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.
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."