Playgroup Term 2 Registrations Now Open!

Playgroup Term 2 Registrations Now Open!

13 Mar 2024

Glenaeon’s family-style Playgroups are joyful and supportive of you and your child’s development. Our highly skilled Steiner Playgroup Educators create imaginative activities to ensure families enjoy an enriching, uplifting time together. We welcome all families with children from birth to five years of age.

Term 2 registrations are now open, if you or a friend/family member with little ones are interested in learning more click here.

A peek below at Sandra's Wednesday morning playgroup at our Castlecrag campus. A morning full of celebrations for the changing season - nature table, story time, bread baking, conversation, little hands washing up and outdoor play. 

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Summer Advent Festival at Preschool

Summer Advent Festival at Preschool

08 Dec 2023

Our Willoughby campus and neighbouring park was filled with festive spirit as Glenaeon Preschool celebrated their Summer Advent Festival. Thank you to the lovely educators who welcomed families to join the children in Advent story time and circles. The joy shared was palpable.

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Play is Enjoyed Individually and Together

Play is Enjoyed Individually and Together

30 Aug 2023

Play is enjoyed individually and together: children and adults in Glenaeon Playgroups!

Our rocking horses provide an opportunity for bringing ourselves into motion in a contained way. Keeping ones’ balance while rocking back and forth repeatedly with a song to mark the time is joyous at all seven of our playgroups.

While the children are (usually) riding alone on the rocking horse, there are other children watching, waiting their turn, or perhaps riding along- side on a companion horse. Adults sing a rocking song and laughter permeates the playgroup room.

What laughter we have when an adult joins the rocking horse riding too. Why should the children have all the fun? Adults too enjoy the soothing and exciting sensations in ‘standing motion’.

The children and adults have been excited to crawl in the tunnel at Castlecrag campus and up the steps on the new climbing structure at our Preschool Campus. New skills are developed, and friendships formed as we play and share life in a group setting.

Many adults exclaim that they get as much out of our playgroups as the children do. Our Playgroup educators emphasise the healthy balance of play and meaningful tasks for all ages. The adults too feel safe to learn and grow together. Our adult discussions are carefully facilitated to encourage this social support.

To join our Playgroup Families contact: Sandra Frain playgroups@glenaeon.nsw.edu.au

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The Rainbow Fairy is Back!

The Rainbow Fairy is Back!

16 May 2024

The Rainbow Fairy visits Castlecrag each May and dances around Reception! It's so exciting when the children come in to find her waiting for them. Children bring the class rolls to the office or bring messages and questions and have a play with the fairy while they visit! Even Michael and Sonny from Maintenance got a visit from the Rainbow Fairy!

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Finally Fun in the Sun

Finally Fun in the Sun

16 May 2024

We've had so much rain in the past two weeks and only moments in the sun! The children took great delight in the opportunity to enjoy the sunny weather when the rain finally stopped!

 

 

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Parent Craft Take Home Packs

Parent Craft Take Home Packs

04 Apr 2024

There are some wonderful Parent craft Packs to take home for the holidays! Please come and get one or two and contribute to our school and Family Fair! Thanks to our Craft Coordinator Charlotte and to our parents and children who have so carefully collated each one - all that you need to get going! They are in baskets at the Castlecrag Reception – hearts, leaf beds, stars, butterflies, token pouches and more! There are stitching instructions if you need them as well and plenty of help available for beginners. Don’t be shy – give it a try!

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Kindy Harvest Festival

Kindy Harvest Festival

27 Mar 2024

Kindy celebrated the Harvest Festival with their trip to Bilpin in the Blue Mountains. There had been much excited anticipation as the children asked how many more sleeps until apple picking day. And when the day finally arrived, it was perfect; blue skies and cool, a touch of autumn in the air. Farmer Cedric was there as always, greeting everyone and explaining some important aspects of apple picking. Picnic rugs were laid out around the spreading oak tree and parents, grandparents, siblings young and old enjoyed Kindy’s Harvest Circle before filling their baskets with apples that were indeed ‘crispy and crunchy’. It was a glorious day and one that will be remembered fondly by all who came.

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Parent Craft  Wet Felted Flowers

Parent Craft Wet Felted Flowers

14 Mar 2024

Parent Craft Coordinator Charlotte ran a beautiful wet felting workshop in making stunning lily flowers. Starting with soft coloured fleece, parents used hot soapy water to roll and rub the fibres until they felt - then cut and shape them into flowers during the felting process. Parents chose striking colour combinations and the flowers will be made into lovely items for the School Fair in November.

Anyone is welcome to come and join Parent Craft - no experience is necessary. Come and learn to sew, felt, knit and take home a small craft pack to work on at home. There is an enclosed space for young children and a warm, social atmosphere. Thank you Charlotte for sharing this wonderful skill.

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Playgroup Nutrition is a Foundation for Healthy Play

Playgroup Nutrition is a Foundation for Healthy Play

13 Mar 2024

Our Glenaeon Playgroups celebrate nourishing foods by providing whole grain porridge and sourdough bread or Miso soup and rice balls to accompany fruit and vegetables that families contribute to our generous morning tea. The adults often say that we are the only playgroup they know of that goes to such an effort and they really feel nourished themselves when they leave playgroup. Glenaeon Playgroup isn’t ‘just for the children’, they say.

At our Glenaeon Playgroups we believe that by nourishing the caretakers of the children, the children will have the modelling of adults eating healthy food in a group setting that includes a table-cloth and beautifully presented wholesome foods accompanied by herbal garden tea.

Many parents tell us that the Playgroup morning tea is their first meal of the day and that it is so generous they don’t have to have lunch! Many families tell us that their children are fussy eaters at home but that they eat multiple bowls of porridge and lots of fruit and vegetables at playgroup. They are impressed with how the children enjoy a dense home -made rye sourdough bread slathered with home- made miso or tahini butter.

Below is a letter one of our Playgroup educators received from a participant. The Magic Porridge Pot recipe is attached if you would like to indulge your family! Parents still contact us years after the children have passed through playgroup to say their children are still enjoying Glenaeon’s Playgroup porridge thanks to our sharing of the recipe!

Dear Natalie,

Would you mind sharing the recipe for porridge please? My daughter loves it and her breakfasts are normally very boring as she doesn’t eat anything different, but she loves your porridge.

Many thanks,
A grateful Playgroup mother

For the Porridge recipe, click show more.

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Parent Library

Parent Library

28 Feb 2024

The Parent Library at Castlcrag is now open!

Tuesday 2:45pm to 3:15pm and Wednesday 8:45am to 9:15am.

Our two volunteers Alex and Alice are there to help and books may be borrowed for 2 weeks. Come and choose from the large selection of parenting books that reflect the Steiner philosophy, as well as books on craft, gardening and nutrition. There is also a wide range of beautiful books for children up to 10 years, including well-loved classics and recently published. 

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Parent Craft Embroidery Workshop with Elizabeth Ellean

Parent Craft Embroidery Workshop with Elizabeth Ellean

28 Feb 2024

Handwork teacher Elizabeth Ellean came to run a wonderful embroidery workshop with parent at Parent Craft morning – organised by our inspiring Craft Coordinator Charlotte Fayle. Many parents came to learn the beautiful stitches that their children will also be learning throughout the Primary school Handwork Program. Parent Craft runs fortnightly in the Marion Mahony Griffin Hall kitchen at our Castlecrag Campus. All are welcome to attend, and no experience is necessary. There is an enclosed space and toys for younger children to play. Come and learn a new skill or use one that you already know! All materials are provided and Parent Craft makes items for the classrooms, teacher and our School Fair in November. Come to the office at Castlecrag reception and pick up one of the craft packs you can take home to work on!

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Lunar New Year Celebrations

Lunar New Year Celebrations

14 Feb 2024

The Year of the Dragon was welcomed on Castlecrag campus with a bang and crash of drums, a scary, but friendly big lion (or was it year 1 disguised as a lion?), a flash of red, and over 150 dumplings homemade by Class 2 children and their talented parents. Students decorated their classrooms with the red paper cut outs they made, and participated in an energetic story told about the villagers who fought off the fire breathing dragon to save their beautiful mandarin orchard.
Gōng xī fã cái, Xin Nìan kuài lè, or however you say it in your own language, we wish all our Glenaeon families a healthy and happy New Year! 

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Outdoor Play at Preschool

Outdoor Play at Preschool

14 Feb 2024

We welcome the warm weather at Preschool with exploring all that our outdoor environment has to offer. This includes playing in the garden playground at our Willoughby campus, and near by Bales Park and oval.
This week, the children enjoyed water play, making mud pies in the sand pit, shoveling soil for the garden, climbing trees with educator support and discovering creatures in the grass. The children enjoy free play in nature building independence, curiosity and motor skills, which is fundamental for child development. We are grateful for the warm February weather and space to explore and play.

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Handwork at Castlecrag

Handwork at Castlecrag

14 Feb 2024

Handwork is underway and Classes 1 & 2 are busy making things they will use at school! Class 1 are sewing their Counting Bags, which will hold their little counting jewels when they learn numbers and mathematics, whilst Class 2 have begun sewing their etoile – a personal needle holder with their own initials stitched on the front. We warmly welcome our new assistant Meg Quinlisk who is helping Elizabeth Ellean this year

Meg brings with her a wealth of experience – she teaches at Sydney Rudolf Steiner College, has run the Inner West Steiner Playgroup for many years, is a writer and author and a very talented crafter herself.

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Sandpit Sensation

Sandpit Sensation

14 Feb 2024

There has been so much wonderful play in the sandpit this week, with children creating an enormous moat, castle and cubby! Working industriously together, they cart water, build bridges and steps, laughing and celebrating their huge creation!

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Many Hands Make for Light Work at Preschool

Many Hands Make for Light Work at Preschool

14 Feb 2024

Each day at Preschool, the children put their little hands to work to joyfully add to the rhythms of the day. After a wholesome morning tea, each child carefully washes their plate. Their hands making bubbles in the water as they take turns to wash up with their educators.

Next, they find their bedding and make their way to their designated rest space. Again, those busy hands delicately fold linen over corners and make parachutes as sheets fall. It is the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, like building the will in children, that is woven into the daily rhythm at Preschool. Children learn developmentally appropriate ways of taking initiative, fine and gross motor skills, a sense of independence and community. It is these values that make a Glenaeon preschool education different and start the foundation for resilient and emotionally active children. 

Are you or a friend interested in your child joining our Glenaeon Preschool community? Join us to tour our Willoughby campus on Thursday, 14 March from 10am - 11am. Register here.

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Welcome to Castlcrag!

Welcome to Castlcrag!

01 Feb 2024

It has been a wonderful first week here at our Castlecrag Campus! The children arriving with laughter and chatter, exploring the playground and sandpits, meeting and making friends amongst the flowers and blooming gardens and grounds. Our Reception is a lovely place with a welcoming Summer nature table. It is lovely to welcome the parents and carers on campus and Playgroups for our young ones have begun – please come and join in this special group for children 0–5. The Grassroots Eco Store is open for all school, craft, gift and creative resources and it’s so nice to see all the bags hanging on the children's’ hooks! Welcome everyone.

Our Maintenance team have been very busy over the break! The Fort has undergone a wonderful restoration by Sonny, the new Kindy water pump is in and some lovely sandstone rockwork has been completed, amongst many other things that make out campus shine – thank you!

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Class 1 Walk the Rainbow Bridge

Class 1 Walk the Rainbow Bridge

18 Jan 2024

Beginning Class 1 is a lovely step for the children, made even more special with the ‘Rainbow Bridge’ event. On Wednesday our Class 1 children met in the Kindergarten playground where excitement and anticipation filled the air. They were supported by their kindergarten teachers Deputy Head of School Dani Finch. They shared their morning song together before walking through the playground up to the Class 1 area, their new haven at school. The Class 2 children formed a beautiful 'Rainbow Bridge' - a tunnel made with long silk and flowers. They sing a lovely song called “Make New Friends”. The Kindergarten teacher shared a farewell for now and gave each child a flower to take with them 'under the rainbow bridge' to the other side, where their new Class teacher, Emily Watts greeted them with a warm smile. 

The children then make their way onto the balcony of Class 1 and their first day in the Class Teacher Period begins! This is an important right of passage and a symbolic moment in Steiner education philosophy and ignites the beginning of the Class Teacher journey. Emily will form special bonds with each child and nurture and guide these children through their primary years with the supportive assistance of other specialist teachers. Parents then come together for a shared morning tea, with Senior Teacher Catherine Pilko and Dani Finch welcoming and sharing insights about the first days and weeks of Class 1.

 

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Glenaeon Garden Culture - Like a Bee Hive

Glenaeon Garden Culture - Like a Bee Hive

18 Jan 2024

How does the unconscious wisdom contained in the beehive, filled with love, relate to our human experiences? 

In his book “Bees”, Rudolf Steiner said “The individual bees renounce love in manifold ways, and thus develop love throughout the whole hive. One only begins to understand the life of the bees when one knows that the bee lives in an atmosphere completely pervaded by love.” *

When we, human beings, gather to work together for a higher cause than our own personal ambition, we are emulating this social model of a bee hive; thus the name ‘working bee’.

The Glenaeon Gardens appreciate this model of working together in devotion and love.

Our annual Harvest Gratitude day, as celebrated last Sunday at Middle Cove, has become a working bee of sorts as the Glenaeon community comes together to learn from each other. We felt the benefits of healthy living soils by plunging our hands in them; we harvested what had grown out of flourishing garden beds; we created a bountiful feast, and together, we planted new gardens for bees, animals and humans too.

Once upon a time the whole school was abuzz with the smell of pizza, handmade flyers with reminders to bring gold coins, and excited students doing pizza runs around the campus. High school students prepared the dough with teacher Anne Rouse while Class 6 made and delivered the pizzas - the campus coming together to make industry, like busy bees in a hive!

We are grateful to teachers Ruth Pervis and Kathy Thangathurai for their vision, and for hosting these joyous events, with the keen support of parent chef Nick Meredith-Jones.

Ten years of garden fundraising has now enabled the renovation of the school's chicken coop, for the benefit of students through our agricultural and wellbeing programs.

As expressed within our chicken care community:

“We can't wait to come and look after the chickens”

It lifts my heart to see our community (young & older) working together to create something beautiful and valuable!”

Thank you to those past students, teachers and parents for this invaluable legacy! In opening our hearts to devotion, love and sacrifice, we become bearers of love. Just like the bees.

See you in the Garden!
Sandra Frain…..and Parent Volunteers
Gardening Teacher
S.Frain@glenaeon.nsw.edu.au 

“Nine Lectures on Bees” Rudolf Steiner, GA 351
https://rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA351/English/SGP1975/19230203p01.html

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Glenaeon Garden Culture - Harvesting in Times of Scarcity

Glenaeon Garden Culture - Harvesting in Times of Scarcity

18 Jan 2024

Harvesting in times of scarcity

We are fast approaching our traditional Harvest Festival, and our gardens are not bursting with pumpkins as they have been in the past. Living in a city, we have the easy option of going to the shops and buying whatever we want for our celebrations. But we would like to encourage everyone to stop for a moment and look at the world differently: what do we have in our gardens right now?

We harvest seeds, we harvest stories

Aromatic and medicinal Fennel has taken over some of the garden beds at the Middle Cove garden, creating a canopy bursting with yellow umbrella-like flowers filled with seed and feathery peacock-like leaves. Last week, Class 6 students picked the flowers, harvested the seeds and roasted them during their gardening class. At the end of the lesson, we shared our food and stories, and everyone commented how much they loved the roasted fennel seeds. One student shared a story with the class:

There once was a King who wanted to know which of his children was the faithful one. He gave them roasted fennel seeds to plant, and later on he asked them how they were growing. All of the children commented how strong their plants have been growing, except for one girl who said: “Mine are not growing at all!” - And that’s how the King knew who the faithful child was.

When we think we have nothing, we need to look around, explore, question and learn. We have some Azolla in the pond, which we learned is high in nitrogen and can be used instead of manure when we have no access to cows.

A high school student harvested some chicken bones while digging in the garden, and asked to take them home. Could they be the seeds of an archaeology interest?

The students on all campuses are resourceful in their play and this translates to the same in their alchemical experiments with food substances. Can we as adults be as bold and harvest the Taro root and leaves that are growing in abundance at Glenaeon Preschool? We have made Bay leaf tea, roasted Fennel and Sunflower seeds, fried up Mustard greens, Endive, Amaranth leaves and flowers in frittatas. From the Glenaeon gardens we add lemon, flowers, leaves, seeds in our sourdough bread. We connect with our surroundings to create new things with them.

So why is harvest time so meaningful? In harvesting, we learn to embrace what we have, we become creative and able to make something from nothing. As human beings, we harvest the rewards of moments of gratitude and connection with the Earth. We can’t get this from a shop.

Goethian observation

For Term 1 2024, the Class 6 students have now each represented an impression of Fennel in their assessment task for Gardening lessons:

“I think it looks like lots of little flowers. I think if you hold it up to the light and see the shape it looks like a star constellation.”

“I like the smell. When I suck it, it tastes like licorice. When I eat it, it does not taste good. It feels furry and soft.”

“I like fennel because it feels nice to touch and I like the taste and texture of it. It feels very nice on your skin and it is very soothing. It tastes like licorice when you suck on it and chew them.”

See you in the Garden!

Sandra Frain…..and Parent Volunteers
Gardening Teacher
S.Frain@glenaeon.nsw.edu.au 

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Glenaeon Garden Culture - Worms: The Humble Servants of our Soil

Glenaeon Garden Culture - Worms: The Humble Servants of our Soil

18 Jan 2024

The words Humble and Human have their origins in the Latin word Humus (soil). Dig a little hole in any of our garden beds and you’ll surely find some wriggly and lively worms. Whether in compost heaps or worm farms, finding them gives the students an animal to interact with that’s not always part of their home life. We notice their delight and fascination with this squirming animal: how quickly it moves, the colours, the size. They bring a sense of wonder. There is something familiar in the texture: it is shiny, soft and wriggly like our tongues!

“These worms are wonderful creatures: they leave to the earth precisely as much ethericity as it needs for plant-growth.” 
Rudolf Steiner, GA 327: The Agriculture Course — Lecture VII

These subterranean animals leave life in the soil for the plants. They work in cooperation with the soil. The worm is regulating the soil by eating what is meant to be decomposed but not so much as to destroy the life value for the plants.

So how are we bringing this to life in Glenaeon’s gardens?

● We're making healthy soil: This humble servant is a necessity to break down all the discarded food waste that is high in nitrogen. The worms make this beneficial soil for us in cooperation with all the other insects, grubs, earwigs, springtails, nematodes, cockroaches and millions of microorganisms that we can't see, representing a life force that makes the soil lively and healthy for plants to grow and to feed insects once again.

● We're making a learning-scape: A student friendly atmosphere that enables this excitement to embrace and learn of life. What a joy it is when preschool and kindy students say “I want to see the worm farm! I want to see the compost! Let’s feed the worms.” 

The students learn to care and take responsibility: the worms need water, they need to be fed with scraps, leaves and grit when we keep them in a domesticated ‘farm situation’.

They get to see the worm eggs and learn that the liquid that comes out of the worm farm is a medicine we call a fertiliser that will enrich the soil that plants are growing in.

● We’re working with the senses: The tactile sensation and ‘wriggling’ of worms is confronting to some students. They grow comfortable with the notion of having a worm in their hands when they see other adults or students relaxed with the interaction. This is a simple but profound opportunity for students to develop resilience for challenging sensations.

 We're encouraging social responsibility: Families living in apartments can have a worm farm and create healthy soil. It can then be used in pots, or taken to a favourite tree at the park, or given to friends. The act of creating an environment for the production of soil is empowering. “What can I do to help the climate crisis caused by food waste?” - make more healthy soil!

Want to know how to set up your worm farm at home? “Show more” below!


See you in the Garden!

Sandra Frain…..and Parent Volunteers
Gardening Teacher
S.Frain@glenaeon.nsw.edu.au 

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Glenaeon Garden Culture - Volunteers: Nature's Gifts

Glenaeon Garden Culture - Volunteers: Nature's Gifts

18 Jan 2024

Volunteer plants are beneficial plants that sprout and thrive independently instead of being intentionally planted and nurtured. They are a gift to gardens! Similarly, we welcome volunteer humans who ‘sprout, grow and flourish’ in our gardens.

Clair’s story

Glenaeon Teacher and parent Clair Cisterne sprouted in the garden last term by caring for citrus trees: weeding, protecting, pruning and fertilising them, while learning and growing herself! This section of the garden will become a memorial garden for Clair’s botanist grandmother, Judith Eastman.

“Volunteering in the garden suits me more than anyone! I pick Sandra’s and the other gardeners’ brains as much as I can get away with, and they hold my hand as I put it to practice. I take home compost, worm castings and all sorts of cuttings, so my own garden becomes an extension of our shared one. What a deal! Then, there’s nothing better than just roaming around and marvelling at the beauty – hovering in the light, tranquil feeling of a glorious garden. I’m filled with enthusiasm and ideas for my own favourite space, and overjoyed at the huge, new world of knowledge that awaits me.

I bravely approached Sandra with my new desire to learn about gardening and wasn’t at all made to feel silly for not knowing the simplest of things. Now my neighbours on both sides have popped their head over our fence, wanting to know what I’m up to, and if they can do it too. My husband has even made them some garden beds. It really does feel like a little seed…and the magic of mother nature.”

Chrissie's story

Inspired by a social media post featuring a Glenaeon Garden Culture article, Glenaeon alumni and former parent, Chrissie Ivanchenko, started volunteering in the garden in 2024. Chrissie was heartily welcomed together with her ideas, stories and cheerful disposition. Garden beds have been weeded and mulched, and a project of creating a raised garden bed is underway.

“I love that I learn something every time I come. I love being part of something that is so nurturing for the people that work here. I think that gardening is a vital part of educating children. If they know how to care for the Earth, they will also protect it.”

We were delighted to learn that Chrissie’s father David Lawes helped start the Glenaeon newsletter in the 1980s!

Just like seedlings, human volunteers take root and thrive in our Glenaeon gardens. This is what Waldorf Education is about: a place to appreciate learning, to come together where everyone feels welcome, where dreams come true.

See you in the Garden!

Sandra Frain…..and Parent Volunteers
Gardening Teacher
S.Frain@glenaeon.nsw.edu.au 

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Kindergarten Advent Festival

Kindergarten Advent Festival

30 Nov 2023

Parents, siblings and grandparents eagerly gathered on the last Wednesday of term to witness the beauty and wonder of the Kindergarten Advent Festival. With gesture and song, the children lovingly shared their Advent Circle which tells the the story of the humble birth of the heavenly child who is born on earth and adored by all creation. 

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Spring Festival at Preschool

Spring Festival at Preschool

23 Nov 2023

At the end of last term we gathered as a whole preschool community - children, families and teachers - to celebrate Spring together. Our wonderful parents made flower garlands and felt butterflies for the children. The teachers shared a puppet story and songs and we had a picnic at the park together. It was a very Happy Spring celebration. 

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Washing Up Fun at Playgroup

Washing Up Fun at Playgroup

22 Nov 2023

Natalie Choo's lovely Monday playgroup at our Willoughby Campus enjoy the preschool playground and a bush kitchen. This is an activity for all ages where little ones imitate the fun and care of washing up together after a nourishing morning tea.

Glenaeon’s family-style Playgroups are joyful and supportive of you and your child’s development. Our highly skilled Steiner Playgroup Educators create imaginative activities to ensure families enjoy an enriching, uplifting time together. We welcome all families with children from birth to five years of age.

You are warmly invited to join our ‘Welcome Home’ Playgroup for Term 1, 2024

For details on registration, please click 'Show more'.

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Kindergarten Recreate the 'Dunk Tank'

Kindergarten Recreate the 'Dunk Tank'

22 Nov 2023

Last week in outside play, the  Kindergarten children had a wonderful time recreating their own very intricate version of the dunk tank they had seen at the Fair. Some elaborate rules that were created amongst the children, determined that each child was required to ‘walk a plank’ balanced on a log in the bottom pond of the Kindy Creek. As they toppled towards the water they each leapt onto dry land to avoid landing in the pond. Mind you, some landed in the pond with a splash, much to the glee of the other children watching.

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Kindergarten Games

Kindergarten Games

09 Nov 2023

Kindergarten children enjoy outside games for fun, fitness and to develop coordination. Beanbag games, skipping and the giant swing are great places to play! Kindergarten have learnt to finger knit on all 5 fingers, which makes a beautiful rope – perfect for your homemade skipping ropes!

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Celebrating Japanese Girls' Day at Playgroup

Celebrating Japanese Girls' Day at Playgroup

07 Nov 2023

One of the pleasures of our Glenaeon playgroups is the discussions we adults have while the children are playing near by to us. 

Last week, some of the conversations in each of our seven playgroups have been about how gender is celebrated in our different cultures and in different eras of our lives. How wonderful it is to learn from each other, to practice expressing ourselves in a safe space with others wishing to hear our words, to hear of our thoughts on particular subjects!

Hinamatsuri is an annual festival in Japan which takes place on March 3rd. It is also known as 'Girls' Day' and holds festivities and well wishes for girls aged 10 and under. This celebration was discussed in Playgroup and a lovely celebration table was created with dolls.

At this halfway point in Term 1 2024 there are limited spaces available, to register your family (ages birth to 5 years), please contact Sandra Frain at playgroups@glenaeon.nsw.edu.au

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Kindergarten Spring Festival

Kindergarten Spring Festival

11 Oct 2023

Kindergarten children and teachers Melanie, Sarah, Junko and Catherine and assistants Ming-Yu and Elizabeth shared their joyful celebration with parents in a festival on the last day of Term 3. Coming together in a circle in the lower playground, first Little Kindergarten and then Big Kindergarten sang their Spring songs. They had prepared lemonade and fruit sticks and parents brought beautiful food to share as they enjoyed a picnic before heading home for the holidays. The weather was perfect and we all basked in the beautiful sunshine.

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Rosh Hashanah in Little Kindy

Rosh Hashanah in Little Kindy

26 Sep 2023

Our Little Kindy children celebrated Jewish New Year. We have been learning a Jewish song and dance for a few weeks. On the day of the celebration, the children listened to “The Pardon” the story of a king and his friend who played a beautiful melody on a flute. The children sang and danced to the song of Rosh Hashanah before eating an apple dipped in honey to celebrate this occasion. We wished the new year to be a sweet one, just like the honey-dipped apple. A child exclaimed “This is the best day ever!” as he took a bite of the apple.
Shana Tovah everyone!
 
Junko Nicholas,
Kindergarten Teacher
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Glenaeon Garden Culture

Glenaeon Garden Culture

13 Sep 2023

Eco Literacy, Friends & Pests In Our Gardens: Part 2

Indigenous heart intelligence and biodynamic regenerative agriculture

From Indigenous culture we learn that when the wattles flower, the mullet fish run. In the Time of Murrai’yunggoray (September - October), as the weather warms and the Miwa Gawaian (Waratah) buds swell, the D’harawal people began their major ceremonies in celebration of the new life promised by this season.

In Glenaeon’s gardens we invite everyone to practise active observation before deciding on our actions of care. We sing to the garden “what story, what story do you tell? What story do you tell?” and then we articulate:

  • The bees are saying “thank you for planting the zinnia seeds and caring for them”; the zinnias are saying “thank you to the bees for helping to pollinate us so we can make seeds for new flowers”.
  • Our Mother Earth is saying “I am so thirsty without rain - will you please water me today? If my soil gets too dry the insects will be thirsty and eat the plants to find water.”
  • The bush turkeys parading and  scratching in the garden bed inform us that the lettuces need some protection.

Setting boundaries

While newly planted flowers and seeds are getting established in the soil we protect them with nets or fences built by the students. As plants grow bigger and stronger we uncover the plants so that humans and animals can harvest  what they need. This is a principle of both biodynamic and Indigenous agriculture: we must ensure that the birds and animals have enough to eat too.

In Glenaeon's gardens:

● We practise principles that Indigenous and wise farmers share around the world: never pick the first or the last of the crop for the future of life itself. (For example, when we harvest our lettuce or silverbeet we always leave 3 leaves so the plant keeps growing new leaves).

● We have fish in the water garden to help keep mosquitoes away. Some plants are particularly helpful in deterring certain insects, and are carefully planted around gathering and play areas: tansy, with a camphor-like scent that repels ants and flies, while citronella and lemongrass' smells deter mosquitoes.

● We scatter crushed eggshells around particular plants to discourage snails and slugs that might be nibbling too much of our food. When Preschool and Castlecrag students find snails and slugs they carefully move them to non (human) edible bushes (or even build homes for them with leaves and sticks), and when students find inch grubs they feed them to our grateful chickens.

● We use tree paste to cover pruned branches or damaged trees to protect them from ants and other insects while they heal. Biodynamic tree paste is made with 3 equal parts of clay, cow manure and sand, mixed with water to make a spreadable paste.

Indigenous peoples have totems and special animal images to help keep unwanted visitors away. We have scarecrows, representing a human presence in the garden. While the kookaburras may laugh at our scarecrows, we like to think of them as friends: ever so helpful at catching native rodents. 

Want to join our holiday chicken care team? Got a question, story or idea to share? The Glenaeon Garden Team would love to hear from you! s.frain@glenaeon.nsw.edu.au

Sandra Frain (and Parent Garden Volunteers)
Gardening Teacher

 

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Little Kindy Wet Felted Coasters for Father's Day

Little Kindy Wet Felted Coasters for Father's Day

13 Sep 2023

Our Little Kindy children made wet felted coasters for their Father’s Day gifts. We had many helpers in the room for every step. We prepared the fleece, rubbed it with warm soapy water and rolled and rolled it until it was felted well. The children then cut the felt into a coaster shape and felted some more before hanging it out to dry and ironing it. The perfect friend for a hot or cold beverage.

Junko Nicholas
Kindergarten & Japanese Teacher

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Father’s Day Food Lovers Unite

Father’s Day Food Lovers Unite

13 Sep 2023

Glenaeon’s playgroup to high school sourdough bread enthusiasts shook cream until it became butter, dripped yoghurt until it made cream cheese, and kneaded dough until it was ‘soft as an ear lobe’ on 2023’s sunny Father’s Day.

The kneaded creations were embellished with garden edibles and transformed in the Castlecrag Kitchen ovens for take-homes, along with rye flour sourdough ‘starter’ jars and recipe booklets.

Learning of the alchemy of fermentation to make sourdough bread was exciting for adults and youth alike, as children played outside the Marion Mahony Griffin Hall kitchen on the fresh grass and inviting sandpit.

A ‘morning tea’ of freshly made sourdough bread, cream cheese, butter (and Junko’s miso!) washed down with our Castlecrag garden herbal tea vanished in no time. Thank you to all the participants who came and created a social alchemy on Father’s Day. Love was in the air!

 

 

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Glenaeon Garden Culture

Glenaeon Garden Culture

13 Sep 2023

Breathing in and breathing out in times of joy and sorrow

With emphasis in 2023 on ‘Well Being’ in our lives, our Glenaeon gardens on all three campuses have been responsive for visitors of all ages to feel nurtured as they contemplate the mysteries of life within. The students find health actively and passively by digging soil, harvesting flowers, planting seeds, caring for plants and animals and in serving each other garden herb tea and fresh wholesome food in a sociable manner. 

Angst and sorrow was ours with the loss of the beloved teacher Jonas Stoebe in the last weeks of Term 3. We countered the confusion of grief by celebrating the joy his life gifted us, honouring the elements of earth, water, air and fire within the home base of our gardens.

We dug a pit for making a ton of new soil from compostables, 

We made contained fires and burned sticks for ‘doughies’; 

We stirred waters of biodynamic preparations for strengthening our atmosphere and soil and We sprayed each other with water hoses; 

We harvested flowers and vegetables; 

We sang, shared stories, laughed and cried; 

We wrote poetry and letters too. 

We swung on the hammock and the big swing, 

We planted seeds for glorious gardens of the future while remembering Jonas, an  inspiration to us all.

Our Middle Cove garden hosted many classes of students and groups of teachers day after day of this time. Science students tagged birds, English students wrote prose, art students sketched, Math students measured time, Earth stewardship students rejuvenated their camp experience. Every break time the stumps in the garden and surrounding rocks were covered with students convening. As we shared this communal season of grief, the garden responded by making a ‘welcome home’ for us. Together, we accepted, we grew, and we healed: wiser and stronger in our openness and resilience to the mysteries of life.

How grateful we are that Glenaeon Rudolf Steiner School honours the importance of cultivated gardens as a place to be, and as a place to be motivated to help. How fortunate we are to have a place to embrace the elements all and to be nourished by their powerful ways too. Like all living organisms, the gardens flourish with human activity and interest. Please contact S.Frain@glenaeon.nsw.edu.au if you would like to visit the gardens or volunteer with the Glenaeon gardens and animal care teams.

Celtic Blessing honouring the elements as sung by Year 8 ‘in the garden’.

Deep Peace             

Deep peace of the running waves to you
Deep peace of the flowing air to you
Deep peace of the shining stars to you
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you
https://youtu.be/oEmvQqg_EpQ?si=E7dFQRZLIyWiMiST

Sandra Frain (and Parent Garden Volunteers)
Gardening Teacher

 

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Glenaeon Garden Culture

Glenaeon Garden Culture

13 Sep 2023

Chickens, the cycle of life and volunteers

Our business as agriculturalists is to work with transformation and metamorphosis or energies and matter. Life and death. This week we had a profound example of accepting the conditions that come with taking responsibility to care for animals for the sake of learning and the sake of soul warmth.

Even though we have a devoted community of families and staff who care for the chickens, we could not escape nature's way. After almost a year of absence a fox made its way into our coop, and now six of our seven Glenaeon chickens have become a part of our nourishing garden soil.

Like every farming community, the Glenaeon community has responded with the sorrow that comes with the loss of animals that so many of us have become attached to. With our loss our hearts have opened.

The garden space is so quiet without the chickens clucking and scratching and the sounds of the students' joy as they visit the chickens before school, in the classes and in the breaks. The Garden team has invited Glenaeon students to tie a chicken feather to a card with some words or pictures they may make and place it in the chicken coop. Many families are also making tributes to the chickens in different ways.

Adults are connecting via group chat and in person, the Garden team is welcoming families to visit and meet in the garden. Already this is resulting in tangible ideas ensuring the pedagogical health of our Glenaeon community. For parents and carers who are looking for a way to join and be a part of this community, a rare opportunity in Middle Cove, please feel free to email Sandra: s.frain@glenaeon.nsw.edu.au Let’s garden and make social change together: all ages welcome.

Sandra Frain (and Parent Garden Volunteers)

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Glenaeon Garden Culture - From You I Receive, To You I Give

Glenaeon Garden Culture - From You I Receive, To You I Give

13 Sep 2023

“An atmosphere of gratitude should grow naturally in children through merely witnessing the gratitude that their elders feel as they receive what is freely given by their fellow human beings, and in how they express their gratitude. The cultivation of this universal gratitude toward the world is of paramount importance.” - Rudolf Steiner*

As a Glenaeon Garden culture, we practise this form of grace in many ways including active observation and appropriate response. We give thanks for the animals, the flowers, the produce, the minerals, the space where we meet and of course for each other!

On the last weekend of November, the Glenaeon Middle Cove Garden was a hive of activity thanks to industrious families meeting to deconstruct the chicken coop and then to celebrate our annual gifting of loving labour to the garden program.

On the rainy Saturday, 25th November we hosted a working bee to dismantle the chicken coop which completed the recent work begun by the students of garden Class 3 to 6. We enjoyed de-constructing by cutting sharp wires and then driving wheelbarrows (up through the bush) full of awkward loads of sharp metals and plastics to the awaiting truck. The clean concrete slab now gives us the start we need to re-construct a more secure home for the chickens.

On the next day, November 26th, (the 4th anniversary of an Angophera tree crashing on the previous garden shed), we gave an honouring “Thank You” to all the families that support Glenaeon’s gardening classes and the essential weekend/holiday chicken care. On this sparkling sunny Sunday, our work was socialising. “What’s your Glenaeon garden story?” created the alchemy of interest in each other.

We celebrated the presence of our elder Ruth Pervis, the former Glenaeon Class Teacher, who retired to start the Glenaeon gardens in 2010. How exciting it was to hear her stories of transforming a previously desolate part of the Middle Cove campus for dedicated garden classes.

The mood was festive as we dined on popcorn, breads, pestos, garden produce and cakes, and guzzled fresh garden herbal tea! Children joyously scampered around the garden beds under refreshing sprinklers; lounged in the hammock under the green-grape laden pergola and discovered many skittish fish in the oasis’ garden pond. This is our garden!

For anyone interested in participating, learning, helping and supporting the building of a new chicken coop, please email Sandra: s.frain@glenaeon.nsw.edu.au

* Rudolf Steiner “THE CHILD'S CHANGING CONSCIOUSNESS AND WALDORF EDUCATION”. GA 306. Lecture VI

Sandra Frain (and Parent Garden Volunteers),
Gardening Teacher

 

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Tanabata Festival - Wishes to the Sky

Tanabata Festival - Wishes to the Sky

30 Aug 2023

The children in Playgroups and Classes 1 & 2 have all participated in writing wishes and hanging them on Bamboo trees for the Japanese Tanabata Festival. On Mondays, our Japanese Immersion Playgroup has Naoko Murphy as their Playgroup leader, and Junko Nicholas and Naoko have taken Classes 1 & 2 for Japanese language lessons. It is tradition that these wishes must be burnt in order to send them to the heavens, and this was performed with Naoko in the playground around the fire. They sang and spoke the Japanese blessings as the ashes flew to the sky, taking their wishes with them. Thank you Naoko for leading this most exquisite ceremony.

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Working Together in Kindergarten

Working Together in Kindergarten

16 Aug 2023

Each Wednesday morning in the Kindergarten we come together for a working bee in the garden. We sweep, we rake, we scrub and we clean. We tidy the rocks, sticks and cubby building material. We harvest herbs to make herb tea and we cut fruit to share at our picnic morning tea. We care for each other, we care for our garden and we engage in purposeful healthy human activity together. It is always heart warming to see the children's enthusiasm and joy as they work together to complete their tasks. 

Catherine Pilko
Senior Teacher Castlecrag Campus and Kindergarten Teacher

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Preschool Gets a New Mudbrick Hut

Preschool Gets a New Mudbrick Hut

14 Aug 2023

The children have been fascinated with observing the real-world work deconstruction of our old mudbrick hut and the beautiful building and creative craftmanship of our new mud-brick hut. Our deep gratitude goes to Kenney and his partner from MUDTEC.

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Eco Literacy Starts With Babies!

Eco Literacy Starts With Babies!

14 Aug 2023

In our Glenaeon playgroups we practice ongoing eco-literacy. We observe the trees and plants and rocks, explore by stroking trees, patting, and tickling flowers and multi-shaped leaves too.

We carry the rocks, roll them and grind them to make potent rock dust for the Glenaeon garden soil health. 'Iron' and 'basalt' are the words we learn to identify the colours of red and blue-black stone. We sing to the plants and give thanks for their magnificence as we play beneath and around them.

Nature is welcomed into the playgroup rooms to form the basis of our stories and enhance our baking table too. (Elizabeth Cooper our Glenaeon Little Kindy Assistant picks up wind scattered flowers, leaves, branches and banksia cones on her long walk to school.)

One Nona gave thanks to the pumpkin in the story our playgroup leader Natalie Choo told, her twin grandsons are now asking to eat pumpkin which they had rejected before, ‘making friends with pumpkin’!

Our Playgroup families (and educators) are most grateful for the beautiful campuses that Glenaeon Playgroup is held on, Preschool and Castlecrag with their abundance of flowers, shrubs and trees that make a child friendly haven for nature exploration and learning.

For playgroup enquiries, please contact Sandra Frain at playgroups@glenaeon.nsw.edu.au

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