The School recently hosted a group of Japanese students in the Primary School and High School. The students stayed with local families and attended classes with the children of their host families. The pictures below were taken on the student's final day, during a cultural presentation.
Under leaden skies, an intrepid group of Shearwater Class 4 students gathered on the bank of the Brunswick River at Mullumbimby's Heritage Park, last week, preparing for their 10km raft voyage to Brunswick Heads, the third such group, and the youngest, to make the journey in recent weeks. Beneath the watchful gaze of captains Harry Brown and Michael Lester, the children boarded their vessel, looking something like a bundle of giant pick-up sticks tangled up in a fishing net, and set sail on the tuning tide, under a heavy downpour, waving gallantly to their bedraggled farewell party, brimming with the spirit of adventure. The following is an excerpt from the ship’s log…
We had a little reprieve from the showers of the day to get started amidst squealing excitement at 8am. Harry had tidied the already proven craft for its current voyage. We strapped a few extra bamboos on the outriggers and adjusted the net. Finally, the mast and sails went up and we looked serious - well, ready for a few laughs once the tide provided the progress. Back-up vehicles were launched and loaded, then the scurvy crew embarked with much enthusiasm, albeit tainted with a scurrilous doubt or two.
It took a little while for the tide to turn and progress seemed tentative at first, the calls to shore finally faded as the current lead us seaward. It was amazing how quickly familiar bearings were lost and the river itself was the focus. Around a few bends and we were certainly in the realm of the early explorers, highlighted by the return of showers of rain, which shut us off in our own little world. Suddenly there was repeated an eerie call from above as a nesting sea eagle sang her enjoyment to see the children having so much fun in her leafy domain.
Then the rain really set in accompanied with blue lips and chattering teeth. Ah, the perils of adventures! Admirable Admiral Nic Thorne hooked us up to his craft and towed us deftly onward within reach of our destination. The sun briefly came out, the raft became a playground in the middle of the river, away from signs of human habitation. The final tow to the boat ramp at Brunswick was easy, although the outgoing tide had quite a pull to it. The Heads emitted an alluring call! There have been rafting expeditions that have survived the Pacific…
The wonders of being able to catch ourselves in the midst of our teaching programs and be open to stepping outside for a fresh experience, particularly one which unifies a class, enabling them to better learn together. Education is a cultural experience, stronger for its social connections.
A rafting expedition ties many things together (apart from the bamboo), offering an experience of our local environment from a different perspective; demonstrating the use of local resources; experiencing the dynamics of tidal effects first-hand; providing an experience of point of view from the limitations of sea level and teaching inclusion in a very practical way.
Class 4 Teacher
The wonderful 11- and 12-year-olds in our Class 6 are full of enthusiasm, gusto and curiosity about the world. They are a dynamic and vibrant class with some very strong opinions on the injustices in their immediate environment, and are delving into the outer world loudly albeit innocently.
We began our year with the ancient Roman Empire and all the vigour, war, power and law that came with this civilisation. The children sang, marched and wrote personal reviews on the events of the times. They worked on projects of their choosing from this time and painted pictures.
Complementing this study period, the children worked with Primary workshop assistant Marcia Gibbs, during their afternoon block lesson, on a group mosaic that now adorns our verandah (see image above).
Class 6 then sailed off into their Oceans of the World Main Lesson, during which they explored the geography and qualities of the oceans, through writing, painting and verse. Working in small groups, the children wrote poems, songs and raps and presented these to the class. It was wonderful to see our up and coming rappers, complete with costumes, educating us on their oceanic discoveries!
Currently Class 6 is delving into the world of percentages with their natural curiosity - a challenge to be understood, absorbed and conquered… so very Roman.
Personal clay projects help them wind down during the afternoon block lesson, as they each create a swan terrarium. It is fantastic to see them once again take to their work with enthusiasm, devotion and love.
Class 6 Teacher
The Primary School held its Autumn Festival, marking this week's equinox, on Wednesday. Before a display of abundance from the School's Farm and gardens, Class 4 students proudly handed over four kilograms of wheat, from their own harvest, to the current Class 3 students, who will plant the seed in the spring.
The Year 11 English Studies class have been hard at work investigating their heritage as they create their own interpretation of a family tree. Many students have found out all sorts of fascinating stories about their past - one going back 15 generations, and some even finding long lost relatives that they’ve made contact with. Researching their own family stories allows the students to better understand who they are in the world. After doing this and interviewing some close friends and family, students go on to write their own autobiographical story. It has been such a heartwarming experience witnessing this journey of self-discovery.
High School English
As part of the Short Story unit, Year 9 was lucky enough to take part in a workshop with local children's book author, Zanni Louise. Students learned about Aristotle's three-act structure - a model used in narrative fiction that divides a story into three parts, often called the Setup, the Confrontation and the Resolution. They worked on their story ideas and applied their learning to the development of their own work. A great opportunity provided by the Byron Writer's Festival for students to hone their skills and have contact with published authors. Interested students from some year groups will be able to attend the festival later in the year.
High School English
The new year and Term 1 are in full swing here at Rosewood Cottage Playgroup as we welcome new families and 'old' friends alike.
Kalos Orisate - a Greek welcome. Class 5S has begun the year with an immersion into the fascinating world of Ancient Greece, through story and skit writing. We have also been learning Greek dances and songs as well as applying our will to the sculpting and coiling of beautiful urns.
Early democracy is where the class are at. Like the Ancient Greeks, the Class 5 student or eleven-year-old child is still dependent on support but now want their say. They are desperate for freedom of movement, independence and feelings of control over their own lives, while still learning about the responsibility which comes with this. Our curriculum caters for these developmental changes as we take on the responsibility of caring for our new Class 1 buddies (see pictures above) and prepare for debating.
The following verse is is from Sophocles Antigone...
A working group has recently been formed with the aim of reactivating the School community's endeavour to get a bike path built between Mullumbimby and Shearwater. Meetings are being held regularly and an email list of families and community members keen to get involved is being compiled.
Cycling to school benefits our children's health and wellbeing, reduces our environmental footprint and is fun!
The first stage of the project is information gathering. Please take a minute to complete this survey if you haven't already. Every response makes a difference!
The Year 11 Drama students are hard at work on their production of Georg Buchner's timeless play, Woyzeck, one of the most influential and performed plays in German theatre. Hailed as theatre's 'first modern drama', Woyzeck offers the students an opportunity for creative, sculptural exploration in staging, as well as artistic and expressionistic stylisation in the performance. The story is simple and dynamic, with the added bonus of a Tom Waits movie soundtrack, some songs from which we are hoping to include in our version.
The play will be performed next term, June 13-15, in the Shearwater Hall. Watch this space!
The eight-year-old child still lives in a vivid world of pictorial imagination, but with an alertness and keenness for challenge and adventure. With this comes an ability to remember greater amounts and in sequential order. This is the time for extending the amount of writing, reading and mathematical work through artistic and experiential opportunities.
We have begun the year with animal fables, as the fox striving for the juicy grapes and the bear not heeding the warning from the little bee in the log. We have felt for the miller and his son as they carried their donkey into town, and the tortoise that tried to fly with the swallows.
The children’s thinking has awoken as they explore number patterns and delve into the rhythms and patterns of the times tables, following a range of animal tracks, which are pressed neatly into the earth in perfect sets – snake is one, emu two, wallaby three and dingo four. Clapping, stamping, chanting, drawing and weaving patterns within number, as we search for creatures and learn from their ways.
Our weekly visit to the library has reached a new level of excitement as the children borrowed their first books. We spent an afternoon poring over each other’s selections and earmarking some for next time with pleas of “can I borrow that after you?” – their enthusiasm a pleasure to see.
The hot and humid days provided the perfect setting to enjoy our swimming intensive at Mullumbimby Pool. Smooth strokes formed as the children learnt and practiced swimming technique and moved their lengthening limbs with increasing grace.
Add to this eurythmy, recorder and singing practice, gardening, painting, plenty of play and a weekly visit to Crystal Creek and these young souls are fully immersed in a living education. Oh to be eight again!
Class 2 Teacher
Our new little Hummingbee children are settling in hummingly to life at Kindy. We spent the first two days preparing our rest-time bags and pillows, with our parent helpers, and we’ve been getting to know each other, and our place here at Kindy, through stories of Mother Earth and Father Sky, Mother Cushion Cloud, Dripple and Dropple, Plip and Plop, as well as Fluffy Yellow Duckling and Peaceful Poinciana, Grandmother Koonyum and Grandfather Wollumbin. Our clever hands have made art folders, pompoms, puppet shows, paintings, drawings, Sunny Buns and much more. Our baby guinea pigs Nibbles and Squeaky are well cared for and cuddled every day. Outside we are busy playing in the rain and playing in the rain some more! Weeding, raking, planting, sand, water and mud play are all favourites. As the season turns we are swapping swimmers for cosy slippers and long sleeves, and will soon begin our preparations for Autumn Festival where we’ll share seedpod and autumn rainbow songs and dances with our families.
© Shearwater The Mullumbimby Steiner School