie on Reggae Woman. Luka will be travelling to Sydney with his funky band (teachers Mat on drums and Tim on guitar and fellow student Paddy Swain on keyboard and vocals). I congratulate Luka for his well earned success, it is good to see his work recognised, particularly as he has been a strong supporter of our HSC music students over the last few years. I would further like to congratulate both Luka and Paddy for having their music viva voces recognised by the New South Wales Education Standards authority as being exemplary. This is a wonderful achievement. Congratulations to Mat, their talented music teacher for guiding these students so well.

In other news, Cape Byron Rudolf Steiner School was named in a recent newspaper article as the top performing school in the Northern Rivers region for Year 9 Naplan results over the last 5 years. This is a really interesting and gratifying result as we do not teach to the Naplan tests, rather we provide a measured, well-rounded and developmentally appropriate education which provides a solid base of literacy and numeracy skills whilst steadily developing creative and critical thinking capacities in our students. Details of the article can be found further in this newsletter.

It has been a busy year, not without its challenges, and I know that everyone is ready for the break. I would like to close by thanking all of the administration and support staff who work so hard to make sure the wheels of the school keep turning. I would also like to thank the Board, who have worked diligently and with great focus all year and the P&F and Class Coordinators who do so much work behind the scenes.

Please all enjoy the break, I look forward to seeing you back at school at the beginning of next term.

Peace
Nerrida

From the Principal

Hello everyone,

The last few weeks have been very busy for everyone at school, as well as being disrupted by the bushfires. The increased smoke in the air, constant talk of fires and evacuations and changes to routines definitely seemed to lead to an increase in anxiety levels within our community, and none more so than in our children. Our teachers have been working hard to restore a sense of calm, rhythm and routine with their classes and it is good to see everyone breathing a little more slowly now. If you have young children at home, you might find they are particularly sensitive to the heightened feelings swirling around when these kinds of events occur. Young children often lack context for the anxiety and so simple reassurance that they are safe and secure can be helpful, as can reinstating known rhythms and routines as soon as possible.

We are constantly looking at ways to make our school more environmentally supportive. Whilst we use recycled paper wherever possible, we still do get through quite a bit of paper each year. For this year, we are going to try something new. We have new copiers and printers which track the amount of paper (and therefore, theoretically, trees) we use across the school. We are currently in the process of working out how much additional paper we use in Main Lesson books. Once we have a final figure, we will plant the equivalent number of trees, plus another 50% so that we are having a positive effect on the environment. As it is too dry to plant just at the moment, we plan to do this next year once the wet season has arrived.

Finally, there are quite a number of school events happening over the next few weeks, with Class Plays, Excursions, Tobias, Fun Days, the Christmas Market etc. Please keep an eye on the school calendar on our website for further details. I hope to see you at some of these events.

Peace
Nerrida

From the Principal

Hello everyone,

It is lovely to see all of our staff and students back from the term break.  Our Year 12 students are currently sitting their HSC exams and I know the students and teachers all really appreciate the way our community respects and supports the students by being quiet when moving around the exam rooms.

Friday was World Teachers’ Day and I would like to acknowledge our wonderful teaching staff for the dedication and genuine, deep care they have for our students.  Many people don’t see the hidden parts of a teacher’s life, the hours spent planning and marking, the extensive preparation that goes into every Main Lesson, the night time and weekend phone calls and emails, the deep and often challenging conversations and actions around student wellbeing and constant reflection and revision teachers need to do to keep their practice current and relevant to their students.  I would like to take this moment to sincerely thank all of our teachers.  I would also like to take a moment to thank the families of our teachers as they give up some of their important family time so that the teachers can do their work – with night time meetings, night time and weekend planning, marking and report writing and extended absences for camps and excursions.

In the last week of term, I delivered the Principal’s address to our wonderful 2019 graduating class.  The text of the address is included below for your information.

Peace
Nerrida

I would like to begin by acknowledging that today we are holding this special ceremony on the traditional lands of the Arakwal people of the Bundjalung Nation.  I would like to honour and pay my deepest respect to the Elders who conducted ceremony on this land in the past, those who still do today and those who will continue to care for this land into the future. Australia’s first nations people are amongst the oldest known civilisations in the world.  They undertook the first great sea journeys of exploration and developed a culture of deep knowledge and connection with the land that has endured longer than almost any other in the world’s history. We are all held in the cradle of this knowledge and connection and I am deeply grateful for the opportunities this brings to us all.

Thirteen years ago, you started your school journey. For most, kindergarten was a place of warmth and love, a little bit like home.  Then you moved through the primary school: bright colours, songs and games and rich imaginative stories of fairies and gnomes, Celtic princes, Viking warriors and Greek Gods.  You made friends and learned how to read, write and calculate. 

Then, into High School and your friendships deepened as your intellects awakened and you came to some new understandings about yourselves and the world around you.  You developed skills to think critically, to question and analyse and to see things from a range of different perspectives.  You began to exercise your faculty for making judgements and taking responsibility for your decisions.  

Now here you are at the end of your formal schooling, about to graduate and step out into the world. When the first Steiner school opened, 100 years ago, it was developed out of a desire to create a new social impulse – a new way for us to live together in the world.  If ever we needed that new way of being, it is now.  With political systems in disarray, our natural world in great peril and humanity experiencing increasing discord and isolation, we cannot continue as we are.  I take this moment to acknowledge that the challenges we face were created by the generations that came before you.

This said, my message to you today is not one of doom and gloom.  It is a message of hope. You have had the benefit of an education towards freedom of thought and it is just that freedom which will light the way forward. I look at you and see young people who are socially aware, who care deeply about moral and ethical issues and who will create change in the world.  

I encourage you to go out and create the world as you would wish it to be.  Wherever possible, walk for a while in the shoes of others.  Seek to understand, rather than to polarise. Never be ashamed of caring deeply, for other living beings and for our planet.  Walk with kindness in your heart and try to see the world with patient clarity. Have courage to speak out when you know something is not right.  When you don’t understand, ask and ask and ask again.  There is great power in being able to question.

Give of yourselves and find joy in being of service to others.  Cherish the connections you already have and reach out to make new connections at every opportunity.  We best experience our own humanity when we are in relationship with others.

Don’t forget to pause occasionally and see the great beauty around you.  Take your shoes off and walk in the grass, climb a tree or swim in the ocean.  The beauty of our natural world will always bring you to a feeling of home.

Your education at Cape Byron Rudolf Steiner School has finished, my wish for you all is that you can go on to fulfil the highest, truest expression of yourselves as the wonderful human beings you are. 

Now is the time for you to rise… rise and be everything you can be, who you are meant to be.  Rise to be a light in the world.

Rise and go now to live this one wild and precious life.

Farewell to the Graduating Class of 2019 our love and blessings go with you all!

From the Principal

Hello everyone,

As I write this, our school is abuzz (excuse the bee pun) with excitement about our Spring Fair. The team are working tirelessly to have everything ready for tomorrow and there is an air of excitement. Preparing for the Spring Fair is a big task taken on by the Class Three parents and a lot of time and energy is invested to ensure the day is a wonderful community event. I would like to thank and congratulate this year’s team, supported by Emma, for what they have achieved. These moments in the year when we come together as community are so very important. Not only do they help each of us to feel more connected, but they benefit the overall health of the school. Please do come along and enjoy our Spring Fair, I look forward to seeing you there.

Today, I was able to slip away from the preparations for a little while, along with some of our teachers, to support our students who were involved in the climate action in Byron Bay. It is so very important that our young people’s voices are heard on this vital issue. We educate them towards freedom of thought, towards being able to speak out for the common good and to be able to consider the ethics of the way we live our lives. I am immensely proud of our students and for the thoughtful, passionate and determined way they are speaking out about the future of life on our planet.

Peace
Nerrida