High School Science Teacher
Our Year 11 Biology students recently conducted a field study at Flat Rock, with the data they collected used to complete a scientific report as part of their assessment. The students gathered information on ecosystems from the rocky foreshore. They collected abiotic and biotic data to determine the distribution and abundance of two chosen species.
High School Science Teacher
In the High School here at Shearwater, we strive to offer our students unique learning opportunities that go beyond the subject syllabus content and align with their stage of development. We know that the 14year-old is developing their sense of self and their capacity for thought. So, our Year 8 students engage in a personal interest project (PIP) and embark on an individual learning journey. This path of discovery enables them to feel a sense of ownership over their learning, as they follow their own passions and engage with the wider community, seeking mentorship from people with related skills and interests.
Students learn how to plan, research, execute and document a project. They learn the value of good time management and communication skills. They build resilience through sustained will activity and having to overcome obstacles. Currently we have many different projects on the go, due to be completed and presented on August 24th. These include a magazine, jewellery, tarot cards, clothes, a novel, books with illustrations and creative writing, a bed, a skateboard, a table, photography, painting, drawing, ceramics, a guitar, refurbished bikes, a bike ramp, learning new skills, a cookbook, a podcast, an online course, embroidery, farm renovation, a custom computer, a Lego diorama, a golf book, an environmental film, chest rub, a quilt, crochet, a bushwalk, a custom basketball jersey, a mirror and many other wonderful things.
As a teacher, it is very inspiring to see young people taking responsibility for their learning and working through challenges to find creative solutions. Although I look forward to seeing the finished products and hearing the students speak about their PIPs, the journey is so much more valuable than the end result. My hope for these amazing young people is that they learn from this experience and move forward with a stronger belief in themselves and their capabilities; that their love of learning is nurtured and that a curiosity in the world and connection to the community is fostered.
In the woprds of Rudolf Steiner, “our highest endeavour must be to develop free human beings who are able of themselves to impart purpose and direction to their lives. The need for imagination, a sense of truth, and a feeling of responsibility – these three forces are the very nerve of education.”
And, in the words of the students:
“I have found PIP really exciting and when I get past obstacles I feel a sense of accomplishment.”
“I tried something I wouldn’t have otherwise for PIP and I have really enjoyed it.”
“If you put so many hours into something you love it is worth it.”
“Getting everything together on time is a bit challenging but it’s a good experience for future events and teaches you to keep going when things are hard.”
Year 8 Guardian
In a time of uncertainty, it is a privilege to be a part of the Shearwater community and to be held within the sanctuary of Class 1. To arrive each morning to the sound of roosters crowing and cows mooing, to see the waterfalls after rain, tumbling down Koonyum Range – all of this is nothing short of a blessing.
Class 1K has had a beautiful first half of the year and, as we enter into Term 3, there is certainly a feeling of having settled into what it means to be a part of Primary School. The children have enjoyed many whole-school activities such as Swimming Carnival, Bush Dance, Autumn Festival and Winter Festival and on a weekly basis they are overjoyed to have their Class 5 buddies join them for games and reading. It has been an invaluable experience for the class to have the older children to look up to and be inspired by, and Class 5D have been truly exemplary students to have as role models.
Reconciliation Week was a very significant and celebrated week for us. We read, drew and reflected on many indigenous stories and participated in Wear It Yellow Day, an initiative of Children's Ground, an organisation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children, which was begun by the family of a student in our class. The children dressed up in all the yellow they could find and we were very lucky to have Mudjai share some yidaki/didgeridoo and stories with us. During gardening, we picked a basket-full of White Aspin bushfood with our knowledgeable and beloved Nadia, which all added to the yellow of our day!
This term, we have started our Local Surrounds main lesson while also celebrating NAIDOC week, where every morning circle is about honouring nature and community through the words, songs and chants of First Nation peoples of America and Australia, including two songs from Mer Island in the Torres Strait. We share stories while passing around a talking snake, where each child has the chance to share something about their family, where they live, what they hear and see from their homes, and ways they think we can help to take care of nature. The children are also learning how to map their local surrounds including the classroom, their homes and other parts of the Budjalung Nation.
Last Friday, we went on our first excursion to the Three Sisters Walking Track in Broken Head. The children had a wonderful time looking out for whales, exploring the rock pools and rock-hopping in the little sandy cove beside the ancient sister-ancestors, who remind us to always heed the warnings of our elders and take care when swimming in the rough seas.
Here is a simple but pertinent Navajo prayer that we recite in our morning circle, to guide us through these times. May we strive to create beauty in our world - in our thinking, our feeling and our doing.
I walk with beauty all around me.
I walk with beauty before me,
I walk with beauty above me,
I walk with beauty behind me.
Let all my thoughts be beautiful!
Let all my words be beautiful!
Let all my deeds be beautiful!
I walk with beauty all around me.
Class 1 Teacher
In Birdsong Kindy, we have started the term celebrating many six-year-old birthdays! Each child has a birthday celebration throughout the year. Parents send stories honouring each year in the birthday child's life, to be told with the lighting of the candles. We sing our Kindy birthday song and the child is gifted with a birthday crown. Each crown is hand-dyed and stitched and imbued with love. The children receive this gift proudly, knowing it was made especially for them. One birthday child even wore theirs to bed this week! Each child in the class draws a picture to be bound into the birthday book, and messages are added, thanking the child for all the gifts they bring to our kindy. To finish our celebration, we enjoy fruit sticks made by the birthday child's family.
The six-year-old birthday is an important one to honour. The Kindy year can bring many changes, physically, socially and emotionally. We support the children in Kindy by viewing them with kind eyes, knowing they are all experiencing a transition and are striving to find balance and harmony within themselves. We set out our days and weeks with a strong routine and rhythm, helping them gain confidence in the familiar while they grow and change. We also hold consistent, firm and loving boundaries for the Kindergarten child, knowing that children look to adults for guidance, acknowledging them as individuals while supporting them to participate safely and harmoniously within the class setting and the broader community.
Outside we continue to enjoy the glorious winter sun. The children run, jump, climb, balance, build, carry, push, monkey bar and expand their bodies, working on muscle development as well as gross motor skills. We balance this "breathing out" with our "breathing in" times; story, drawing, craft, baking and painting, building on concentration and fine motor skills.