OPEN DAY: Shearwater students Katja, Olive, Finley and Milo check out one of the poinciana trees planted last week as Shearwater's new early childhood centre is readied for opening in Term 1 2017.
OPEN DAY: Shearwater students Katja, Olive, Finley and Milo check out one of the poinciana trees planted last week as Shearwater's new early childhood centre is readied for opening in Term 1 2017.

Shearwater Steiner School Open Day

TWENTY-THREE years since the first Shearwater students and teachers gathered in the garage of one of its founders, the school will host its annual open day from 10am-3pm this Saturday.

Mullumbimby Steiner continues to grow and evolve and is set to open its new early childhood centre in term 1 next year.

The school, which has been operating its preschool and kindergarten on rented premises on Main Arm Road since 2009, currently has around 700 children enrolled, from preschool to Year 12, with more than half its classes waitlisted, making it one of the largest Steiner schools in Australia.

The kindergarten and pre-school will be open from 9am-12noon.

Head of School Greg Parkes said there was an enormous sense of excitement around the return of the school's youngest students to the Left Bank Road campus.

"It has been a long-term vision of the school to have all of our staff and students on the one campus,” said Mr Parkes.

The new early childhood centre is stage nine of a building program that has included primary classrooms, administration buildings, a library, performance hall, high school classrooms and science, art and design labs. The 15-hectare parcel of land on which it sits was acquired by the school in 2006, to house its future vision.

Last year, the school launched its Trade Skills Centre and biodynamic farm, where High School students can undertake Vocational Education and Training Certificate courses. With its emphasis on sustainability, farming and connection to nature, improvements to the non-built environment have included the planting of many thousands of trees, creating wildlife corridors and repairing the denuded, weed-choked section of Mullumbimby Creek that borders the school campus to the south.

Steiner-educated architect, David Jacobson of Baxter and Jacobson Architects, designed all the school's buildings except the hall.

"David has worked with the initial vision and with a deep understanding of the educational and developmental needs of the children,” said Mr Parkes.

"A feeling of warmth and welcome is created by the circular and hexagonal forms, which enfold the children as they enter. The hexagon also represents the bee hive and working in harmony.”

Little Shearwater Preschool Coordinator Craig d'Arcy described the new Centre as, "a dream come true for all of us”.

"The buildings are an incredible mix of natural materials, beauty, function and flexibility,” he said.

"We can't wait to move into the space and make it glow with all of the wonderful things that a Steiner-based education can bring to young children.”

The Steiner school movement has become the fastest growing independent school initiative in the world, with two K-12 schools in the Byron Shire alone and more than 1000 schools in 60 countries worldwide.

"Our goal as teachers is to create opportunities for students to question, ponder, create, imagine and wonder so they can become creative, confident and resourceful life-long learners, who contribute to society in a rich and meaningful way,” said Mr Parkes.

Shearwater's Open Day will feature exhibitions of students' work and teachers from both the primary and high school will be available to discuss the Shearwater learning program.

Little Shearwater Preschool and Kindergarten on Main Arm Rd will be open from 9am-12.

Tours of the new Preschool and Kindergarten buildings will leave from the administration building on the Left Bank Rd campus at 11am and 1pm, for families of young children enrolling in 2017 and beyond.

Attendees will be able to enjoy student performances; explore Shearwater's expansive grounds; enjoy food and drinks from the ShearTaste canteen and browse books, craft supplies and toys from Indigo Inspirations.

For info call 66843223 or go to: www.shearwater.nsw.edu.au


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