Seven Shearwater students from Years 11 and 12 have commenced university subjects at Southern Cross, as part of the Head-Start program, which provides an opportunity for Year 11 and 12 students to study alongside first year university students. Students that successfully complete their subjects gain automatic entry into a variety of degree courses at SCU and advanced standing for the subjects they have completed. Our students are currently undertaking units of study in 'Processes and Philosophy of Engineering'; 'Biology'; 'Communication in Organisations' and 'Visual Communication and Design'. Free from university fees, the program offers high-achieving students the chance to gain a taste of university life, stimulate their interest in academic pursuits and enhance their educational performance and long-term aspirations. Shearwater students have had great success at Head-Start in the past and we wish this year's cohort all the best with their studies.
In the waning weeks of the 2017 school year, our intrepid and passionate (then) Year 10 Geography students were asked to plunder the depths of their boundless creativity, over one…last….school…project, one of which would be chosen as Shearwater's entry into a wonderful Youth Environmental Art competition, organised by a local treasure, acclaimed actor and passionate environmental crusader Tony Barry.
It was hot. The crickets were just warming up for their summer accompaniment and listlessness had begun to sing its siren song in the classroom. The students could already smell the sea and feel the surf, “holidays hurry up”. They were tired.
We were studying a wonderful topic in Geography about environmental issues and the way they are being managed. We were faced with the reality of the impact on Mother Earth and the advent of the era of the Anthropocene. The class looked at: the tsunami of plastics that we are swimming against, overfishing and the sixth extinction, focusing on insect population decline, climate change and deforestation. Such big issues, all of vital importance and equally mind boggling, these topics are often hard to process.
The aim of the competition was for our youth to voice their hopes and concerns for the environment through a variety of art mediums. What better way to end our studies than creating change or dialogue around the issues we had studied.
We ended up choosing the painting by Shayla Oates, pictured below, titled 'The Consumer'. A big congratulations to Shayla for her really insightful piece, she highlighted what is at the core of our environmental plight and for her efforts, her painting came fourth in the contest!
Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to photograph all of the completed pieces, some of which had limited life spans. Well done to Year 10 for opening your hearts and minds and voicing your reflections, and thank you for completing them in the limited time we had. The different mediums you used displayed the width and depth of your abilities and creativity.
Sometimes, with a little bit of effort, mixed with some heart and care, we can make a statement, spark a thread and create change that ripples out.
Nikki Treanor and Sandra Bain
The annual Shearwater Swimming carnival happened this week on Tuesday. The High School carnival started off with the Great Year Level Race, whereby each year level had 10 minutes to swim as many laps as possible. This allowed time for some students to warm up, some students to cool down and the Year 11 PDHPE students in charge of time-keeping and tallying to get switched on.
The 50m freestyle was next on the schedule with some fast times across the board. Oliver Pickering from Year 8 clocked the fastest lap of the day with 32.76 seconds. The breaststroke saw many participants and some smooth, slick styles. The butterfly event is often exhausting for participants and entertaining for the crowd but Year 12 student, lifeguard and long time swimmer Luca Tansley-Beckerman dove in and showed the younger students how it’s done. The backstroke saw some fresh faces crossing the finish line first.
The 100m freestyle offered the keen beans a chance to really kick things up a gear. Ariel Jeffreys from Year 9 swam the fastest time with 1 minute 26 seconds for two laps. The day ended with the year level relays. The teachers even submitted a team which was looking good for gold before some allegedly cheeky transitions from another team. Third umpire footage is still being reviewed.
The energy and participation levels greatly increased as the Primary School carnival took over layter in the day. There was lots of splashing from the pool and many squeals from the excited crowd. Mallee and Wyana from Class 6 tied for the fastest lap of the day of 40 seconds in the 50m freestyle. The breaststroke event had many participants and some close finishes, even requiring finals as times were so tight. The students did well with the butterfly and backstroke event, some even giving the 100m freestyle a go. It was great to see some beautiful swimming technique in the 25m novelty events as well.
At the end of the day 45 students qualified for regionals, which will be held at the Tweed Aquatic Centre in Murwillumbah, next Tuesday February 27. This is a great achievement and the students should be very proud of their efforts. We wish them all the best.
A big thank you goes to the Year 11 PDHPE students who helped time keep all day and were great role models to the younger students. Thank you to the parent volunteers and to all the staff who helped out before, during and after the event. Special thanks to all the happy and humble swimmers. It was a fun day with a strong focus on participation not podiums.
We have begun the new year at Preschool with great excitement and anticipation. Our educators have set the stage - to foster the children's creativity and engagement in 'doing' - with lots of fun thrown in as we work and learn together.
With many children new to our Preschool, some of whom are taking their first steps away from their families, the first weeks of the year are spent settling everyone into the Preschool rhythm. We firmly believe in forming a collaborative three-way relationship between each child, their parents and educators. We encourage and welcome opportunities to hold discussions with families and establish open lines of communication. Through this relationship we can share observations, thoughts and information so we will be in the best position to provide for individual needs and create a nurturing home-like environment where children feel safe and protected.
Class 4 has started the year with a Main Lesson enquiry into Polynesian and Melanesian culture, history, geography and mythology. ‘Island Song’ has brought lots of activities to the two classes, including weaving with Kim Tait, Haka and Maori songs with parent Matt Murchie and friends, model boat building, a Fijian kava ceremony (Rooibos and peppermint tea with almond milk makes a passable mock kava), as well as painting, drawing and form drawing.
There have been plenty of rich stories from all over the Pacific including the ubiquitous adventures of Maui, the Polynesian demi-god. Michael Lester and I swapped rooms at times to present something of expertise to each other’s class.
Class 4 is the beginning of the so-called ‘heart of childhood’. Harmony and beauty begins to emerge in the 10- and 11-year-old child but the fourth-class child must first cross a threshold during which they often feel at odds with the world - removed from the security and comfort that were supportive in previous years. This is a time to look around and see how one stands in relationship to that which is near, and to find security and uprightness through that relationship.
There is an earnestness stemming from a new awareness of just what they are up against in the world. Questions abound: "How do you know?", “Why is this so?” Stories of the valour and skill of the ancient Polynesian navigators, with their deep awareness of wind, tide, currents, stars and birds, meet their need to make sense of the world they are beginning to see with new eyes.
Our next Main Lesson will be a study of area and perimeter, followed by Class 4 classic ‘The History of Writing’, where they will experience the rich world of Norse mythology. With Egypt, Man and Animal and Fractions still to come there is much to look forward to this year!
Class 4 Teacher
Class 2D made a mandala this morning as part of their Ancient India main lesson. The children brought flowers, leaves, seed pods and sticks from home and worked together, as a class, with the help of some parents. "The goal for the day was to create something beautiful, for the sake of creating, then to experience the impermanence of what we created," said Class Teacher Nick Vuorinen. "The children also shared some incredible words around the mandala. It was hard work in the heat, but worth it."
When our new Class 1 students crossed the bridge for their first day of 'big' school, their faces said it all. The solemnity of the occasion was not lost on them as they proudly held the sunflowers presented to them by the Year 12s and received the songs of the Primary School, before stepping into the classrooms for their first day with teachers, Michael and Eva.
The crossing of the bridge marks the transition from Kindergarten to Primary School and the beginning of formal learning for the children. The parents remained on one side of the bridge (with nary a dry eye), as each class journeyed hand-in-hand to the other side, led by their teacher for the next seven years. The words of the Shearwater song seemed particularly poignant as these little Shearwaters heeded the 'call to leave home':
'Give us the courage on this our first flight in search of the sun and its life-giving light.'
© Shearwater The Mullumbimby Steiner School