During the first three weeks of Term 3, Julie’s Class 7 students planted 530 trees. 208 of these were donated by Mullumbimby’s Rainforest 4, to coincide with a visit to Shearwater by an Indonesian delegation dedicated to saving orangutans through education, conservation and plantings in their country. These trees were planted in a sharp bend of the creek beyond the music rooms and Grandfather Fig.
The other 322 trees were planted along the watercourse of our ephemeral wetland that was altered to facilitate the construction of the Kindergarten and Preschool.
Cathy’s Class 7 plantings from just six months ago behind the Kindy have absolutely thrived as a result of the wonderful wet weather that followed the dry hot summer.
These latest plantings behind the Preschool will have a harder time of it as we appear to be heading into another long, hot and probably dry spring and early summer.
As I am retiring after 19 years of environmental restoration at Shearwater, this will be my last Class 7 planting and I congratulate this class on the magnificent effort they put in. There was no shade for this planting, just full sun and some very windy days. Thank you Julie for what you have given these bright young students.
The School received a for $6,600 grant from the Biodiversity Conservation Trust (you’ve seen their Land for Wildlife signs all around the shire) to cover this planting and the next two years of wetland restoration.
With the help of farmer Beau (who probably planted some of the more established trees when he was a student of the School), we have also managed to plant 150 trees along the road verge, beyond the Farm dam, with Classes 8, 9 and 10.
All told, we have planted over 20,000 trees at the School since 2001 - an epic project and one I will miss being a part of. But I am confident Shearwater will continue its environmental restoration well into the future.
Thank you Shearwater, for letting me be the guardian of our forest.
Coordinator Gardening and Bush Regeneration
Some of the most distinctive memories from school life for most students are their class camps. Hopefully, Class 6 will remember their wonderful trip to Fraser Island and all that they experienced and learnt there.
Camps provide students with increased self esteem, independence, resilience and social learning. Students become more actively engaged in their education when they have the opportunity to learn in the real-world context of a camp.
Class 6 participated in a wide variety of activities including horse riding, bush tucker walks, raft building, hiking, archery and sea kayaking as well as eco-tours and educational talks from the rangers. They visited Kingfisher Bay, Lake McKenzie, Eli Creek, Central Station, the Maheno Shipwreck and the coloured sands at the Cathedrals. One of the many highlights for them was seeing a pair of young dingoes stealing beach towels from tourists and running away with them through Eli Creek.
Since our return to school the students have created a camp book with recounts of each day. They have also written a report about Fraser Island based on all the things they saw, heard, experienced and learnt. Most of them have also completed either a persuasive essay or a discussion on whether Fraser Island should have its name changed back to K’gari. This was the original name given to the island by the Butchella people and it means paradise.
Here is an example of a short discussion piece written by Otto:
Mist and haze surrounds the debate on whether Fraser Island should be actually called K’gari. There are different viewpoints about this potential change. K’gari is the traditional name given by the Butchella people of the island. Our “white” name for K’gari is Fraser Island and it was given this name because of Eliza Fraser who was stranded on the island with her husband in the early 1800’s. Her husband died on the island and she was taken by the Butchella people.
When Eliza went back to England after being rescued she apparently made money by telling horrific stories about how the Butchella people treated her. So the press dubbed K’gari Fraser Island. Many believe that K’gari should not be named after the Fraser family because they did nothing for the island and maybe Eliza lied to get money. But maybe in Eliza’s eyes she really was treated badly by the Butchella and they killed her husband so she deserved the money.
Also, Fraser Island is known for tourism, so changing the name would affect this and the island may lose money.
So, all in all, whatever we call this beautiful island we need to protect it no matter what and care for it.
The 11-year-old child learns fast, developing graceful agility in all endeavours, thus ushering in a ‘golden year’ of childhood. With a subtle balance in heart rate and breathing achieved, new neural pathways emerge.
This year, we have begun to deepen our learning into many of the subjects introduced in previous years. We have expanded fractions into decimals, dollars and percentages and approached science through the observation of natural phenomena.
The thematic thread in 2019 has been the wisdom of the ancient Greeks. Whether through myth, history, mathematical knowledge or artistic pursuits, the quest for beauty and perfection has broadened the children’s scope and attitude towards learning, with artistic work embracing more individuality. We traced the influence of Ancient Greek on the English language and began to recite passages from the works of Homer. This was complimented in Eurythmy with Greek poetry and the representation of the Ancient Greek alphabet.
After our sports carnival early this term, we began training for the Greek Olympics, which will include several other Steiner schools from our region. While some of the events will be similar to those of the athletics carnival, many of the techniques will be different, with an added emphasis on grace and beauty, in addition to speed and strength. Long jump will be done from a standing start and javelin introduced, along with discus. The students will also compete in wrestling, for which training has begun, with much enthusiasm (pictured above)! Our regular classes in Bothmer Gymnastics have also been building the students' strength, agility and coordination.
Our first main Lesson of Term 3 is a study of the Antarctic. Along with the fascinating animal forms and dramatic geography, the students were enthralled by the incredibly heroic journeys of Shackleton, Amundsen, Scott and Mawson. We have also done numerous experiments involving ice, salt and water, one of which involved measuring the temperature of ice in fresh water, compared to ice in salty water. While the fresh water was measured at two degrees celsius, the salty water plunged well below zero. We will conclude this fascinating main lesson with a project and an ice skating excursion.
The students are currently weaving , knitting and learning leather craft, and soon will begin to build and fire a Greek urn, a classic Class 5 project. We have also begun to learn the alto recorder and some fun pieces on our violins, violas, cellos and basses for a concert at the end of term.
Class 5 Teacher
Thanks to Year 9 student Charlie Gill for his photos
More than 350 students from Class 5 to Year 11, competed in Shearwater's 2019 Athletics Carnival last week. It was a great day and those who attended competed in a happy and humble manner, with 23 individual records broken and more than 80 students qualifying for the regionals. Silver Diamonds continued their winning streak in the house competition, with a whopping 3505 points, followed by Firestormers at 2990, Breakers, just behind in third place, with 2930 points and Nimbus on 2495.
A big thank you to all the staff and parents who helped out on the day. Special thanks to the grounds crew who were there from start to finish. A big thank you also goes to the Year 11 student helpers, they did a great job, not only helping run many of the events but also participating and setting a great example for the younger students. Congratulations to the students who qualified for the NCIS Regional Athletics Championships. Watch this space for more details!
As the longest night of the year draws near and the whole school prepares to come together to mark the return of the light on Friday's winter solstice, the Primary School is a hive of activity, putting the finishing touches on lanterns, dipping candles, practising songs and the intricacies of the lantern walk - one of the Festival's highlights.
These activities, which are unique to this time of year, help build the atmosphere of reverence and wonder for the children. Friday's Winter Spiral is one of these special moments for students in Class 1, 2 and 3, helping bring an inner quiet and peace, before the colour and song of the Winter Festival story, that takes place in the Hall for the Primary School and our graduating class. The night is nigh, the time is near. We wish everyone a beautiful Festival night, full of peace and cheer.
Primary School Coordinator
Congratulations to Class 4 students, Olly and Finley, who took out first place, representing Shearwater, in the junior division of the Australian Marbles Competition, held at Brunswick Heads on Saturday. It was the second year the Shearwater team has taken out first place, with Olly also retaining his title as the junior division's overall winner. Congratulations also to Shearwater duo Anelle and Catia, who were runners up in the junior division. A lot of fun was had by all the competitors.
© Shearwater The Mullumbimby Steiner School