This year marks the centenary of Steiner education and more than 1100 schools around the globe are marking the occasion with a range of projects and initiatives.
As part of the Waldorf 100 celebrations, 12 students from Shearwater, the Mullumbimby Steiner school will be unravelling the big questions of our times at a national youth conference, hosted by Brisbane’s Samford Valley Steiner School, this week.
The conference will bring together senior students from Steiner schools around Australia, to explore social renewal, with a focus on racism and prejudice; divisions and world conflict; indigenous perspectives; minority groups; Australian and world-wide responses to refugees; the environment and sustainability; education and imagining the future; and the role of the arts, money and ethical business.
The students will spend three days immersed in workshops as diverse as moral technologies, living with bees, pliable ethical urbanism, refugees and art, indigenous perspectives, mural painting and song writing.
Year 10 students Hanini Schembri and Elzie Bambach who have just returned from a two-week camp to Vanuatu said they were all about expanding their horizons.
“My intention for this year is to take every opportunity that’s given to me,” said Elzie.
Hanini, who plans to become a Steiner teacher when she finishes school, said Steiner education may have its roots in the past but its focus is strongly on the future and preparing students for the world beyond school. “I would have to say the camps are a highlight – getting out of your comfort zone and having these amazing experiences with your class.”
“It’s like being part of a family,” added Elzie.
The first Steiner school opened in 1919 in the German city of Stuttgart. It was built at the Waldorf-Astoria cigarette factory, and its students were the children of the factory workers seeking a new approach to education following the devastation of World War 1.
With its emphasis on social renewal, it’s no surprise that Mullumbimby is home to one of Australia’s biggest Steiner schools. Shearwater will be celebrating 100 years of Steiner education at its annual Spring Fair on Saturday between 10am and 3pm. The fair will feature live music and entertainment, delicious food stalls, and crafts and activities for the whole family, including candle making, Sideshow Alley, spring garland weaving, a Wearable Arts showcase, Monster Raffle and one of the event’s highlights, the Spring Fair Busking Competition, which will again bring some of the most exciting emerging musical talent, from high schools around the region, to the stage.