Carols and Shepherds: Christmas is Coming

Carols and Shepherds: Christmas is Coming

17 Nov 2022

The Carol Service, one of Glenaeon’s signature events, is about to return, and its been three years in the waiting. We’ve had a gradual return to normal community life, and this will be an even more special end of year than usual.

We celebrate our end of year by coming together as a community for a non-denominational festival of the season, Monday November 28th in the Pitt Street Uniting Church in the city.

It’s in a church but this is not a church service. It’s all about the music but it’s not just carols. Christmas has a vast range of music to offer, not just the traditional carols. Our Head of Music Ian Munns has selected a repertoire that balances some traditional with some beautiful contemporary, and he has come up with an uplifting and inspiring program.

The festival Is not about belief, it’s about mood: a blend of the reverent and the joyful, an inward mood that creatively captures the spirit of the season.  The music is beautiful, and our students carry the evening in a range of choirs and ensembles. The mood is created right from the beginning as the Class 4 students entry in procession carrying candles. The mood is accessible to all faiths and expresses the school’s tolerant and diverse culture.

There are many former students and families of Glenaeon who come back specially to the Carol Service to enjoy our unique manner of celebrating Christmas. For many it’s like a tonic, a dose of a warm and inspiring community experience that for many complements the rush of the Christmas season that is about to begin. To quote TS Elliot, it’s a still point in the turning world of Christmas.

Our Carol Service involves every student from Class 4 to Year 11. There is an important role to play for every student who we expect to attend in full school uniform. Students should arrive by 6.15pm at the latest, for a 6.30pm start.

All families in the school are invited, although we do ask that parents who bring any younger children take responsibility to supervise them during the proceedings.

I can guarantee the service will send you home uplifted by the music and joyful in spirit.

Then on Thursday December 8th our teachers continue the long-held tradition of performing The Shepherds Play in the Sylvia Brose Hall at Middle Cove. This Christmas gift to the students is a recreation of one of the York Mystery plays from the Middle Ages and is always a treat for all. There will be an evening performance at 7pm to which all parents are invited.

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A Healthy Social Life is found….in the Year 10 Musical

A Healthy Social Life is found….in the Year 10 Musical

15 Sep 2022

Into the Woods certainly took us more than into the woods. The Year 10 musical last week  highlighted so many elements of what education can be.

Our unique model of the whole Year 10 group performing a show seems so counter-intuitive to performing arts brains. The standard school musical of auditioning across year groups to capture the most talented seems so obvious. Yet as Into the Woods demonstrated last week, the standard that Glenaeon reaches in our stage shows from one year group can be quite remarkable. So why do we do it this way, when it could be so much easier to take the tried and standard route?

There are important educational elements at stake:

  • the power of theatre to transform young lives needs to be an experience for all students, just like learning Maths or Science: there were students on stage in major roles who no one would have expected to step up. Those who know them best, parents and teachers, would never have dreamed some of those students could have got up and held an audience in the palm of their hand in the way they did.
  • Some students will probably never again be in a theatre show. But at least once in their life they were, and they can be proud of it. They helped backstage, supported each other on cues and entrances, with props and sets, all contributing their own individual best to the magic that is theatre in creating an imaginary world for the audience.
  • The experience of community building was so obvious. The mutual support gave a unique experience of shared achievement. The lead singers can only do what they do with the sets and props put in place by unseen hands: they can only do their starring role with the support of those unseen hands. Theatre is a unique team-building exercise.
  • Being someone else grows emotional intelligence: theatre has a particular power in stretching an actor’s emotional repertoire to encompass “otherness”, a fundamental pillar of a mature, emotionally resilient personality.

     

Most importantly, each student did his or her best: some sang a lot, some didn’t sing much at all, but every one of the students did their absolute best. They each contributed their “virtue” to the community whole.

There is a saying from Dr Steiner that we quote from time to time: The healthy social life is found, when in each individual soul, the whole community finds its reflection, and when, in the community, the virtue of each one is living. The virtue, the best, of each of Year 10 was on display last week, and we are all the better for it.

Tim Ross, parent of two boys in our primary school and TV presenter, wrote to me after the show to congratulate the production team. I think his words speak for many:

…School plays are so formative and I got a little misty eyed at the standing ovation…hitting the stage as a teenager was a defining moment in my life.

I’m sure our year 10 students will look back on Into the Woods as a defining moment in all their lives!

End of term:

Farewell to Year 12 next week is a poignant moment when we say goodbye to our senior class. After a walk through all the classes from Kindergarten up on Monday, we will hold our Farewell assembly on Tuesday morning before Year 12 embarks on their Magical Mystery Tour. I look forward to cooking breakfast for Year 12 on the balcony, before they are farewelled by every class on the campus and they head up the hill to the bus that will take them to a destination unknown for a final and fun day as students. They will return after the HSC for the formal Graduation Assembly, but for now, it’s Farewell Year 12!

Spring festivals next week promise to be a joyful welcome to the warmer weather and the new life which this time of year brings. We hope to have a return to maypole dancing and and a happy in person celebration on the round oval at Middle Cove for Class 1 to Year 11.

As the last Newsletter of Term 3, 2022, I wish all families a restful and refreshing break and look forward to seeing everyone in term 4!

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Showcase Celebrations! 2022 HSC Showcase Visual Arts and D&T

Showcase Celebrations! 2022 HSC Showcase Visual Arts and D&T

04 Aug 2022

Term 3 is a very special time for our most senior cohort. As our Year 12 students really buckle down to their study, focusing on a deep and meaningful synthesis of all they have learnt and honing their examination technique in preparation for their Trial and final HSC exams, it is also a period of celebration and fulfilment as the practical components of their courses are completed and put on show.

The Visual Arts and Design Showcase was an enormous success, and the works on display demonstrated perfectly the significant achievements that are realised when will is directed by thought and enlivened by feeling.

The functional yet incredibly beautiful Pedal Pod, the innovative Cricket Ball Buddy, the very aesthetic Gym Wall that anyone would happily install in a spare room and the calming Terrariums that revealed a philosophical understanding of past, present and future, all spoke to the fulfilment of the design process that births the new through considered, sustained effort. The culmination of Glenaeon’s Artisan program in the HSC Design and Technology course thus examples the pinnacle of student led will activity.

Championing the realm of feeling are the Visual Arts works and this cohort’s offerings were up to the usual very high standard we expect of Glenaeon’s Year 12 students. Whimsical worldviews from childhood, bodies and organs as commodities, perceptions of self, the art of aging, mental states of distress and tranquillity, everyday objects repurposed for adornment, 21st century maturing and the blueprint of form and function were all concepts that were subtly explored by the students through artistic endeavours that evidenced a sensitive feeling-into their personal experiences of being. These works demonstrate fulfilment of the visual branch of Glenaeon’s Aesthetic curriculum and speak to the beautiful awakening that is arrived at through art.

Most wonderfully this year, the Showcases are again open to the broader school community and, along with teachers and Year 12 families and guests, the great number of Year 10 and 11 parents and students present at the event on Friday, 22 July brought a lively buzz to the evening. The works on display were not only admired by all who recognised and appreciated the students’ valuable, creative output, they also inspired our younger cohorts and got students thinking about what they themselves may like to produce in the not too distant future! 

The celebrations will continue, and please come along to the Music and Humanities Showcase on Friday, 26 August!


Thank you!

Our senior teachers play an integral role in the development of each student’s Major Work and I and the Glenaeon community extends deep-felt gratitude to Visual Arts teachers Ms Alisan Smotlak (Head of Department) and Ms Donna Miller and to Design and Technology Senior Teacher, Mr Anthony Fiore. Their reflections on their course and their students’ progress, as well as their blessings, are a delightful read below.  

 

The Year 12 Visual Arts Showcase is a celebration of who you are and what you have achieved thus far.  May the arts take you forward into life with appreciation of what creativity and imagination can be, limitless in its capacity to feed the soul!

I am trying to imagine myself standing in front of you all and the harvest of your hard work and efforts over the past three terms!  You have all produced art that you likely never imagined would be possible!  You have each been on a personal journey of discovery, heartache, problem solving and realisation!  On that journey, I’m sure you have learned a great deal about yourselves, and just what you are capable of! With every hurdle, you drew strength and carried on. When it hurt the most, you recovered to be stronger!  Donna Miller, Teacher of Visual Arts Practical Year 12 2022

 

The HSC Visual Arts is a rich course where the student has the opportunity to explore and discover a variety of materials and concepts. The goal towards the dynamic synthesis of these elements reflects the world experienced by a senior student on the precipice of moving forward into the adult world.

The challenges and joys the artwork takes the student through are backbones to be drawn upon when encountering the many interesting experiences that life will bring.  Alisan Smotlak, Head of Department (Visual Arts)

 

Design and Technology has a unique focus on creativity, innovation and the successful implementation of inventive ideas. Through the development of a Major Design Project, students have the opportunity to explore and develop technologies and demonstrate insight into the future uses of technology. This year, the students have demonstrated qualities of perseverance, project management and creative problem solving in the development and realisation of their projects. Each of them have learnt and developed an appreciation for the complex relationships that exist between factors that impact on designing and using technology. Further to this, each student exhibits a deep understanding of the importance these aspects play in the future use of technology and its relationship to the environment and the forwarding of human kind.   Mr. Anthony Fiore - Design and Technology Teacher

 

*Please note photos of student works cannot be published yet due to NESA embargo restrictions

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The Quiet Miracle: For the Love of Learning

The Quiet Miracle: For the Love of Learning

21 Jul 2022

Welcome to Term 3, with a very warm welcome to the new students and their families who join us to complete their high school years at Glenaeon. 

Last weekend, The Sydney Morning Herald ran a story on the appointment of Diana Drummond as our incoming Head of School. The article prompted a very fine response from Stephanie Dowrick, a former parent of Glenaeon and a widely published author and commentator.

STEPHANIE DOWRICK:

I was a "Steiner parent" for ten years. My children are thoughtful, caring, creative and productive adults now and I am immensely grateful for their Steiner education and all that it gave them. It is far closer to the best in Europe with a highly developed awareness of the natural world, the seasons, our innate creative impulses - and thinking capacities way in advance of conventional education where so much rote/prescribed learning produces far less innovation. This is exactly what's needed in 21st-century life. The emphasis on "deep learning" through focused Main Lessons will also be a vital counter to the agitation of rushing from one "instant" screen excitement to another. Or setting children against one another through constant exams, tests and rankings. To learn to LOVE LEARNING is a quiet miracle. It's not for the most conventional of families, and of course as a private school, it is not within reach of all. But Diana Drummond may well have landed one of the most rewarding principal positions in NSW. May it go very well for her and for Glenaeon.

Our education can be difficult to explain to those that have not yet experienced what it means to be a student at a Steiner school, or a “Steiner Parent”. The qualities of our education are intangible, subtle and nuanced.  In terms of community perceptions, we can be seen as “the road less travelled”.

So can I invite you to consider and share your view on what it means to be a Steiner parent? Feel free to drop me an email at headofschool@glenaeon.nsw.edu.au and I will be very interested in hearing your views.

I must agree with Stephanie that being Head of School at Glenaeon is indeed one of the most rewarding school leader positions in the country. It has certainly been the privilege of a lifetime for me personally.

The Term Ahead:

There is much to look forward to this term including the HSC D&T and Visual Arts Showcase tomorrow night, and the Music Showcase four weeks later, the Year 10 Musical: Into The Woods, HSC Trials, exams, excursions, Outdoor Education experiences like kayaking, a snow trip, rich Main Lessons and a Spring Festival with the promise of warmer days ahead.

Have a wonderful term, and may we all continue to love learning even more!

 

Andrew Hill
Head of School

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Parents welcome our incoming Head of School, Diana Drummond

Parents welcome our incoming Head of School, Diana Drummond

10 Jun 2022

On Tuesday evening we welcomed our incoming Head of School Diana Drummond to the Sylvia Brose Hall. A crowd of 100 parents braved the chilly evening to meet and greet Diana at her first official function with our parent community.  Welcomed by our current Head of School Andrew Hill and Board Chair Peter Candotti, Diana was introduced and shared both her story and her educational philosophy that has drawn her to our school.  Glenaeon Parents’ Association Co-Chair Sabine Simmons gave a warm welcome on behalf of the parents of Glenaeon, followed by drinks and canapés where Diana met and mingled with the enthusiastic crowd.

There will be more events planned to give parents the opportunity to get to know Diana who commences in January 2023.

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Diana Drummond appointed Glenaeon's new Head of School

Diana Drummond appointed Glenaeon's new Head of School

19 May 2022

Education leader Ms Diana Drummond has been appointed the new Head of School at Glenaeon Rudolf Steiner School. Announced by Peter Candotti, Chair of the School Board at an all staff meeting on Wednesday afternoon, Ms Drummond will commence in the role in January 2023 taking over from Mr Andrew Hill who has held the position of Collegiate Chair and Head of School for the past 14 years.

Ms Drummond joins Glenaeon having completed more than 15 years in school leadership roles, most recently at Wenona where she has been Deputy Principal (Teaching and Learning) since 2018 and is currently Deputy Principal (Professional Practice and Leadership). Diana’s prior experience included Vice Principal of the co-educational International School Bangkok, Head of the Junior School MLC Burwood, Junior School Deputy at St Catherine’s School, as well as senior leadership roles at the AIS NSW.

Of the appointment, Mr Candotti said, “I am delighted to welcome Diana to Glenaeon. She is a committed, passionate educator and leader whose values align with Glenaeon’s holistic, nurturing, and creative approach to teaching and learning. Her experience has demonstrated that she is an innovative, collaborative and future-focused educational leader who listens and invests energy into building relationships with individuals and groups. She is well experienced in leading learning communities, in strategic thinking, and the professional development of teachers and support staff. Building on Andrew’s outstanding legacy, Diana will capably lead Glenaeon in the next exciting phase of the school’s growth and development.”

On her appointment, Ms Drummond said, “Glenaeon presents an outstanding and unique educational offering. By developing each young person’s academic, cultural and emotional capacity through a focus on knowing students deeply, age-appropriate and integrated learning experiences, and strong community connection, Glenaeon is a school of choice for “thinking” parents. I am excited by the opportunity that a move into Steiner education brings with its focus on teaching as an artform and where the education of young people is imbued with meaning and purpose.”

Outgoing Head of School Andrew Hill said, “It has been the privilege of a lifetime to lead Glenaeon. We have achieved so much over the past decade and a half, and I am extremely proud of the united and enriching community that has developed around our school. Diana brings long experience, enormous expertise and great personal qualities that will build on these foundations and take Glenaeon to new heights as a vibrant centre of Steiner education.”

Mr Hill will work with Ms Drummond to facilitate a smooth transition into 2023.

The Board wishes to thank all the candidates who applied and warmly congratulates Ms Drummond, and kindly acknowledges Andrew Hill’s significant contribution to the School, its teachers and staff, parents and students over the past 14 years.

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The cycle of the seasons: “Life and love will always prevail”

The cycle of the seasons: “Life and love will always prevail”

06 Apr 2022

We celebrated the turning of the season last week in our Harvest Festivals through the school. From Preschool to High School there was the annual celebration of the bounty of Nature, and the gathering of the fruits of the summer sun as we prepare for the coming cold and greater darkness of winter. These festivals go back thousands of years and have their origins in humankind’s profound connection with the cycles of the seasons. In this time of deep concern over our environmental crises, more than ever we need to remind ourselves of our dependence on the cycles of the earth and cosmos that sustain our lives. After a beautiful series of offerings by the students, the high school festival gathered fresh fruit and vegetables for OzHarvest which supports the homeless and disadvantaged in our community.

The primary school harvest festival had a deeper symbolism as well. Ancient Harvest festivals also drew on the dragon story of St Michael and his taming of the dark forces that threaten to overwhelm our humanity. The taming of the dragon was a centre piece of the primary festival at Castlecrag, and all the children provided characters in the story, from Class 1 with their symbolic swords aloft through to Class 6 as the main actors in the story. Class 5 children manned the dragon in a suitably menacing way. It was a potent statement of the dark forces in our world, as Class 6 teacher Katherine Arconati introduced the festival with the reminder that the story was an imaginative picture of our own battles with forces within us, and around us.

We do not need to search very far for such reminders in the state of the world today. On the weekend I saw a post from a European Steiner connection who is in daily contact with biodynamic farmers in Ukraine. The Ukraine produces a significant amount of grains, particularly wheat, and the biodynamic farms there work closely with the seasons, planting in the spring to harvest at the end of summer. Their spring is just arriving and yet at this moment their country is threatened by invasion. I was inspired to read of their steadfast response in the face of such threat, a truly courageous and heroic stand.

One contribution to this question reached me from Ukraine on 15 March, in the daily report from Shiva Semliya (Living Earth), a biodynamic farm in Potutory, 100 kilometres south-east of Lviv: "Today was a wonderful, warm early spring day. The mosaic of our fields in dark brown and pale yellow extends in the sunshine and it seems as if the fields were rising toward the light, ready for the power of spring streaming in from the cosmos. And in the morning, Venus, the star of love, stood mighty and high above the Eastern horizon. Life and love will always prevail."

End of Term

We close Term 1 today and I wish all families, students and staff a restful and refreshing break. May Easter be a time of blessing and renewal in spirit. We look forward to welcoming all our students back on Wednesday 27th April for the start of Term 2.

 

Andrew Hill
Head of School

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Main Lessons: Meaningful Learning in World Citizenship

Main Lessons: Meaningful Learning in World Citizenship

17 Mar 2022

Last Thursday I ran a Parent Education session on the “big picture” of the Main Lesson curriculum that our teachers deliver at Glenaeon, and if you wish to see a recording, here is the link: 

https://glenaeon-nsw.zoom.us/rec/share/LJ_-b2ZSeL4FaaHNECLaFF1nKDrDroxOfMbPILQQFB7OYAW7ZAK0227sjVcXLHlU.Lg9TXiUq32C2u5hr
Access Passcode: dhrty12! 

This unique curriculum probably deserves a more expansive name than Main Lessons, which simply describes their place as the main lesson of the day. One very supportive family whose three children had been right through the school suggested Explorations as a better name, more suggestive they felt of the breadth and expansive quality of mind that the Main Lessons foster. 

My own preference for a new name is World Citizenship. This unique curriculum comprises no less than 140 experiences that build understandings in specific subjects and most importantly, tells the story of humanity, the golden thread of human development from the fairy tale world at the dawn of human consciousness to the sophisticated 21st century world that has us facing the challenge of how to maintain a human future. By telling the human story from beginnings to now, the Main lessons build a sense of each student’s place as a future world citizen.

In preparing the talk, I was reminded of a retrospective that one of our long term students wrote just days before she finished Year 12. Mia Westcott’s Year 12 retrospective is a long and considered piece, reflecting the deep intelligence that since leaving Glenaeon has seen her graduate in Medicine and become medical practitioner working with disadvantaged aboriginal women in the Newcastle area. Written as she finished school and was looking back on her journey, one of her final paragraphs describes how powerful she found our Main lesson program.

I have always found Main Lesson such a huge part of my life at Glenaeon, a fascinating and enjoyable experience. The things I have learnt in Main Lessons seem to recur throughout life, and make daily life a richer experience. I have found evidence of this when travelling, such as when I knew as much about Norse Mythology as the tour guide when in Norway, felt like I was with old friends when looking at the wonderful paintings and architecture of the Renaissance in Italy, and actually knew what the guide was talking about in India, as I had studied both the Ramayana and Bhagavad Gita. My parents have made me realise just how lucky I am to have learnt about all these things, and I would have thought it perfectly normal, but for the fact that they often didn't have a clue what I was talking about. Main Lessons were also an excuse to draw and be creative, and when I look back at my main lesson books, I remember the great pleasure I received from this. I have to admit, I still have every single Main Lesson book from primary school and most from high school, and (don't tell anyone), I actually enjoy getting them out and looking through them, remembering the fantastic stories.

Another Glenaeon graduate, also a doctor and also in the Newcastle area, donated his entire Main Lesson book collection to our archives. Dr Andrew Keyworth who runs a family practice in Charlestown, mentioned to me after one of our GlenX evenings that he was cleaning out his garage and couldn’t bear to throw out the product of his primary schooling at Glenaeon. All his main lesson books from his class teacher years has journeyed with him through various family moves, his university training and his own family homes. He was reluctant to throw out the books he had created as a record of his own learning at Glenaeon. We gladly accepted them, acknowledging once again how powerful meaningful learning can be. Meaningful learning builds Meaningful Lives!

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The Cultural Cycle of the Year

The Cultural Cycle of the Year

03 Mar 2022

Every morning we wake up, roll over in bed, sit up and perhaps lie back down, and we then eventually find ourselves standing on our feet. At that moment we are conscious of ourselves in space, although I admit that it would be unusual if that realisation genuinely arose to the level of a concrete thought on a daily basis. At the same time, the fact that it is a new day, that we have moved on from yesterday, are standing in the present, and are starting to prepare ourselves for the future, reveals to us the reality that we are beings in the stream of time. Again, not necessarily a realisation that is dwelt upon at 6:00am. Nevertheless, each morning as we start our day we leave the world of sleep where we have had no sense of space or time and again awake into a three-dimensional physical reality and an inner sense of continuity. When we are feeling well, we awake to a rightful sense of place (space) and an experience of purpose and meaning (time). 

Experiencing wellbeing in the context of ‘the self in space’ relies on our bodies being healthy and in balance, and our environment being safe, beautiful and appropriately stimulating. Experiencing wellbeing in the context of ‘the self in time’ is more complex, but an essential element is the assurance of continuity which relies on our innate trust in and experience of rhythms. Trust in the 24-hour day/night cycle and our unconscious comfort in the knowledge that the sun will set in the evening and rise in the morning is foundational to a healthy sense of ourselves in time, and we all acknowledge the necessity of the rhythmic balance between being awake and descending into asleep. For most of us, trust at this most basic of levels is thankfully a given. The importance of the weekly cycle, and the balance between work and play and the ways in which this rhythm impacts our wellbeing is also something quite universally understood. Having an awareness of how the yearly rhythm gently underpin our wellbeing and sense of purpose and meaning, however, is an aspect that isn’t as immediately apparent. Instead, it is a realisation which rises slowly into relief when elements that enhance our experience of this support are taken away.

Throughout the last two years, the daily and weekly rhythms have, on the whole, been maintained, with the school-week/weekend pattern remaining in place during both on-campus and online learning. The physical nature of the yearly cycle, with the changing of the seasons, has also continued to be experienced. However, cultural events that punctuated the passing of time in the social/emotional sphere largely fell away. With the cancellation of the autumn, midwinter and spring festivals, the annual Year 10 musical and school concert, year-level milestone celebrations and the Carol Service (to name a few), a diminishing sense of time began to emerge. As we failed to find trust in a cycle greater than a single week, we found ourselves finding it hard to connect with a sense of purpose and meaning and with a rhythm larger than our own. We were missing a yearly cycle that on the cultural level punctuated the mundane with celebratory events that unite us as a community through shared activity and experience.

The start of 2022 carried with it aspects that left us still wary, but gradually conditions are again arising that will allow us to plan again for a cultural celebration of the year. The academic program, with our sequencing of the main lessons, ordering of our lesson delivery and timing of assessment deadlines, could be said to present the yearly cycle our high school students experience in the realm of thinking. The seasons, with changes in light, temperature and rainfall (!), present the yearly cycle we encounter in the external, physical world. But it is the cultural, yearly cycle that speaks to our feelings, to our social/emotional selves and to our true humanness.

These months since March of 2020 have for many of us merged to create an undefined period that can’t quite be understood in terms of years. Term 4 last year, with its unusual on-campus start in Week 3, felt more like January than October, and returning this year, with a revival of heightened anxiety following increasing COVID cases, felt somewhat as if Christmas had never happened. But just in the last few weeks a lot has changed. The concept of ‘future’ can be tentatively entertained and there is much to anticipate. The Year 8 Outdoor Education program which occurred last week was a great success. The high school swimming carnival is set for tomorrow, and we are looking forward to again meeting with friends from other Steiner schools. Year 7 students’ trip to the Newnes Plateau will head out over the coming weeks and singing, music ensembles and extracurricular activities are back on! Most importantly, the first of the festivals is being planned. On Monday, 21 March an equinox will occur in the southern hemisphere. On this date, day and night will be very close to being of equal length and we can reflect on what that may mean metaphorically for our inner experiences of ‘lightness and darkness’. This too marks the moment after which nights will become longer, and when we enter autumn and can reflect on that season’s characteristics.

Grounded on the firm foundations of the reality of the annual, seasonal journey, we lift the yearly cycle to the cultural, social/emotional level as we bring these reflections alive for the high school students at the Harvest Festival set for Wednesday, 23 March. And we very much hope that this celebration will be the beginning of many more. Let the rest of the outdoor education programs stream right ahead, and let the twilight music concerts, the midwinter and spring festivals, the Year 10 musical and all the rest unfold. In doing so, let us again find assurance that we can rely on the cycle of the year to provide us with culturally experienced richness and a sense that time is passing meaningfully and purposefully, and that our place in that stream of time is assured.

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Election of New Directors to the Glenaeon Board

Election of New Directors to the Glenaeon Board

17 Feb 2022

Recently our School Board Chair, Peter Candotti, wrote to all members of our school community asking for suggestions of suitable candidates to be considered for election to the Glenaeon Board. The Glenaeon Board (or School Council) is the governing body of the School and currently comprises 10 members who act in the capacity of Company Directors.

The Board is currently seeking suggestions for potential future Director candidates with skills and experience in the following areas:

  • Finance/Accounting
  • Architecture/ Planning/ Construction
  • Information & Communications Technology
  • Strategic Marketing

Any parent who has an interest in putting themselves forward as a potential future director candidate for the Glenaeon Board, is invited to email the Nominations Committee via the following address: Board@Glenaeon.nsw.edu.au 

An information pack detailing the role and responsibilities of the Board can be accessed via this LINK.

Expressions of interest should include a brief resume including an outline of relevant skills and experience and a description of how these would contribute to the effectiveness of the Board. If interested, please make contact no later than Monday 21st March 2022.

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Welcome to wonderful 2023

Welcome to wonderful 2023

03 Feb 2022

‘Even the wisest can learn incalculably from children’ – Rudolf Steiner

 

 

 

A new school year begins
The school year is finally underway! It is a truth universally acknowledged that teachers and those involved in the business of running schools never sleep well in the nights before a new school year begins. Perhaps the same is true for parents too, and for our children.  The anticipation of a new year holds so much promise in its unwritten state: the narrative is yet to unfold, the characters only partly formed, the plot merely a series of predictable signposts that mark out a typical school year.  This is a good time to engage in conversation with your child about the year ahead. By listening deeply to their hopes, wishes and worries, parents and carers have an ideal opportunity to expose inner thoughts and feelings, and gain insight and wisdom about the most appropriate way to respond.  Class teachers, Mentors and Advisors are a wonderful source of support and connection at any time, but especially at the beginning of a new school year. Please feel very welcome to bring forward questions, wonderings and ideas.

It was indeed wonderful to welcome students back to Castlecrag and Middle Cove campus’ on Wednesday. What struck me? The confident and positive manner in which our students greeted their teachers, friends and new classmates.  Long may it continue! At Castlecrag, the beautiful Rainbow Bridge ceremony marked the start of the next chapter of learning and growing for those entering Class 1, and again, a sense of calm confidence was on display as our Kindergarten graduates gathered on the Class 1 balcony. 

 

Staff Seminar Days
Prior to the start of term, Glenaeon staff engaged in a series of professional learning sessions during our Seminar and Planning Days.  The 2023 Staff Days were designed for exploration of what it means to Build Meaningful Lives as custodians of the past and champions of the future. At the heart of this work lies a deep investigation into our school’s identity, our culture, our challenges, and the opportunities that await. We’ve only just begun and look forward to sharing this work with the wider community over the course of this year. Special thanks to our guest presenter, Nicole Ostini from Samford Valley Steiner School who provided a beautiful balance of assurance and provocation for us to carry forward, and to the fifteen Glenaeon teachers who led sessions. (Take a look at the photos in the gallery below.)

COVID-Safe Measures for Term 1
For some of our youngest learners, this new school year is unique, as it heralds the first for them without the global pandemic impacting usual operations to a significant degree.  It’s important for parents and carers to note however, that COVID-Safe measures are still in place at school this term and we ask that families are supportive of the School’s priority to keep our community safe.  Detailed information can be found below, in this newsletter.

  • The school will continue to implement good and encourage good hygiene practices including regular hand washing with soap and warm water and/or use of hand sanitiser;
  • Students, staff, and visitors should only attend school when they are well;
  • We will continue to send home students or staff displaying symptoms of being unwell, including cold and flu symptoms; and
  • From Term 1, teachers will no longer be posting work online for COVID-positive students. High School students are expected to liaise with and seek support from their subject teachers. 

New staff
This year we welcome a number of new staff who will be introduced over the course of the next few Newsletters.  Today, I’m thrilled to introduce the following teachers to the Glenaeon community.  You can read more details about each of them HERE.

  • Nicholas Greenfield, English and History Teacher, High School     
  • Frederic Hemming, Mathematics Teacher, High School    
  • Sally Mock, English and Society and Culture Teacher, High School
  • Leyla Rousouli, Science Teacher, High School
  • Jonathan Shaw, Class 1 Teacher, Primary School
  • Sarah Simmons, PDHPE Teacher, Primary School
  • Lydia Wilson, English Teacher, High School

On behalf of the entire Glenaeon community, a very warm welcome to you all.  We are thrilled to have you join the team.

New Parent Soiree
If you haven’t already, please RSVP to this special event next Friday. The Soiree provides an ideal opportunity to engage with other Glenaeon parents in a casual sand beautiful setting, and learn more about the opportunities available for parents within our community. See invite below.

 

With very best wishes,

Diana Drummond 
Head of School

 

 

 

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Congratulations Glenaeon HSC Class of 2021!

Congratulations Glenaeon HSC Class of 2021!

20 Jan 2022

2021 HSC Results Statement from Andrew Hill, Head of School

I am delighted to be able to congratulate the Class of 2021 whose HSC journey has been one of the most difficult in living memory.

Glenaeon’s Year 12 of 2021, like all HSC students in the state, have set the bar high in their response to unprecedented challenges. They have all met these circumstances with strength and goodwill, stood together and weathered the storm of COVID restrictions and exam uncertainties with an equanimity which belies their years. Their character has certainly been forged in the fire of adversity and they take with them a strong foundation of resilience to build their future lives. My advice to students has always been that success at the HSC is not so much about how smart you are, but how smart you work: they will learn skills in managing themselves that will last a lifetime. This year’s cohort has learned something even more: how to stay the distance even when the finishing line is stretched further than you ever thought.

Well done, Class of 2021, we are proud of you: your efforts, your strength, your resilience and your determination. We look forward to seeing you go forth and do great things!

 

Andrew Hill
Head of School

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An End of Year

An End of Year

03 Dec 2021

Congratulations everyone! We have made it through one of the most challenging of years, and though we are not without scars, we are at least able to look back on some achievements. There will be a final letter to all families with some wrap up details, and plans for next year. Thank you to everyone for your patience and equanimity, and good will in working together.

The missing thing for the end of 2021 is the absence of those events which mark the students’ celebration of Christmas, always so joyful and uplifting. In line with a year of minimal yet meaningful messages, here is a small offering from Michael Leunig which I trust captures a very essential element of this festival of birth and new beginnings. May Christmas 2021 be fulfilling and uplifting in its own unique way. I wish all families a joyful celebration of this end of year and look forward to meeting up again, in person, in 2022.

 

 

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Glenaeon HSC Showcase 2021

Glenaeon HSC Showcase 2021

03 Dec 2021

Welcome to our 2021 Glenaeon HSC Showcase

We are delighted to bring you this snapshot of the brilliant work, creativity, imagination and talent of our Glenaeon Class of 2021.

HSC student work originates from courses including Visual Arts, Music 1, Music 2, Design and Technology, English Extension 2, History Extension, Science Extension and Society & Culture.

It wouldn’t be 2021, without making use of a QR code, so these have been adopted to bring our music and some visual arts projects to life as you scan the pages of this ‘book’ with your mobile phone.

During a disruptive year of enormous challenge, we feel immense admiration for our students who have displayed much resilience and tenacity. We feel confident that all these years of a Steiner Education delivered at Glenaeon has served them well in this extraordinary example of finish-line accomplishment.

May this serve as a recognition and a reminder for years to come of these students’ effort and achievements. It will no doubt become a treasured memento for our parents and carers who have also shone during this final year of the high school journey.

To our students, congratulations and well done. To our parents and carers, thank you for your support and participation and care in this culmination of schooling and end of an era.

Andrew Hill
Head of School

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A Breath of Fresh Air: Taking the Inside Out

A Breath of Fresh Air: Taking the Inside Out

18 Nov 2021

There’s an old architectural design mantra that promotes Bringing the Outside In, which is about using large natural forms and building them into internal design principles. Over the past few weeks we’ve been doing exactly the opposite, and Taking the Inside Out. The need for good ventilation has driven many classes outside, and what a breath of fresh air it has brought, in all meanings of the term.

At Middle Cove we are using seven “official” new outside learning spaces to ensure all our high school lessons are as ventilated as possible. There are other less official spaces that teachers have found, in outdoor nooks and crannies that can accommodate smaller groups of students. Our bushland campus has really come into its own as all schools struggle to ensure students and teachers are as ventilated as possible.

Now there are challenges in outdoor learning. As any good teacher knows, a lesson needs to have a sense of integrity, a “skin” around it that holds the students and teacher/s in a unity with a common purpose in learning. In simple terms, everyone, both students and teacher, need to focus on the lesson and on their common task, otherwise the learning is less.

The four walls of the usual classroom space provide a physical boundary that gives one layer of the “skin” around a lesson. But as we all know, that’s not enough, and a lesson can so easily lose focus even within the most solid walls.

It’s the art of the teacher to create the intangible “skin” by drawing the students into the web of interest, enthusiasm and focused attention that every good lesson needs. Teachers create the “skin” themselves and learning this art, for an art it is, is the result of the sheer hard work that goes into training to be a teacher.

So taking lessons outside has a big challenge in one sense. How do you sustain student attention when you have kookaburras cackling, the wind on the trees, a distant chainsaw and the odd brush turkey wandering past, not to mention the visual distractions of a panorama of pleasant trees to look at? So the art of the teacher comes into its own in the outdoor classroom setting. Teachers need to be on their toes keeping attention and focus.

But the benefits are immense. At a time when clean air is a precious commodity, the sheer  quality of fresh air at Middle Cove is impressive. The thick natural forest next to the waters of Middle Harbour create a highly oxygenated air flow which must make the campus one of the healthiest educational settings you can imagine.

Outdoor learning is nothing new to Glenaeon, it’s been part of our DNA since inception. Embedding learning in a natural environment was the foundational design of the school. One of the founders of our school Eric Nicholls, the junior partner of Walter and Marion Burly Griffin, first articulated his plans for a school in a natural setting as early as 1952, when he described his vision of creating a village-like series of classroom buildings in a bushland setting. His foundational design has echoed on in all the design principles that have shaped Glenaeon’s grounds ever since. Every window in the school looks out on to trees and green spaces.

How ahead of his time was that? Research that started at the University of Colorado in the 1990’s found some interesting results regarding health and wellbeing connected with “green” school yards. In general, and screening out such factors as socio-economic advantage, they found a connection between green spaces on a school campus and the health and wellbeing of its student population. The research is population research, so it covers many schools and many students, but it does suggest we have about as healthy a schoolyard as you can get. The Japanese “Forest Bathing’ movement with its associated research is demonstrating the physical benefits of extended time in forest settings, which is what our students enjoy every day.

The research is so pertinent in this time when air quality for students is such a hot topic. A local researcher is now working on the health of Australian high school grounds: Gweneth Leigh at the University of Canberra is completing a PhD on the how the design of secondary schoolyards has an impact on the wellbeing of students. She is hoping to raise awareness of how profoundly important green school grounds are for student wellbeing and health. Glenaeon is part of her study and we have shared our vision and practice of learning that is integrated into the natural environment.

Hopefully one silver lining from this challenging time might be a realisation that we need to take the inside out more often in schools. Students need their learning integrated into natural spaces for health and wellbeing reasons. If as a society we can learn that, it really will be a breath of fresh air.

 

Andrew Hill
Head of School

 

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Returning to school and life after lockdown

Returning to school and life after lockdown

04 Nov 2021

Returning to school has been a joy. How wonderful it is to sit in my office or walk through the campus and hear the sounds of vigorous handball negotiations, games of tip, and (best of all) the sound of children's laughter! After our long winter in lockdown, with most of us having very restricted contact with friends and family, watching the children rediscovering each other is fascinating and beautiful.

Returning to school and life after lockdown has also been an enormous shift. There is no doubt that finding 'normal' again can be challenging as well as wonderful. At school, we initially saw some homesickness in a few younger children while our older students are learning again how to manage their energy within the rhythms of their regular timetables.

There are many excellent resources available to support families at times of change such as this. 

This term, Our Parent Education series focuses on the theme "Out of Home and into the World" https://glo.glenaeon.nsw.edu.au/homepage/1397 . And Student Wellbeing Coordinator Emily Fam has compiled strategies and ideas which parents and students can find on the GLO Health and Wellbeing page https://glo.glenaeon.nsw.edu.au/homepage/919.

Sometimes though, I look a little closer to home when I'm managing a significant shift. Juliette Najar was my paternal grandmother, and when I was a child, she represented a place of calm in a sometimes uncertain world.   She was born the third of five children in Tripoli, Lebanon, in about 1917 (she was always pretty hazy about her birth date).  I was her first grandchild and, of course, the favourite (just ask my brother and our six cousins)! We called her Sittee, which is Arabic for Grandma, and she was, in short, magnificent! Elegant, composed, and with much to teach about making a child feel safe and secure.  

Here's a little of what I learned from her:

Sit and listen
Sittee would sometimes sit right next to me, put her hand on my hand and say, "Yes, darling?".
I mostly didn't have much to say, but I knew I could if I did – and that made all the difference.
I know now that children and young people need our unguarded presence – someone who is still and undistracted for just long enough.

Take time
Time moved slowly at Sittee and Jiddy's (Grandpa's) house. In a Steiner school, it's what we call rhythm. Slow and steady, predictable, calming. If your children need it, let them take time coming back into the world – see what works and what doesn't – the old 'normal' might fit, and it might not. Take time to relish the extraordinary inside the ordinary. Sittee could make a bus ride to Bondi Junction seem like an adventure in a way that made us appreciate every little step of the journey.

Above all, be kind
In her 80s, Sittee had her handbag ripped from her arm in a random bag snatching. Being elderly, she fell and sustained injuries. We were shocked, upset and angry, but somehow, Sittee reacted with empathy and kindness. "What a terrible life that young man must have to take a handbag from an old lady", she said. In a time of uncertainty, change and division, we are called on to find a fraction of my grandmother's kindness and empathy.

Change can be wonderful, and it can feel uncertain. Sometimes, it can make me think that we could all do with a Lebanese grandmother! I hope Glenaeon families may enjoy a little of Sittee's wisdom as we readjust to the joy of life after lockdown!

 

Dani Finch
Deputy Head of School (K-6)

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Let’s step into the NEW!

Let’s step into the NEW!

21 Oct 2021

And we are back … and I have to say, what a blessing it is!

It’s not very often that we get to experience the freshness of a new school year in October, but arriving at the Middle Cove campus this week after exactly 116 days away, working from home, has been reminiscent of precisely that moment that is usually experience in mid-January, when teachers but not yet students arrive back from the summer holidays ready for new learning and what’s ahead.

At that pivotal point each year there is a quiet readiness and a careful holding of the space, with both teachers and the campus environment itself feeling rejuvenated, preparing to welcome the students back. Interestingly, that same experience is here again now, although I was certainly not anticipating that with a long period of remote learning at my back and a general assumption that I was heading into that aging part of the year where things start to gallop towards a close!

The beauty of the bushland that we all so often take for granted, the nestled classrooms in village-like configurations, the biodynamic garden overflowing with an abundance of nasturtiums, sweet peas, poppies and overall new growth, and the clean and tidy classrooms and hallways are here waiting, looking forward to next Monday when the high voices of the Class 3 to 6 children ring out over the walkway as the Year 7 to 11 students find their way down the hillside and spread out into the body of the school.

Back at home, as your child crawls towards their last day of online study, I anticipate that the picture I have painted hasn’t been alive in your mind or in theirs, as it wasn’t in mine! At least for some, the bedroom may have become a little if not a lot den-like, and the screen may be beaming both the science main lesson as well as the latest Netflix series. I like to think that that hasn’t been the case, and I am conscious that it hasn’t been for all, but I am only too aware that for many high school students the capacity to keep learning fresh without in situ classroom experience has well and truly waned, and that the lack of delineation between home and school, family life and work has reached its expiry date. And … I am happy to announce that that will be all swept away!

As much as staff meetings and collegial planning continued (and in fact intensified) during this lockdown period, and as much as I knew that the answer to a question was at the end of the email, phone call or the Zoom, it was only after I was back on campus that I realised the effect our remoteness and distance had had on the efficiency with which matters could be resolved and in a sense, my motivation. Suddenly, a discussion that would have needed careful scheduling could happen on the driveway and a document I needed to finalise could be edited in a flash.

While the experience of the return will be a little different for each student, I anticipate that much will also be universally felt and may somewhat align with my own. The teachers’ facial expressions, body gestures and the rise and fall of their voices will be that much more engaging, the task at hand will be easier to understand and the work of peers around them will spur effort on. Teachers will readily be able to see the degree to which a student is grasping a concept and whether the work is in fact getting done, right there and then. Importantly, the screen will be off!

But most vital of all, the environment will support the learning activity. The classroom space will be bigger than the bedroom or kitchen table and will be well equipped, the bushland and the Middle Cove setting will bring a feeling of lightness and health, the blue sky overhead will provide that summer expansiveness that engenders a breathing out after a period of contraction, and the community of other people, the students’ friends, will bring to life belonging and connection. And the students will return having grown, not just physically but emotionally and cognitively as well, and their teachers will draw on their newly developed capacities and take hold of the zest for life that will be evident.

Newness brings with it growth potential, and while I had expected to experience a return to the old when I came back on site, I instead encountered the beginnings of something new. I anticipate the students will experience the same.

So I have decided not to welcome the students back to campus next Monday, but instead to welcome them to October 25, 2021, and then to October 26, 27… and on and on to days that haven’t yet happened, to dates which are in the future. So although there is work to be done in ascertaining what was and wasn’t retained during our time away, there is also the realisation that there is no need to go over the old and that in fact we are not coming back. We are instead going forwards and on each day when the students come here to learn, they will be stepping into learning that will be new … and I can’t wait for that to begin.

See you, dear students, next Monday!

Elizabeth Nevieve
Deputy Head of School (Years 7-12)

 

 

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Spring + End of Term

Spring + End of Term

16 Sep 2021

This week we celebrate the arrival of the warmth, the light and the new life that we call Spring. Days are getting longer, the sunlight feels warmer, and all around us we see new leaves, flowers and everything green seems to be growing. What a sense of joy and expansion!

We can’t come together to celebrate in our festivals this year, but every one of us can enjoy the sense of new life nearby, just by looking at it. Let’s have private festivals of joy, where we quietly look on all the growing around us and say a simple Thank You to a world of Nature that is not in lockdown like us, but is in fact expanding and flourishing. This is a time for gratitude and awe, such simple feelings that the season evokes. Whatever our age, the new life of Nature in Spring can make us feel happy, young and fresh.

These feelings just bubble up in us during Spring as a normal enjoyment of the season. If you want some science in there as well, it’s worth noting that there are many studies now showing connections between cultivating these feelings of awe over time with very positive mental health benefits. Some studies even suggest a positive impact of physical health.

Julia Baird’s recent book Phosphorescence gives a beautiful commentary on our deep need for these moments as a kind of inner nourishment for our souls. This lockdown season has shown us more than ever how much we need the feelings of awe and wonder, the phosphorescence that Nature provides. In Spring it comes in abundance. May Leunig’s little hymn be a kind of meditation for us on the power of Nature to bring us a “wisdom that will heal the world”.

End of Term:

It’s been a long and winding road this term, but we are about there. Thank you for to everyone for staying the course. There’s been a lot of strength of character on display this term, and we can be very proud of our community. Our teachers have been magnificent, going above and beyond on every front, and I thank them for the quality and richness of learning they have offered to our students even over the distance of remote.

To all families I wish you a well-deserved break, a restful and fulfilling holiday period, and we look forward to resuming our teaching and learning on Wednesday October 6th. By then we will have more clarity from NSW Health on the roadmap back to regular in person schooling, and we will provide you with a detailed plan for the return to school commencing on Monday October 25th.

Until then, best wishes for the break!

 

Andrew Hill
Head of School

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If you want to feel good….look for the Good

If you want to feel good….look for the Good

02 Sep 2021

Shared at last week’s online assembly for high school students… 

Last assembly I talked about how even though we can feel we have no freedom in this difficult time that the pandemic has brought us, we still have the freedom to think thoughts which can lift us out of this trough.

I suggested saying these words every day: The world is majestic. These four, simple words can really start to change what we see in front of us. The world is majestic. Every morning there is a magnificent sunrise which is majestic, and it’s free and available to everyone. A blade of grass grows with such precision, formed on laws of growth that can be mathematically mapped.

I hope you’ve tried saying The world is majestic, a few times a day, and noticed how you start to see the world differently, and how you feel differently too. You start to see things that you may not have seen before. You can start to appreciate the simple beauty that is around us daily. This is an ancient practice, one that the Stoic philosophers of ancient Greece first described, though it’s been discovered in a slightly different form for the modern world, and Professor Carol Dwerk called it the Growth Mindset.

When looking at people though, a growth mindset can be a lot harder to apply. The majestic, the good is harder to find. With people you find everything is a bit mixed up. We’ve talked about how Australian history is a good example, where we find people doing many different kinds of things, some good, some bad and shocking, and some downright stupid. It’s all mixed up. The good things you have to look for. You have to go and search for them. It’s like precious metals in the ground: they’re not lying there for you to find, you have to search for them. You have to actively look for the good.

Now I was thinking about all this over the past week as we heard terrible stories from around the world about some awful things: the fall of Kabul in Afghanistan, the earthquake in Haiti and the gang violence that followed. But I was reading an article on the weekend about Afghanistan, and one sentence jumped out at me that I thought was worth sharing.

It was written by a young Afghan woman who came to Australia with her mother as a child, she went to school here and became a lawyer, something then she could never have done in her own country. This is what she wrote...

Not a single day goes by where small acts do not remind me to be grateful for the safety and security of Australia and how different life would have been if my mother had not fled with a single suitcase and four children, aged five and under, in 1989.

I was taken by two things: can you even imagine the sheer courage of a mother taking her four little children, with a single suitcase, and starting a new life in a strange country?

But I also noticed something about our country that we who have enjoyed its safety and security can sometimes take for granted. Every day she sees “small acts” that remind her of how grateful she is to be here. Small acts of kindness, care and helping others to be safe, that people like the rest of us probably don’t even see. She looks for the good because she knows what the bad can be. Australia is far from perfect, we have so much to change and improve, but for someone who sees differently, its pretty good. I thought it’s a lesson for all of us to look for the small acts of goodness.

The great thing about seeing small acts of good things is they make you feel good too. They are the best antidote to being down! The media call stories like these the “feel good” stories. Because that’s what they do, they make you feel good.

So as well as saying The world is majestic every day, think about looking for at least one small act of goodness every day as well, among your family, your friends, even strangers with their random acts of kindness. And you never know, you might just start to see human life as majestic too.

 

Andrew Hill
Head of School 

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The Elephant in the Zoom Room

The Elephant in the Zoom Room

19 Aug 2021

To support our parent community through the extended Sydney lockdown, Glenaeon recently launched a series of talks on the theme "Wellbeing During Difficult Times". Evan Sanders, our IT Integrator, hosted the first in the series last week. His talk 'Digital Wellbeing’ addressed the Elephant in the Zoom Room …. how do we, as a school that has long championed an 'unplugged' childhood reconcile the paradox of online delivery?

Dr Steiner and his contemporaries could scarcely have imagined the devices used in many modern classrooms. However, his indications were clear; children thrive when they experience connection with nature, play, home and self. Now reinforced by current research, Glenaeon's approach to (at school) education, particularly in the Primary Years, is natural, home-like, playful and unplugged! At Glenaeon, although we have embraced tools such as iPads, laptops and digital submission of tasks in secondary school, we remain resolute in our view that in the physical Primary classroom, the benefits of using these items during childhood can never offset the costs. 

So how did we come to the view that online learning is not only acceptable but in some ways necessary during remote learning? The answer comes down to one of the very reasons we decry technology in the classroom – connection.  

When children are in a classroom with their friends and their teacher, they are engaged and learning in a space of warm, meaningful, social interaction. They are learning skills, to be sure, but the environment in which those skills are taught holds one of the keys to true, healthy development. During a period where we must work and learn from home to safeguard our physical health, the classroom's rich environment disappears and with it the chance to experience a myriad of learning opportunities each day. Some of these lost learning opportunities are skills-based.  For example, direct and time-sensitive feedback, is much more quickly given during an in-person lesson. However, the other type of learning children miss at home is our connective tissue at Glenaeon - connection! It's the learning found in the 'in-between' moments; a smile, words of affirmation, praise or correction from your teacher; a game in the playground with friends that you haven't played before; a teacher or friend noticing that you look a little sad today and trying to cheer you up. These are the things that can be lost when we are not physically together.  

If we stay with the traditional model and don't use the technology available to us when learning from home, connection can become the opportunity cost of staying safe and well. Our Primary Faculty decided early in the pandemic that this was a cost too great to bear. And so we wondered, what if there were a way to stay connected, engaged and educated during long periods at home? What if we could maintain healthy routines and have a healthy relationship with technology? And so the zoom room was born. It's not perfect, it's not what we would wish for or what we long to return to, but it is what we have. And for us, right now, the balance hangs in favour of connection.  

Our Early Childhood and Primary staff are using GLO and Zoom in innovative and creative ways and for appropriate amounts of time for each age group. From Little Kindy to Class 6, children and their teachers are connecting and learning over the internet. Catherine Pilko, our Senior Teacher at Castlecrag Campus, told her Little Kindergarten class the story of "The Little Gnome Who Had to Stay Home" on a zoom session last week. Written by Susan Perrow in the early days of the pandemic, Catherine has now added her own special touch - a magical 'glowing window' where our friend the gnome, can find his friends even though he has to stay home. I commend the story to you as a soul-filling reminder of the warmth and connection that lives (with the elephant) in our zoom rooms.

 

Dani Finch
Deputy Head of School (K-6)

 

Read Little Gnome and the Magic Window by Catherine Pilko.

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Remote Learning with Feathers

Remote Learning with Feathers

05 Aug 2021

In a recently republished article written by Jonathan Zecher, a word from antiquity was brought to my awareness and I was struck by how aptly the author paralleled the ancient sentiment with our current experience. Acedia, an ancient Greek word for an emotion that is akin to listlessness, and which also hints at lethargy, apathy and indifference, speaks of an experience that can be described as a ‘turning away from the spirit’. But what is the nature of this spirit with which some of us may be struggling to connect?

When the first lockdown hit us in 2020 and when remote learning rolled out in March of that year, it happened fast. It was challenging, daunting and unfamiliar, but it was also a little intriguing, somewhat absorbing and certainly adrenaline producing… it was a new frontier. Teachers and high school students rapidly learnt new skills that definitely weren’t part of the syllabi, and they quickly became accustomed to new uses of technology and an as yet untried approach to lesson delivery and learning. Some things immediately worked well, other aspects needed refining, but we were all on a steep learning curve together. It was exhausting, but in the way running a race is exhausting, where high energy is expended over a short period of time and the respite following offers much needed release and rest that can be taken up. The novel coronavirus was indeed a novelty and like it or not, we all turned to the spirit of the times and embraced what had to happen. 

But this time around it is different. Many of us are accepting but the newness has certainly worn off, and the longer lockdown with an uncertain end date necessitates a sustained reorientation. In many ways, the fact that we all know what we’re doing has enabled a smooth transition that augurs greater success! Many students report finding their lessons engaging and the workload quite manageable. They enjoy seeing their friends and appreciate the structure of the day, with learning introduced by their teachers through teleconferencing before setting off on the tasks themselves. Teachers are impressed with the students’ participation and are confident that learning is still occurring, and they are very grateful for parent support!

However, there is the feeling that the community (along with the State!) is holding its breath. Teachers, students and parents alike are observing this period in the way that fathers and mothers of young children brace for a long car trip. Have we bought enough snacks? Did we work out the rest stops?! (I remember my own mother planning for an 800km road trip with my then four-year-old daughter and telling my step-father to ‘spare no expense!’). But in this context, what specifically are the tasty morsels that will sufficiently interject what would otherwise be a monotonous term and where exactly are the rest stops?

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Inner Tranquillity and How to Find It: Five Minutes a Day

Inner Tranquillity and How to Find It: Five Minutes a Day

22 Jul 2021

In times of trial such as we are all now enduring, it’s natural and appropriate to look for help outside ourselves: a therapist, a professional, the government, the UN. But as well as appropriate outside help, we all have a resource that is often untapped and unused. We all have resources within ourselves. We just need to recognise them and to practise them. The contemporary interest in mindfulness is a version of something that has been developed by many philosophic and spiritual traditions. In times such as we are all facing today, it is worth returning to these inner sources of strength and nourishment that can sustain us all.

The Stoics were philosophers in ancient Greece who learned to deal with life’s challenges by separating what we can control (how we act), from what we can’t control (what life brings us). They taught that ultimately we are only free in how we respond to the things that come to us, the things over which we have no control.

Marcus Aurelius was an Emperor of Rome who kept a daily diary of his Stoic musings on life and the daily practice that enabled him to deal with the troubles of an empire: endless war, disease, rebellion, famine to name a few. His daily inner retreat gave him a strength to deal with it all:

People seek retreats for themselves – in the country, by the sea, in the hills – and you yourself are particularly prone to this yearning. But all this is quite unphilosophic, when it is open to you, at any time you want, to retreat into yourself.

No retreat offers someone more quiet and relaxation than that into his/her own mind, especially if she/he can dip into thoughts there which put him at immediate and complete ease: and by ease I simply mean a well ordered life. So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

The doctrines you will visit there should be few and fundamental, sufficient at one meeting to wash away all your pain and send you back free of resentment at what you must rejoin….

Finally then, remember this retreat into your own little territory within yourself. Be your own master, and look at things as a human being, as a citizen, as a mortal creature.

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book 4, 3-4

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COVID-19 Update

COVID-19 Update

07 Jul 2021

During the COVID-19 crisis, Glenaeon has been keeping Parents and Carers regularly informed as things rapidly change and unfold.

LATEST: Letter to Parents and Carers - 7 July 2021

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The Sixth A

The Sixth A

03 Jun 2021

In our last Newsletter Dani Finch outlined how our program of 5A’s meets the six 21st century capabilities. But there’s a sixth A, though we don’t talk about it much.

Julia Baird’s recent best-seller has brought it into the open and it’s time to talk about it. Her title says everything: Phosphorescence:  On awe, wonder, and things that sustain you when the world goes dark. The book has sold 150,000 copies in Australia and was the publishing phenomenon of the pandemic year. In the year when so many things went dark, her beautifully written book spoke to so many people about how to seek and find the extraordinary in the ordinary, the inner light in the ordinary world around us. Julia’s book told her own story of survival through extraordinarily challenging difficulties of pain and loss, and how she built reserves that in the face of these challenges, brought her “immense beauty”. She touched death numbers of times and she learned a number of lessons to cope.

A key lesson? “Seek awe, and nature, daily”.

As I read her book, I thought again of a constant question in my mind: how can we prepare children to find that feeling of awe, the sustaining sense that life is spectacular and grand, and we all have a place in it.

If this is such a human need, why aren’t schools making it a part of daily life? How can schools make sure that awe, and nature, are part of every child’s daily education?

Her book is a reminder that we all need bread as much as stones to nourish our inner lives. Feelings of awe nourish our inwardness. How sad that the language of education is yet to embrace this profound and essential human need as a fundamental for schools, just as much as other subjects.

Glenaeon draws on the rich heritage of Steiner education to embed feeling of awe and wonder in our daily school journey. Here are some of the ways we do it:

Morning verse: we start each day with a mindful reflection on the great powers of life. In a little touch of daily awe, a simple non-denominational verse starts our work for each student and teacher/mentor/guardian with a reminder that we are part of a bigger whole, that our lives are woven into a grander design than our minds can sometime fathom.

Stories: the special moment in a primary class day is story time, usually just before morning Recess. When all is quiet, a candle is lit and the teacher tells, in person, a story from world tales or their own imagination. For a teacher there is no more special moment in the day than seeing this crowd of expectant faces, waiting to be moved and touched by the power of imagination. So many of the stories carry the curriculum and in primary school even Maths and Science lessons can be woven out of and developed from a well-crafted story. Right up into high school, our classes enjoy a moment of wonder as the story unfolds, and the mind is taken to far off places and remarkable deeds.

Poetry: Our commitment to spoken poetry through the school says so much, just as a poem compacts meaning into a few lines. How much awe is in these 29 simple words?

To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower.
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.

 

Festivals: a man of aboriginal descent recently told me how impressed he was at his children’s Steiner school because they celebrated seasonal festivals, such as MidWinter when the children carry a candle and build a communal spiral of lights on the year’s darkest day. He hadn’t found other institutions so connected with the rhythms of the year, something which to him as an indigenous person was so fundamental. Our western style seasons have of course been simplistic and blunt compared to the nuanced and embedded aboriginal consciousness, but at least we have a feeling of awe and connection with the turning of the year.

Nature: “the quiet healing properties of Nature” writes Julia. Our Middle Campus is a haven in the busy north shore, with a backyard that includes the exquisite Scotts Creek as it winds through mangroves to Middle Harbour. Our Outdoor Education program explicitly takes students to wild outdoor places where as well as stretching themselves against the forces of rivers and rocks, they can sit and absorb the quiet majesty of wilderness. The power of place is a sense in itself, and needs regular educating.

Cuttlefish: “For me, cuttlefish are symbols of awe” says Julia. Our Main Lesson curriculum charts a course through the rich stories of history, Science, Maths and literature, finding an implicit sense of wonder in our human connections with the world’s phenomena. How special it was to read Chapter 1 in Julia’s book which is titled Lessons from a Cuttlefish. We traditionally start our study of animals in Class 4 with the cuttlefish and examine their remarkable structure. Implicit in our scientific study is a sense of wonder at the extraordinary way the cuttlefish moves through the ocean.

The 5A’s of the Glenaeon journey educate the whole human being: Academic, Aesthetic, Artisan, Altruistic, Active Wilderness. But holding them all together is the sixth A, the special sense that life is grand and powerful, and we all have a place in it, the sustaining sense of Awe.

Andrew Hill
Head of School

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The Education You Need

The Education You Need

20 May 2021

Inspiration and ideas for newsletter pieces sometimes come at the strangest times. Recently, a left-leaning, Snoopy-loving friend posted this cartoon on her social media page. In it, the mild-mannered and renowned philosopher Charlie Brown turns to his classmate and tells her straight, “No one is going to give you the education you need to overthrow them”. Responses to my friend’s post ranged from the love heart emoji to “Terrifyingly true!”

I wrote “Inspiring!”  

We hear a great deal in the media and from politicians about preparing children for the future they will inherit. Much of the rhetoric centres around being ‘job ready’, and mastery of technology is paramount.   At Glenaeon, we agree that these are essential elements of a rounded education. Still, when we make them our focus, the capacity of an education system to inspire and inform the next generation of change-makers is savagely diminished.

So, how are we preparing our students to resolve some of the messes we both inherited and created?    How does Glenaeon give students the education they need to ‘overthrow’ and create a new, more equitable and sustainable future? It is interesting to answer this question through the lens of the 6c’s of Education in the 21st Century: Character Education, Citizenship, Communication, Critical Thinking, and Collaboration. Developed by Michael Fullan O.C, Global Leadership Director of New Pedagogies for Deep Learning (NPDL) and a worldwide authority on educational reform, the 6 ‘s are inherent in Glenaeon’ s 5A’s program:

Academic – The Main Lesson sequence places a child in time. While in Primary School, teachers immerse children in imaginative pictures that inspire Character and Citizenship; in High School, students are taught to Critically analyse information, sources and their place in the fabric of society.

Artisan & Aesthetic – From craft and beeswax models to 3D printing and performing in an orchestra, a Glenaeon education is inherently one of Creativity.

Altruistic -  Belonging to a community where we abide by a respectful social contract in our interactions and give of ourselves inside and outside the school requires Communication, Collaboration and Citizenship. Be that through caring for Scotts Creek, serving on the Student Eco Group or performing service as part of the Duke of Edinburgh program or in the Northern Territory working with the Aboriginal students at Macfarlane Primary School.  

Active Wilderness –To journey with a group in a remote location (or even on a bushwalk to Warner’s Park) requires Communication, Collaboration and Citizenship.  To do it well builds Character.

Preparing for an uncertain future requires much more than being ‘job ready or ‘tech savvy’. Schools must create environments, and teach in ways, that impart capacities to young people that encourage them to develop and enact new ideas and creative responses to problems. Charlie Brown might be stunned to learn that at a small school in Middle Cove called Glenaeon, we are absolutely preparing to be overthrown by the students we teach, and the future looks very bright indeed.

With thanks to Charles M. Schulz.

 

Dani Finch
Deputy Head of School (K-6) 

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The Development of Capacity

The Development of Capacity

06 May 2021

Term 2 provides a time for rich, concentrated learning when, supported by wintery days, we feel an increased sense of inwardness and a strengthening of our capacity for engagement with ideas, analytical questioning and reflection. At school we make use of the season’s supportive influences and use the winter terms in particular to deepen and extend the students’ academic capabilities. Embedding knowledge and honing skills are emphasised as Year 9 and 10 students prepare for their mid-year examinations, practising memorisation techniques and working to crystallise their understanding into coherent responses under timed conditions, and main lessons such as Mathematics in Nature in Year 7 and The Chemistry of Salts in Year 10 bring the elements of ‘wonder’, then ‘judgement’, then ‘understanding’ seamlessly into harmony as students observe, question and arrive at concepts through a natural learning progression. At the Year 11 and 12 level, a period of solid work is entered into where a significant amount of new content is brought and where the need to determinedly further their abilities through rigorous practise is understood.

In all of the endeavours mentioned, focus is on bringing ‘willing into thinking’ but the opposite is also required and nowhere is bringing ‘thinking into willing’ more essential at this time than in the HSC year. While students juggle the competing demands of diverse course requirements that entail the amassing and understanding a large body of information and the expert demonstration of their knowledge, significant developments must also be made on all projects. Throughout Term 2, practical components of Design and Technology, English Extension 2, History Extension, Music 1, 2 and Extension, Science Extension, Society and Culture and Visual Arts become fully realised and refined, ready for early Term 3 HSC Showcases and NESA submissions; we greatly look forward to seeing the fruits of their labours!

The go-between or oil that enables our application of ‘will’ to result in our capacity for ‘sustained, directed thought’ and the employment of our ‘thinking’ to produce ‘meaningfully guided action’ is, however, the strength and quality of our ‘feeling’ … and, in particular, feeling relationships with what we encounter that inspire and embody wonder, interest, intrigue, aesthetic sensitivity, determination or meaning.

At Glenaeon, teachers are acutely aware that one of their key tasks, therefore, is to present students with daily opportunities for the engagement of their emotions, sometimes subtly and sometimes profoundly. Depictions of beauty, narratives enhanced through dramatic detail, inspirational accounts of lives well led, the fineness of a mathematical formula accurately applied, the lightbulb awakening of a scientific discovery or the exquisite depiction of a personal revelation in a piece of eloquent prose or poetry are all examples of how our feeling life can be activated. When these encounters are brought to the students, their emotions are awakened in ways that allow immersion in learning that links human experience with content matter. Lessons become relevant and material that has the potential to remain detached becomes meaningful. An inspired interest in a topic provides impetus for sustained grappling with complex elements, namely ‘willing in thinking’, and a sense for beauty (or morality) enables actions to be moderated by thoughtful considerations, in other words, ‘thinking in willing’. And it is during these cooler months, when we are less likely to be drawn into the expansiveness of the natural environment, that we are perfectly placed to work on these three aspects of our being. The meaningful interplay between thinking, feeling and willing therefore becomes a focus so as to provide students with learning opportunities that foster inner growth and academic development.

Elizabeth Nevieve
Deputy Head of School (Years 7-12)

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Orange is the new green: Glenaeon's bush regen work on show

Orange is the new green: Glenaeon's bush regen work on show

06 May 2021

Last week we welcomed the Hon. Trevor Evans MP, Member for Brisbane & Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management and Mr Trent Zimmerman MP, Member for North Sydney & Chair of Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport to Glenaeon.

They were here to see the progress we have made so far in the Communities Environment Program - Scotts Creek Valley Regeneration Project for which Glenaeon received a federal government grant last year.

Our thanks to Year 7 & 8 students Catina, Michaela, Finley, Ava, Hayden, Felix, Ria, Archie, Henry, Mia B, Mia W and Sam for taking part.  Our students got into the bush regeneration work suits and showed our visitors the type of work they have been doing, pulling noxious weeds, clearing rubbish from upstream.

It was a wonderful opportunity to highlight our eco work, our bush regen education program and the visit gave these students the chance to tell our government representatives how much they care about the environment, the bird life, local wildlife and other environmental issues important to them. They also communicated the work of the Student Eco Council. Our students had a lot of fun and also learned how we can interact and communicate with elected officials. Special thanks to Lindsay Sherrott, Sandra Frain and to bush regen specialist Richard Blacklock.

#northsydney #middlecove #glenaeon #steinerschool #steinereducation #eco #environment #scottscreek #bushregeneration #cleanup

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Welcome back to Term 2

Welcome back to Term 2

22 Apr 2021

Welcome back to everyone and best wishes for a great start to our new Term!

The good news is that COVID restrictions have eased for schools and we are getting close to a return to what we all remember as “normal” school, pre-pandemic.  

  • Parent/carers can drop off on campus (no sign in required) however it’s assumed that this is for a short period of time. Castlecrag has particular requirements which will be communicated directly to parents of Kindergarten to Class 2.
  • If you are picking up your child early before the end of day, you must sign out at Reception. We need to maintain accurate records of attendance and we appreciate your assistance in this matter.
  • Visitors should maintain 1.5m physical distance from other adults (including staff) where practicable and other visitors when on the school site and at school pick-up and drop-off times where practicable
    • At all times where there are people gathering, personal hygiene, physical distancing, cleaning and record keeping requirements apply
    • Visitors must comply with sign-in arrangements
    • Visitors must be excluded if unwell, even with the mildest of COVID-19 symptoms

Glenaeon has an overarching COVID-19 Safety Plan in place for the school and the standard precautions remain:

Hygiene and Illness procedures – remain the same as always

  • Stay at home when unwell and get tested.
  • Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly.
  • Maintain respiratory hygiene.

Life will probably never return to the normal we knew, but with COVID plans in place, and accurate record keeping, we look forward to maintaining a semblance of the happy community life we all enjoy. These new guidelines enable us to confirm and continue planning our key community activities involving parents: the MidWinter Ball Event and the Family Fair in November. Our school festivals can now go ahead, as can in-person meetings. We will maintain some convenient aspects of remote learning such as some Zoom interviews in High School, but overall we can look forward to a resumption of face to face and in person meetings. Hallelujah! Our human community resumes!

Wellbeing Education:

This week Year 9 and 10 will be with a range of presenters undertaking a whole day workshop on respectful relationships. The program LoveBites comes with a very strong reputation in preparing adolescents to navigate the issues of managing relationships and consent. As many schools have found, our existing programs in Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE) are strong, but not strong enough. The LoveBites program provides a deeper dive for students, in a safe and secure setting, to really understand the significance of appropriate and inappropriate behaviours, and how to ensure our relationships are healthy and respectful.

In Term 1 there were sessions with DAYSS (Drug and Alcohol Youth Support Services), a well-respected program for both high school students and parents on managing alcohol and substance issues. We also continue to share with parents the workshops and education sessions offered by Headspace, a national youth mental health service. Our Wellbeing program has had a strong start in 2021 and there will be further initiatives and parent education through the year.

The Bird Panel:

During the break our Maintenance team caught up with many small jobs that can get overlooked during a busy term. One special job they undertook was to install the Bird panel: a beautiful rendering of our bush landscape featuring ten different species of birds that inhabit our Middle Cove campus. The project had its genesis when I visited the Newcastle Waldorf School in January and saw some panels they had painted that depicted bird species which had their habitats decimated during the 2019-20 bushfires. I asked Art Teacher Donna Miller and our local ornithologist and Science teacher Dr Stanley Tang whether we could do the same. They were both enthusiastic and we arranged a session of the Teachers Seminar PD days in January to be devoted to painting a panel depicting some of the 100 or so species of birds that inhabit or visit our campus.

The session proved very successful. About a dozen teachers spent hours painting the panels at the seminar, and then later during Term 1 completed a sophisticated rendering of our bushland and some of its bird species. The panels turned out to be enormous, and when put together, measured 4.8 by 2.1 metres. They now adorn a wall of the Alice Crowther Building next to the café.

Stanley Tang spoke at our first assembly for the term on Wednesday, describing the ten species on the panel, and something of their colours and habits. He gave the High school students a challenge to see how many of the ten species they could recognise, as many are tucked away in the painting of the bushland habitat. How gratifying it was to come up immediately after the assembly and see a gathering of five students intently searching the panel to see all the birds. It’s a great piece of work that both adds a beautiful aesthetic to our building, as well as celebrating our bush and birdlife. Congratulations to our creative teachers, and come and enjoy next time you are on campus!

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We do Hard Things

We do Hard Things

25 Mar 2021

If you're reading this piece in the Glenaeon newsletter, chances are that we first met when I interviewed you and your children as part of the school's enrolment process. I enjoy those interviews deeply, getting to know each student and family as I run through the prescribed questions covering academic strengths and challenges, hobbies and interests, musical experience, sport and health information. Each interview, I ask parents to tell me what has drawn them to Glenaeon and a Steiner education. Alongside a variety of responses about creativity, academics, co-education, and Outdoor Education, a large majority of you have responded something along the lines of; "We are seeking a warm, nurturing environment where our child will be known and cared for". And yes, spot-on, that's us! But, and it's a big but, we do hard things at Glenaeon. 

Being nurtured, cared for and deeply known does not equate to being comfortable, at ease or always happy! From Little Kindergarten to Year 12 and beyond, Glenaeon kids do hard things that sometimes make them sad, angry, unsure, or afraid: 

  • In Kindy, it might be saying goodbye to mum and dad even though you want one more hug. 
  • In Class 3, it could be practising your reading, writing and times tables every day even when you don't feel like it, or standing up for what's right in the playground.
  • In Class 6, it might be reciting a lengthy poem in front of an audience or controlling your temper when things don't go your way.
  • In Year 7, it's joining us from another school and learning to draw, paint, and play an instrument alongside classmates who have been doing those things for years.
  • In Year 8, it might be reciting a Shakespeare soliloquy or abseiling down a cliff face.
  • In Year 9, it's volunteering your time to help with something that might not be cool or pretty or fun.
  • In Year 10, it's getting up on stage with a microphone and singing and dancing like you're on Broadway.
  • In Year 12, it's sitting under a tarp in the bush out near Coonabarabran for 48 hours with only your thoughts (and your pre-developed singing, dancing, and artistic skills) to keep you company.

Being nurtured and deeply known is not about wrapping our kids in cotton wool or placing them in an environment where they are always content. Quite the opposite, it's about creating opportunities where they get to do hard things and fail at them in a school community where we make it safe and possible to get up and try again.  

Our students are musicians, artists, orators, performers, hikers, essayists, philosophers, and friends. These skills and attributes don't come easily to any human. Yes, our students are known and nurtured. And yes, they do hard things.  

Dani Finch
Deputy Head of School (K-6) & Registrar

"Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well."

Theodore Roosevelt

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Open Day 2021 event cancelled due to wet weather

Open Day 2021 event cancelled due to wet weather

19 Mar 2021

Our Open Day 2021 event has been CANCELLED due to wet and dangerous weather predicted for the weekend.

Instead, we are hosting an introductory webinar event with an extended Q&A session.

If you had already booked for our Open Day check your email/spam folder for details of the webinar.

Or if you hadn’t already booked, you can join us for the webinar tomorrow at 10am ☔️via our registration link: https://www.glenaeon.nsw.edu.au/openday

#openday#glenaeon

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Open Day 2021

Open Day 2021

02 Feb 2021

DUE TO WET AND DANGEROUS WEATHER, WE HAVE CANCELLED OUR OPEN DAY EVENT.

AN INTRODUCTORY WEBINAR EVENT WILL TAKE PLACE TOMORROW AT 10AM.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

 

A very warm welcome, and thank you for your interest in a Glenaeon education. We look forward to welcoming you to our Open Day 2021.

A meaningful life starts with an educated decision, so this is a great opportunity discover how a Glenaeon education equips students with the foundation they need to lead a life of character and contribution.

 

Where: Middle Cove Campus, 5a Glenroy Avenue, Middle Cove

When: SATURDAY 20 MARCH, 10am-12 noon

 

Inquiries: Please call Enrolments Officer, Clare Gordon on +61 2 9417 3193 or email enrolments@glenaeon.nsw.edu.au

 

This Open Day event has been adapted to ensure our community stays healthy with COVID-safe practices in place.

All guests must pre-register and sanitise hands on arrival at our beautiful bushland campus and maintain social distance between family groups.

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Year 5 Student Arlo Temple a National Winner in the National History Challenge 2020

Year 5 Student Arlo Temple a National Winner in the National History Challenge 2020

04 Dec 2020

 

11 year-old Glenaeon Rudolf Steiner School Student and Rozelle resident, Arlo Temple has been named as a National and NSW State winner in two categories in the National History Challenge 2020 awards.  Arlo won the top award in the Year 5/6 and the Museum Exhibit categories.

Deputy Head of School (K-6), Dani Finch said, “We are thrilled that Glenaeon student Arlo Temple has been announced as both a National and NSW State winner in the National History Challenge for 2020. Arlo has a natural interest and curious mind when it comes to history, and it was a joy to learn of his success in this year’s National History Challenge entry. We feel very proud of his great personal achievement.”

Glenaeon Head of School Andrew Hill commended Arlo, “Everyone at Glenaeon is delighted for Arlo and we congratulate him on this mighty accomplishment. His hard work has been aptly rewarded.”

Arlo received his awards at a ceremony to honour the NSW state and national winners of the National History Challenge at the Anzac Memorial, Hyde Park, Sydney, last night.

The National History Challenge is a research-based competition for students. It gives students a chance to be an historian, researching world history, examining Australia’s past, investigating their community or exploring their own roots. It emphasises and rewards quality research, the use of community resources and effective presentation.

 “My submission was in response to this year’s competition theme, ‘Contested Histories’ where I explored the devastation of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. I built a scaled diorama of the Hiroshima site and wrote an essay and created a website for my entry”, said 11-year old Arlo.

Arlo’s Mum, Kate Burt said he worked extremely hard on his entry, and said it was exciting to see him standing among other excellent student entries from across the state and country. 

We visited Hiroshima last year and it was a very moving experience. We are proud of how Arlo has expressed his research in his diorama and his interest in Japanese culture and history. We are also glad to have the kitchen table back after two months of his wonderful model making,” Burt said.

Arlo’s website:https://goby-echidna-arfn.squarespace.com/

 

#nationalhistorychallenge #history #contestedhistories #hiroshima #Japan #diorama #Essay #glenaeon #steinereducation

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COVID-19

COVID-19

18 Mar 2020

During the COVID-19 crisis, Glenaeon has been keeping Parents and Carers regularly informed as things rapidly change and unfold. We wish to thank our wonderful community for their support and understanding as we all navigate uncharted territory and wish everyone to stay healthy. For all Glenaeon COVID-19 updates please return to this webpage.

Best wishes,

Andrew Hill

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COVID-19

COVID-19

18 Mar 2020

For more information about Glenaeon COVID-19

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The Power of Play in Nature

The Power of Play in Nature

13 Mar 2020

For those in the community that could not make our Power of Play in Nature forum last week, I am pleased to share my opening remarks.

"I’m very aware that I’m the warm up band at this gig, so I will be brief and just restrict myself to two key points. The first is why Glenaeon is hosting this seminar.

Education is continually changing. Just think student wellbeing. When I went to school, mental health and wellbeing were non-existent issues as core school concerns. If students couldn’t manage, it was seen as collateral damage to the main battle for academic achievement, like civilian casualties in a war. Now there has been a 180 degree turn around. Mental health and wellbeing are front and centre. Every school has an obligation to manage, support and facilitate student mental health. That transformation has happened in a generation.

Consider positive education. Some twenty years ago, I and my school were criticised by a mainstream teacher from a university for being “too positive”. This was about the year Professor Martin Seligman’s first book The Optimistic Child came out. Now just think what Seligman’s Positive Education has become. Today there are many schools which have based their entire wellbeing program on Positive education, and there’s even one nearby that calls it Visible Positive Education. Twenty years ago we were criticised for using positive methods, today you are criticised if you do not use positive methods. That’s a total turnaround in twenty years.

How does change happen? It happens the same general way that positive change happens. First there are problems with the current model or the current understanding of what is generally understood should happen in schools. Cracks and internal contradictions start to happen; new expectations start to emerge. At the same time there is a growing body of research suggesting a new and better way.

Let’s look at our current model. Australia has spent more money on education in recent years than ever before. Australian children spend more time in formal school instruction than all other OECD countries: our school day is the longest in the OECD (something about which Australian parent may be very surprised!). Australian children begin formal literacy instruction at an increasingly earlier age: there is two years’ difference between us (age 5) and Finland (age 7).

Yet what are the figures showing us? Results in NAPLAN and PISA testing show at best a plateauing, at worst a decline in Australian student performance. The recent NSW government review of curriculum received submissions from almost all stakeholders that there is a perceptible decline in student engagement in learning and assessment, particularly in high school.

In other words, we are doing and spending more, and the results are getting less. That sounds to me like an internal contradiction! We need to do something differently.

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Castlecrag students enjoy outdoor play time

Castlecrag students enjoy outdoor play time

14 Feb 2020

Children at Castlecrag are enjoying their outside play and are full of activity as they jump, slide and swing! 

 

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Summer of Challenges

Summer of Challenges

31 Jan 2020

Welcome to 2020! A special welcome to all new students of Glenaeon, particularly in Kindergarten and Year 7, and to all continuing students and families. After a summer of challenges, we look forward to a better year.

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Class of 2019 Glenaeon Rudolf Steiner School in top 100 with a perfect score

Class of 2019 Glenaeon Rudolf Steiner School in top 100 with a perfect score

19 Dec 2019

Glenaeon Rudolf Steiner School warmly congratulates the Class of 2019 on their excellent performance in the Higher School Certificate (HSC).

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AEON Issue 12 Magazine out now

AEON Issue 12 Magazine out now

03 Dec 2019

Issue 12 AEON Magazine out now!

 

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Drawing at Glenaeon Made Him a Better GP

Drawing at Glenaeon Made Him a Better GP

27 Nov 2019

Today we farewelled our Year 12, the Class of 2019. Entering the Hall at 9.30 am as Glenaeon students, they left the Hall at 11 am as ex-Glenaeon students, or GlenX.

It was a particularly beautiful assembly with some exceptional musical performances from both the music students in the group, and a choral piece from the whole year group.

In reflecting on what the school has brought them, I mentioned some of the many ”small things” that make up a Glenaeon education, the many small things that together make a large, meaningful and organic whole. Small things can have a big impact and I shared a story of how one small thing that we do at Glenaeon helped a young doctor become a better GP.

Here is the story in full: Dr Andrew Keyworth built a thriving family medical practice in the Newcastle area. He attended Glenaeon from Kindergarten to Class 7, and when I asked him to reflect on the role the school had played in shaping the person he is today, he gave me the following interesting statement. The bold paragraphs highlight how drawing helped him become a better GP:

 

 

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Spring Festival - music, flowers and festive cheer

Spring Festival - music, flowers and festive cheer

27 Sep 2019

There were plenty of blossoms, crowns and and music for the Spring Festival day. Parents, staff and students enjoyed the warm and relaxing day and the oval was filled with family and friends. Thank you all for coming and for those who helped to create and coordinate the festival.

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Year 7 Surprise African Drumming Workshop

Year 7 Surprise African Drumming Workshop

06 Sep 2019

Year 7 were treated to a surprise workshop with African drummers this week as part of their 'The Wonder of the Word' Main Lesson. The musicians were brothers Thiass and Djogo from Senegal and their sounds rang out over the Middle Cove campus, including a welcome song in numerous languages (all that Year 7 could say "hello" in!) accompanied by over 30 drums! Year 7 Guardians Jamie Loftus and Elena Rowan joined in with Music teacher Sallyanne Barker. 

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Year 10 PE Extension class - the Sydney Bay Run Event

Year 10 PE Extension class - the Sydney Bay Run Event

09 Aug 2019

The Year 10 PE extension class had their Term 3 Assessment Task on the weekend completing the Bay Run in the Inner west in Leichhardt. 

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Year 8 : Students of Shakespearean theatre and costumes

Year 8 : Students of Shakespearean theatre and costumes

02 Aug 2019

Class 8 will perform a Shakespearean play later this term, and are not only busily rehearsing, but also sewing their own costumes in Handcraft classes!

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Class 5 learn the traditional Maypole dance

Class 5 learn the traditional Maypole dance

26 Jul 2019

Traditionally at Glenaeon, Class 5 dance the Maypole at the Spring Festival in a rhythmic and co-ordinated series of steps, whilst intricately weaving numerous ribbons into an impressive pattern.

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Class 6 light up their world

Class 6 light up their world

26 Jul 2019

As a part of their Main Lesson exploring the physics of sound, light and heat, Class 6 began the week by painting the colour wheel, exploring the qualities of colours with teacher Rodney Dean.

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Year 11 Biology Reef Excursion with Stanley Tang

Year 11 Biology Reef Excursion with Stanley Tang

14 Jun 2019

Science teacher Stanley Tang took his Year 11 Biology students to Long Reef

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