Shearwater students proudly showed their year's work to families and friends during the School's annual Open Day at the end of November - a breathtaking display of colour, creativity, beauty and incredible energy.
Last week, 11 of our elite Shearwater chess players attended their final interschool chess tournament for 2018, at St Joseph's Primary School in Alstonville. With over six different schools and various age divisions competing, our students showed great talent and exceptional manners in what turned out to be another fantastic social event. Their energy and effort resulted in some fantastic achievements, evidence of their continuous cycle of strategic learning.
On a gorgeous late spring evening, our group 46 graduating students, along with their parents, teachers and other friends and family, gathered at the Byron Bay Golf Club to celebrate the completion of their Shearwater journey. The Year 12 formal is the final gathering of the graduating class community - a colourful recollection of key events over their 14 years of schooling, as well as a time for thanks and for looking toward the greater challenges that the world will provide these young people unfolding their life journey and purpose.
A meal and many anecdotes were shared, heartfelt speeches given, and a multitude of hugs, laughs and tears were experienced by all of the 178 people who gathered for the farewell celebration. Both guardians and former class teachers spoke or sent messages to the students; and the presenting of the Shearwater engraved rings to each student was a highlight of the evening.
On behalf of the parents and teachers of the graduating class of 2018, Class Rep of seven years Michael Schwager and the class guardians Margaret Brandolini and Gillian Rogers wish the departing students all the happiness, fulfilment and success they deserve for their onward journeys.
Here at Playgroup, we were very lucky to have a visit from ‘Sunshine Susie’ with her magical biodynamic potion. We all helped stir the potion and then after an hour sprinkled it all around the Rosewood Cottage gardens. Mirabai and Lottie are investigating the potion with Susie (above).
Steven and Willa are grating beetroot together for our lunch. Dad is using the big grater and Willa is practicing her hand eye coordination and fine and gross motor skills on the small grater.
Quinne is deeply engrossed in is solitary play. His train track has stepped up to the next level as he has discovered adding blocks creates a kind of viaduct.
The groups are very busy making felted butterflies and everyone is joining in - beginning with observation, for one of our youngest children, Amber.
Another end of the year is approaching fast and many of our families are getting ready for Preschool next year. I feel very lucky to have been part of so much learning, building of friendships, sharing of happy times and deep intimate experiences. A big thank you to you all and the warmest wishes.
Instead of the usual parent teacher interviews, Class 5C tried a new initiative this term… student parent interviews. However, it wasn’t the students' own parents that they spoke with, it was the parents of their peers.
The students began the process at the beginning of term, by each randomly selecting a name and conducting "research" on their subject's social, emotional and physical learning. The results were compiled into a report folder to present to the child's parents.
Over the coming weeks, the students were prepared and provided with both guidelines and practice. They were all engaged with this activity and developed their capacity to reflect on, and evaluate, another student's learning.
One facet of this experience was that students were able to speak with confidence and clarity about what they had discovered about their peers. The real challenge for them was to understand that everyone learns differently and each person has areas of both strength and weakness. Communicating these subtleties to parents was a huge task but one that every child in the class managed extremely well. They exceeded my expectations and I was very proud of all of them.
Class 5 Teacher
Risk-taking is an essential part of learning and personal development for young people. Teenagers need to explore their own limits and abilities, as well as boundaries set by others. They also need to express themselves as individuals. It’s all part of their path to becoming independent young adults, with their own identities.
Unfortunately, the risk involved in different activities and settings can often be poorly judged by young people and they are over-represented in every category of risk-taking resulting in injury and trauma. For more information about the different types of risks for young people, see http://www.kidshelp.com.au/grownups/news-research/hot-topics/risk-taking.php .
Shearwater's year 11 students will be taking part in the RRISK Program later this month, aimed at reducing risk-taking behaviour associated with alcohol and drug use, driving and partying. Attending RRISK extends the school-based drug education and road safety curriculum, by providing opportunities for senior High School students to further develop knowledge, attitudes and skills to reduce risk-taking, and develop safer celebrating strategies.
Over 4,300 students from more than 62 high schools from Port Macquarie to Tweed Heads will be involved in the program this year. If you have a year 11 student in your family, encourage them to attend. Research shows that RRISK is effective in reducing young driver crashes (by 44 per cent), by equipping young people with strategies and practical skills to manage risks in their social lives, and on the roads, as drivers and passengers.
Look for information about the RRISK Program on the RRISK website www.rrisk.com.au
Shearwater will also be hosting a free parent workshop by Paul Dillon, one of Australia's leading experts on youth drug and alcohol use. Paul will discuss the latest research, statistics and trends, with an emphasis on:
The workshop will be held on Tuesday November 20 in the Shearwater Hall from 6.30-8.30pm. Tea and coffee will be provided. To secure a place please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on workshop presenter Paul Dillon click the 'Read More' link.
Last Thursday, Shearwater hosted a visit from David Carvalho, CEO of the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA), as part of a two-month tour, encompassing Sydney CBD, Wagga, Dubbo, Tamworth, Tweed Heads and other regional centres. The objective of the visit was to see, and hear from, rural and regional schools as a prelude to the upcoming NSW curriculum review.
During his visit, David experienced something of the scope of our learning program and its values: meeting and speaking with teachers and children, from Preschool to senior High School. He also took in the beautiful setting and expansive grounds of our campus, toured classrooms and workshops and was even treated to a sneak preview of WAVE costume entries, as the models and designers prepared for judging.
The impressions from David’s tour will augment the findings of the review, which will be used to build on the strengths of the current curriculum, while also providing scope to identify a direction for improvements. An overall approach to the way the curriculum is organised and presented in NSW is planned, and this includes articulating the purposes of the school curriculum, including underpinning philosophies and principles, and the appropriate scope for school community choices about content. There is also recognition, in the terms of reference for the review, that overcrowding may be an issue in the current curriculum framework and that priorities need to be identified for learning at different stages of schooling.
According to David: "We need to be careful, in the forthcoming review of the NSW Curriculum, [not to] fall into the trap of [only] thinking about models and thinking about systems. Education is an extremely dynamic process all about relationships - ecologies rather than systems."
Teachers, parents, students and the broader community are encouraged to contribute to the first major review of the NSW curriculum in 30 years. Use the link below to make your contribution:
Head of School
Former student and professional model Sabine Jamieson dropped in to give a few tips to the WAVE models during final rehearsals this week. Sabine, who was runner-up in the 2016 series of the TV show Australia's Next Top Model, said WAVE week at Shearwater felt like "coming home".
"This school really nurtured my creativity and my confidence," said Sabine, who is hoping to be accepted into the National Art School in Sydney next year. "I actually have a costume I created for WAVE in 2012, with my sister and my friend, in my portfolio!"
Sabine, who is signed with a Sydney modelling agency, said she'd had some great experiences, and described the fashion industry as "not as pretentious as you'd think".
"It's been great for my confidence and putting myself out there, and I like working with a creative team of people like designers and photographers. But I'm not that interested in fast fashion and consumerism."
"I want to study painting. I did a lot when I was at school here but for some reason I stopped when I moved to Sydney to live with my grandparents in Year 10. It was just a different lifestyle, I guess. What I'd really love is to be a curator. But I'll start with painting and see what happens!"
Our Hummingbee Kindies thoroughly enjoyed an outing to visit Wink Blink Lighthouse and to watch Wash Wallow Whale and his family travelling North to where the waters are warm… back to where Wash Wallow was born. “It feels like we’re flying!” one child commented as we began their first journey together on the school bus.
We have spent a whole term finger-knitting, weaving, feeding and sewing our beautiful Grandmother Shellyback Turtles - a wonderful long-term ‘will’ project. The children have discovered the pleasure and satisfaction of making something beautiful which requires perseverance and thoroughness. “My heart feels so filled up with love and excitement” was how one child described the moment she realised her turtle was almost finished. The children now want to make a story about the adventures of their turtles - a lovely reflection of the children feeling a sense of belonging and togetherness as a group, preparing to head to Class One next year.
Our Spring Festival last term began with the children and parents making flower crowns. We then shared some of the songs from our stories about Queen Honey Hum’s Happy Humming Hive, the Golden Palace.
This term, our garden has been lovingly sprinkled with a biodynamic preparation, known at Kindy as Star-Secret Sprinkles, to help Mother Earth nourish her soil and plants. The sense of wonder was tangible as the children stirred then looked at their wet hands to see if they could see the star sprinkles! Our potato harvest gave a bumper crop, which the children took home to share with their families for dinner.
Sand play, mud play and water play are becoming favourite activities at outside playtime, to keep us cool as the weather warms up again. We continue to stretch the capabilities of our limbs, trying new things on the monkey bars, balancing and pulling heavy loads for the garden.
This week we begin a woodwork project, making paddle boats, with lots of sanding, painting, sawing, hammering, tie-dyeing the sail, tying knots to secure the anchor and then finally launching, at the end of term, when the children will be well and truly ready to launch off on the next step of their own exciting journey into Primary School!
The Hummingbee Team
© Shearwater The Mullumbimby Steiner School